Prompt Day #225: You’ve been dead for ten years. If you somehow were able to return, what would you immediately do upon resurrection? Begin with personal exploration in the first person – be honest and earnest. Once you run out of juice, start fictionalizing. You can change names to protect the innocent afterwards.
So, before I even start writing, I can tell you this is not going to be a story, I have no idea how to make this interesting except maybe to my family but probably not even to them. This prompt is strange. I can only imagine doing a few things, then what? I guess go back to living? What follows is going to be pure stream of conscious. Feel free to skip this one.
Afterward: I wrote the above before I wrote the prompt. This is written after: It is really personal but I am putting it out there because I said I would do every prompt and here it is. I have cut myself open and bled on the page for you to see. I still say it isn’t interesting to anyone and it isn’t a story and it sure as hell isn’t the Facebook happy fairy tale life we all put up every day pretending things are always perfect. But it’s how I was feeling when I wrote it. Yep, I had a shitty day at work, yeah, if I had my life to live over there would be a lot of things done differently (at least that’s how I am feeling right now) so maybe that colors this into the quasi-depressed Virginia Woolf style writing. Basically, it’s like this: Read at your own risk, don’t judge me for the way I’m feeling, don’t make assumptions about me based on this. Anyone who truly knows me knows I am a very complex individual who has been through some pretty crappy things in my life. I have days where I ride the waves and there are days I’m swept under. Today, I’m treading water and that’s the best I can do.
Ten years of being dead, the first thing I’d do is find a shower. Wash off the dirt and any possible bugs that got to me. Probably brush my teeth a few times, can you even imagine the “morning breath”? Ugh! Once cleaned up and no longer smelling like death, literally, I would go find my kids. I’d want to hear all about their lives in the last decade. What have they done? Where have they gone? Do they have any children? (Ha! Wouldn’t that be nice? My oldest says she will never have kids and my son, well, I’m just hoping he finds a girl that can handle him.) What are they doing for a living? I’d take them out to eat and we’d catch up. I wouldn’t want to leave them but I would because next, I’d need to find my husband (ex-husband?). Has he replaced me? If so, what does she look like, are they happy together? If he hasn’t remarried, how in the hell is he even surviving without someone to do all the things I did for him? I mean depending on when I died, if he is still in any way responsible for my kids, how did he manage, because frankly, I can’t imagine it.
I suppose I’d find him alone. I doubt he’d remarry, unless he needed the extra income to fund all of his crazy schemes/ideas/hobbies/etc. He’d prefer to be unmarried, no one to answer to, no one to keep him from doing the things he wants to do. I would probably not be able to bear checking in on him for long. He may not appear happy but I bet he wouldn’t appear bothered either. Just the same old guy. That’s just his way. No matter what, I think it would hurt to see the truth that I have always suspected. Ah, time to move one…too many earnest and honest answers.
Then where would I go? That would depend on the state of my resurrection. Am I back in my body? In which case, I guess I would have to find a job in order to care for myself. No one cares if you’ve miraculously returned from the dead and have a second chance at life; nothing is free, not even for the resurrected. So, let’s say I find my children happy and healthy and doing well. Would I want to be back any longer? Maybe I’d say “ok, thanks to whatever divinity allowed me to come back and see my kids, but I don’t want to live this life again/anymore” and go back to the grave. But let’s say I am not bound by my earthly body, ok, this I can deal with. I would see the world: Ireland (where so many of my ancestors are from), Sweden (because I have wanted to for a long time), England, Italy, Australia, and maybe end up skipping around the South Pacific islands.
There, I would read all the books I never had a chance to read in life, sip all my favorite cocktails and eat however many calories I could—and don’t say I can’t eat and drink cause I am a ghost—this is my fantasy so fuck off. Once I tired of a life of leisure, I’d tour all the “world’s most haunted places” and find out for sure if they truly are haunted. If so, I want to hear all the stories behind the haunts. What made these souls choose to stay there? How do they see the world? As it is or as it was? Perhaps I couldn’t ask this as maybe I wouldn’t see the world as is either, I don’t know.
You know, it’s funny, because I bet we all think it would be awesome to come back to life, but now I don’t think so. Doing the exercise to this point has depressed me significantly, because you know what? Life goes on. It goes on because it has to. Haven’t we all? Haven’t we all moved on without our lost loved ones? If you came back after those you loved the most have moved on, would you fit back into their lives? Would it hurt to see them living without you? I think it would, it hurts thinking about it. Missing 10 years of my kids’ lives no matter what their ages, seeing my husband living just fine without me, trying to find my relevance again….come back to life just to trudge my ass back to work? None of that sounds appealing.
So let’s start over: What would I do first? I would sit down and write a long letter to each of my children, saying all the things I either didn’t say or didn’t say enough. Tell them that they made my life all that it was, that they gave me meaning, that I want and wish a long, healthy and happy life for them and I would beg them to follow their dreams before it’s too late. Tell them money is overrated. Happiness and love and time with those who love you is worth so much more. Live like Hippies, and never ever settle for anyone who can’t love you the way you need/deserve to be loved. I would close by saying that I will love them forever and ever even when I am nothing more than star dust, I will love them. Once the letters were safely delivered, I would climb back in my grave, satisfied.
*I said at the beginning this was a strange prompt, and I still say it is strange. It’s not for writing fiction—at least not for me. But it sure is an eye opening exercise. If you read it this far, you probably see that. And I challenge you to do a free writing session. Just start writing and see where you end up. I bet you’ll be surprised.