I’ve spoken before about the ghosts in these pages. About how the majority of the people, major roles and walk on parts a like, are no longer here. This is the vertigo of looking into the past and getting to know those there. It’s difficult to say but the Babu of those pages is a ghost as well. She is now 99 and sometimes talks to me about feeling useless and tired. She talks about not being able to do much, being “just a big baby,” about being a “burden.” She doesn’t talk about being scared. She doesn’t talk quite as if she isn’t either.
I haven’t talked about the ghosts in this house either. I guess, being that I’m skeptical, calling them voices would be more accurate.
Babu often hears her parents speak. She hears them just talking or talking to each other but never to her. She can rarely make out what they are saying, either. We didn’t know what to make of it at first and what to tell her. I understand it as a phenomena of the mind and a product of age. Adam may look at it as something more, something with more possibilities.
Whatever the case may be, he decided we should use it and we have. We cant our responses when she tells us to support the idea that maybe there is something after death. Maybe they will be waiting for her.
It has back fired a number of times.
For one, Babu has never heard her husband’s voice. He has been gone now for almost fifty years, yet she thinks about him every day. She cries about him every day. Never that I’ve seen, but I believe her because hse has told me that she does.
She thinks he’s got another girl.
I tell her he will be there waiting for her.
If there is one part about this that I believe, it’s that part.
Another thing that happened chilled my bones. She heard her father saying “I’m alone.” over and over. The odd thing is Babu overheard her mother, right there by his side telling him, “You’re not alone!” I imagine her tone to have been: “Pish paw! Now cut the dramatics.”
It rattled Babu, though. We had no explanation for that one. Telling her her mind was simply firing out hallucinations or she was dreaming and got confused, none of that was going to fly.
This has been the status quo for a while now, but as she gets even older, she is taking those voices more and more to mean her time is come. “They’re telling me it’s time.” I want to tell her that when it is her time she will know but that’s a lie. We wont know either. I don’t know if I sense in her words a desire to be done. If so, I don’t even know where to begin feeling about that.
Of course, it isn’t about me. This is a large part of the caretaker’s role. We all will question death and the meaning of it together just as we will ask many more questions of and about life.
(As I’m writing this now, a mourning dove is “hoo hoot hoot hooting” right outside the window. Even though it is true, that is the biggest case of pathetic fallacy I have ever read let alone wrote.)
I distract her, cheer her, support her and we all move on. The biggest gift in all of this is that we are truly holding onto every moment.