Four Life Lessons We Can Learn from Ghosts

I saw a ghost at my aunt’s house on Sunday. I didn’t just see it, either — I spoke to it, touched it and, I hope, gave it some peace.

This ghost’s name was Dan, he was my cousin, and he was dying. An aggressive cancer was eating away his stomach and closing his throat. He took medicine not to stay alive, but to be comfortable in death.

I know what you’re thinking: Ghosts are already dead, how can they die? And besides, my cousin was person, flesh and blood, not some Poltergeist.

That’s what I thought. But now I know differently.

You know it too. Think about any time you’ve seen someone not yet dead but nevertheless no longer alive. Sunday wasn’t my first time either, but for some reason it didn’t make any sense until now.

We see ghosts just before death, not after. True, they are more spirit than flesh, more shadow than sentience. But they are alive and as gentle as breathing.

A ghost is a person’s soul exhaling at life’s last moments. Ghosts are here to comfort us and, I believe, to remind us of some very simple things:

  • Nothing you do in the future will ever matter as much as your family does right now
  • Being loved is more important than being known
  • Tomorrow is always too late
  • Cancer doesn’t give a damn who you are, how much you make, what you drive or how good your seats were for the Lady Gaga concert. Cancer just wants to kill you.

I saw a ghost at my aunt’s house on Sunday. I spoke to it and touched it. I hope I gave it some peace — because at 6 AM this morning, the ghost was gone.

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