I see dead people. Ok, not exactly, but it’s kind of like that. Ever since I moved 3000 miles away from the place where I’d lived since I was seven, I see people I think I know. They aren’t the same people, of course, because the ones I know don’t live here, they live there, in that other place, back home. So how is it that there is someone here with exactly the same hairstyle and color, the same face shape and body style, and the same taste in fashion? Interestingly, it’s not just hairstyles and body types that characterize a person; sometimes it is mannerisms, the way someone carries themselves, the way sentences are intoned or the pitch of their voice that reminds me so much of someone from that previous life that I have to stop and look more closely to prove to myself that, alas, I don’t know this person, no matter how closely they may resemble that other one.
Why does this happen? Are we all just variations on a theme, basically all the same? Or do we come in matched sets, and there is one complete set in each city? Or do my eyes just play tricks on me, taking advantage of my lingering homesickness? Sometimes it helps to think there’s someone here like the person I once knew, and to think that I just need the time to get to know the new one like I knew the old one. But sometimes the resonance of the person I’ll probably never see again makes me sad and points out how much here just isn’t there.
Does this happen to other people or is it only me? I think I’ve heard of this happening to people when someone they know dies. I suppose in my case the death is my previous life. Thinking about it this way helps me to see that I need to allow myself the space to go through the grieving process over that life. Moving here was good—a fresh start on a new life—but it is unrealistic to pretend that there isn’t loss involved as well. There are people I will see again—my family will come to visit and we will visit them, and some friendships are strong enough that we will keep in touch—but there are a lot of other people whose acquaintances and casual friendships I’d collected over the years, people who weren’t important enough for me to have gotten their phone numbers or addresses. Those are the people I’ve lost and who I keep seeing here. Honestly, many of them are people I never really thought much about, just took for granted that they were there, so it’s interesting that they are the people whose echoes I see.
These are the ghosts that haunt my life and make me realize how much every person matters in the complicated pattern that makes up our lives.
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”- 1 Corinthians 15:20-22