100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #50.

My home is haunted but the ghosts are benevolent; you hear them walking around upstairs, they appear out of the corner of one’s eye or as shadows that dissipate immediately.

I’ve never heard any of the human spirits speak but the ghost of our beloved cat, Felix, (yes, originality is my strong suit) used to meow throughout our home on a regular basis.

How’s that for an opening?

(And yes, that is what she said, thanks for asking.)

#50: The Dead.

Diane the Concierge. Felix the cat. Tiffany the shih tzu. My grandmother. Both my in-laws. My mother. Rockin’ Ronnie. I think of the people I’ve lost often but it’s not always about tears and regret. I remember Diane’s old school English wit and charm; she was a lady in every meaning of the word.

Felix used to perch on our bedroom furniture and then tense up and scratch the hell out of it when you told her to move, and she loved to sleep bedside you and scratch the hell out of your feet when you rolled over.

Tiffany was a gluttonous hound who would plant herself at your feet whenever you had food, her little eyes speaking volumes.

My grandmother loved to cook for her family and was happiest when you sat in her living room, a TV tray across your easy chair, a hot meal of pork roast and delicious gravy (prepared in the German manner, of course) at the ready. We’d sit for hours and watch television (the Price is Right was her favorite) for hours. Sometimes we barely spoke but then again, we didn’t need to.

My in-laws were both amazing people who opened their home to me when my wife and I were saving for the in vitro fertilization procedure that would eventually give us a child. What more can I say about two people who would do something like that?

The most complicated relationships in our lives tend to center on our parental units and my relationship with my mother certainly qualifies. But she gave me life and all the love I could ask for growing up so that’s all I have to say about that.

And then there’s Rockin’ Ronnie. Every workday I wake up bright and early at 4:30 am, get cleaned up and head out into the cold, all-encompassing darkness that’s just beginning to loosen its hold on the city of Niagara Falls. I walk in the middle of the side streets so as to not fall victim to any nefarious types that may be lurking in-between parked cars in driveways or at the side of homes and then I stick to the sidewalks when i reach the main streets.

Go ahead and laugh but a few years ago there was actually a group of idiots who were driving around in a pick-up truck and beating on pedestrians. So there.

Now to my point: The only thing that makes my ten-minute morning walk to work less mind-numbing is the variety of music that pours out of my headphones and into my barely conscious consciousness. There are a few songs in my catalogue that never fail to make me tear up as the memories of my fallen friend flood in, but again, not all tears are a bad thing. I’m grateful to have had a colleague who quickly became a brother to me in the first place.

I can no longer speak directly to the people I’ve lost but they speak to me through the waves of nostalgia that roll through my mind daily. I’m willing to bet that the people you’ve lost do the same thing, even inf you don’t always recognize their actions. And if we could directly communicate with your loved ones I’m sure their messages would include the following:

  •  “I miss you.”
  •   “I miss pizza.”
  •   “I miss alcohol.”
  •   “I’d like to be back among the living; ghosts don’t get to change their clothes and my hospital gown is open in the back.”

And oh yeah…

“Being dead isn’t as much fun as you’d imagine… Don’t willingly leave the land of the living!”

Listen to the dearly departed and keep on keepin’ on. Honor your loved ones by getting help if you need it and live the best you life you can, the one you deserve.

See you in the lobby, friends…


Not all spirits are harbingers of doom.

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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21 Responses to 100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #50.

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Wait, no pizza? No alcohol? Wth?

  2. Little things will always remind us Robert, music, food, an object small or large. I still see my Mum at our lounge window in the cottage watching the doughnut machine chucking out the bales of hay. I see swans and ducklings and think of her, but when I had my heart scare last year, I am convinced I saw my Dad in the shadows, supporting me in the way he always had just by being there when I was most afraid.

  3. You might also be surprised by who is waiting for you over there. Best to hang on to whatchugot as long as you can. Good one, Hook

  4. Doug in Oakland says:

    We’ll all be that way soon enough, no need to hurry the inevitable.

  5. I fear I don’t let the dead rest. I am constantly beckoning them back with my tears and anguish. There were many times after my best friend took her own life that I felt her in the shadows of my house. I strained to hear a whisper. It never came. Grief has a way of keeping them alive in our mind.
    Powerful post, Hook. I really loved this one.

    • The Hook says:

      Thank you.
      I grieve for Ronnie every day in some way and I still tear up when I speak of him publicly.
      I hope you feel stronger soon, my friend; I hope we both do.

  6. 50. 49 over. 49 waiting to go – just ahead – with hope, promises, as well as uncertainty
    A perfect 50.

  7. Jennie says:

    I am so with you on this. I often think of the dead ones, and sometimes (not often) they come to visit. Really. Nothing weird, just a strong overwhelming feeling right in my torso, like a wave hit me. No creepy stuff, just knowing they are there. It’s always good. I ask my husband if he ever feels or knows that his Dad is there. Nope. So, your #50 is a good one, Hook. Thank you!

  8. Tara says:

    Powerful. Good post, Robert.
    I keep wishing I would see my kitty out of the corner of my eye, or hear him meow again. Alas, like the best of them, I don’t think he gives a sh*t. 🙂

  9. Julie says:

    Aw hook! I’m with you, I recently lost a sister, who joined my parents and a handful of very dear friends. Words cannot describe how very much I miss them. I do believe that when they pop into my head out of the blue, they’re trying to tell me something, I had occasion once to see several reminders of my parents. Our address, phone number, their anniversary…. so often that I finally just said out loud, I hear you but I don’t know what you’re trying to say. I love you so very much and I miss you tremendously.

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