“Help me, I’m sick!”


EVP can be an emotional experience sometimes. It’s not much different from welling up during a sappy movie – it’s hard to control your response. You couldn’t rescue the boy in the well; the love-of-your-life didn’t just selflessly die while nursing contagious patients in the Congo.  And that spirit voice didn’t break your heart – you didn’t condemn him to a life of “whatever.” But there it is – that incontrollable burst of emotion – the EVP voice said “Help me, I’m sick.”

Oh no he didn’t! “Help me, I’m sick.” Are you kidding me? And now, I’m supposed to retain objectivity? I have to figure out a way to get dispassionate once again, don’t I? I mean, what good am I as an EVP researcher if I get all involved? It could be a ploy to suck me in to an evil, nefarious plan. This could threaten my immortal soul for God’s sake! Doesn’t anyone understand the consequences? Am I all alone?

Well, it’s Memorial Day weekend, I know that mainly for two reasons, the least important of which is because my birthday is on Monday –   another year closer to inevitable doom. Let’s forget the hats and horns; forego the gifts and cards – we’ll go out for dinner and pretend there’s some other reason to celebrate.

The second reason I know it’s Memorial Day, is that my phone is blowing up with emails touting holiday sales events. And who wouldn’t want to spend their Memorial Day at Costco or Bedding Barn, right? Walmart has a sale on flips flops! One word – Q-Tips! We should rush to Home Depot and get that bag of topsoil we talked about two years ago. Or a new hammer. That garden hose with all the holes might be nice. If we’re still on our feet, we can trek on over to Target and stock up on inexpensive watches – one for every occasion, and a huge bag of fun-sized Snickers.

Maybe we can go to a barbecue at the neighbor’s house. Surely they’ve forgotten about last year. Perhaps my kids will call or we’ll visit my mother – haven’t seen her in weeks. A few years ago, I would have been going over to visit both parents. When Dad was still alive, we would have all those “manly” conversations I couldn’t have at home while surrounded by five daughters and other assorted varieties of femininity. I miss those conversations – sports, yard-work, woodworking… Neither of us knew a thing about woodworking, but it can make for a lively conversation. Honest!

But who am I kidding? It didn’t matter what we talked about – we could have discussed the trends in women’s shoes – that would have been fine. It was my dad, ya know? And he’s been gone too long. And I miss him.

Sometimes I still talk to him. I talk out loud when no one is around, and I’ll admit it, because it’s good for the soul. I recommend it. Call it a kind of pedestrian therapy for someone who can’t afford the real thing. Dimestore psychiatry, and even though my dad was a busy guy, these days, he listens to every word. Yeah, I miss him. But when I talk to him now, we talk about everything, and I’m not ashamed of those emotions either. I rant and rave and go off at the mouth like a crazy person; I bawl like a baby, and I talk about every little thing that bottles up inside and needs to get out.

He and I have discussed gut wrenching stuff – stuff that’s a little difficult to say out loud, but he listens. He’s been gone all these years, and still he listens. He never criticizes or chastises me for all those bad decisions. He doesn’t correct me when I misspeak, or suggest alternate ways of seeing the world, but somehow, (and I have no idea how he does this) he gets his message across. I owe him big time, ya know?

The last time I recorded for EVP on my birthday, I recorded a voice that only said two words – “I’m happy.” I suppose it could have been some sort of birthday greeting. I don’t know, maybe the obvious – a description of how that spirit felt. I have no more an idea of what it actually meant than I do about who said it. But it made me feel really good. You can understand that, right?

I haven’t thought about that for a few years, but now I’m wondering why it’s okay for me to pour my heart out to the spirit of my father, but I can’t return the favor. I have to be detached; I’m not supposed to ever get involved; must remain professional and take nothing to heart. But why? Why shouldn’t I give what I get? Don’t the spirits tolerate me? Aren’t they still speaking on my recorder even after observing all those rants and raves? Just because they’re supposedly dead, am I not supposed to care about them?

I don’t like that attitude. I can’t do anything to ease their pain, and I can’t add to their joy. All I can do is be there and listen – maybe a little tit for tat, no? And give them honesty, no matter what that is. I may not be able to “help” them when they’re “sick,” but I know what it’s like to be sick. I can understand, and sometimes – that’s a lot.

Happy Memorial Day, dad! How about them Ravens?

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2 responses to ““Help me, I’m sick!”

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