VISITING MY PAST LIFE: An Ex-Pat Perspective

By Alejandra Gordon



It’s always baffled me as to why anyone in mourning for a someone “departed” would want to think of them as watching, or being near them. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a ghost among the living? To “be present without being connected.” To be there, but yet not be?

After a decade of living in Mexico, that’s how I feel when I visit my home country. Like a specter, I’m just a spectator: not involved in the daily life of everyone else rushing about, but bearing witness to it. Connected by the history of some shared experience, but feeling as disconnected as someone trying to dial seven digits for a local phone number in Los Angeles, when now you need to dial all ten to connect. (Who knew?)

Should it be true that those who really are “departed” (in the mortal sense of the word) are present with us, I hope they at least have the same dispassion I feel to not one of those living in my former home town. I’m fine with it. If there are ghosts bearing witness, I hope they’re fine with it, too.

If anything, when I see folks of retirement age still in downtown gridlock, I piteously wonder, “What the heck are you still doing here?” I keep that thought to myself, however. Comments like that might be as welcome as…seeing a ghost.


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