When we were young we convinced ourselves that monsters resided in our closets. That the Bogey Man laid in wait for us under our beds, waiting to feast on our small bodies as soon as the lights went out. We would fight the nighttime with all we had. Sure that with the coming darkness the haunting and danger would find us. We hurriedly clamored into bed and pulled our magical blankets around us. We snuggled our trusted stuffed animals to keep us safe and with all of our childish might wished the Bogey Man away. For what seemed like hours we would lay there- willing ourselves awake, the smallest sound to us sounded like claws grabbing at the floor under our beds. We were haunted by imaginary monsters and we weren't afraid of who knew. Over time we learned tricks that kept the monsters at bay - Night lights to cast away the darkness, our magical blankets that kept us safe from harm and leaving a trail of candy corn that lead to our siblings room as they were far tastier than we were. As we grew older the monsters slowly faded away and for a few short blissful years we were free.
However the ghosts will find us again in later years. Haunting our minds this time instead of the underside of our beds. The Ghosts of regrets and of time gone by. The Ghosts of words left unsaid and moments gone forever. We are haunted by loved ones lost, the "could have beens", "should have beens" and "if onlys".
We see ghosts all around us. Only now we call them memories.
The appearance of some ghosts makes us smile and feel warm inside. Driving by that favorite ice cream store that you went to as a child with your grandparents, will bring up the friendly ghosts. Ghosts you don't mind sitting with for awhile. A silvery whisper of the past that crosses your mind leaving a smile at the memory in its wake. But more often than not the older we get the more haunted our minds become. We trap the memories behind locked doors in the shadowy recesses of our minds. But randomly and usually without warning they break free and float to the forefront of our consciousness. Unbidden. Unwanted. Undeniable. Sometimes frightening and most always bringing the sadness monster in tow. Ghosts of memories of people we will never get back, of moments lost to the sweeping hands of time and the haunting twinge of regret that clogs our throats and sinks into the pit of our stomachs. These ghosts come unbidden and yet most times are unstoppable. It is almost as if the Bogey Man grew tired of laying around under the beds of children and took up residence in the history section of our minds.
A lesson that I have learned recently is this; these ghosts are as much a part of you as the feelings they bring forth. Sometimes our subconscious sees the need to set them free and it is fine to spend some time with them. Even if their presence brings forth sadness, regrets and the overwhelming feeling of loss- they are your ghosts. They are lessons; they are moments in your life that revisiting once in awhile will help you to eventually come to peace with them. Something I know isn't done over night but eventually can and will happen. Just as when we were younger and chased away the darkness with night lights, the same holds true for the ghosts that haunt us now. We must shine light on them once and awhile. Make peace with them. They are a part of us. If we continually allow them to haunt us and fill our worlds with sadness- we will never truly be happy. We faced the Bogey Man under our beds. We can do the same with the ghosts that haunt our minds.
The key is to not spend so much time among the ghosts of the past that you forget to live today. Some people when you see them wear the monster of sadness draped around their shoulders like a shawl. Their eyes always have that haunted cast and the air around them is heavy. If you wander through the graveyards of times gone by for to long it becomes almost impossible to leave. You are not at peace with the ghosts that haunt you. You just haven't released them long enough to know what life can be like on the other side. Visiting with them once and awhile is fine. It helps release their power over you and eventually find peace. Denying them does you no good either it just increases their power over you and your happiness.
We all have ghosts that haunt us. They serve to remind us that we have loved, we have lived and sometimes there isn't a happy ending. They reminds us of times gone by and the lessons we have learned. They are the reminders of what we need to focus on in our present and future. Never take a single thing for granted. Free yourself of regret. Focus on things in your now that you can change. They remind us to be better, do better and to love without fail. They show us that while we can never go back and change the past- we sure as hell can change our future. The ghosts haunt us to help us find peace. It is up to us to get there.