Drinking with Ghosts

February 5, 2011


  1. Shelley. What a thought provoking post. Since I read it I have not stopped thinking about how I would set a table for ghosts of the fallen soldiers in my past. A very interesting thing for anyone to think about!

    • Thanks Dad. I knew that you would appreciate the concept.

  2. Shelley, so true. Love that Koreans honour those who are no longer with us in such a unique way. Great tribute to your friends as well and so nice that you have captured their essence with items on their table – love that. Thanks for sharing missy! Your faithful reader and friend, Cherie xox

    • Thanks Cherie-I’m so glad you’re here reading.

  3. i love this. it is so full of your heart…i can almost feel your father in law in the snow, smiling outstretched arms to hug you…you a bit frightened. he tired, yet in love with you, a new joy in his life. the tribute to him, the beckoning that he come back to join you all…it is wonderful love.

    i also miss the catholicism of my life…the holy water, the insence, holy pictures, rosaies, the last rights crucifix in each bedroom, holy medals to call the saints down from heaven. a good friend had two dogs who fought terribly. she explained that she hung a holy medal of st. john on the collie’s collar, and a st. james on the collar of the golden lab. she said that the dogs never fought again because the saints who were brothers could never hurt each other. i love these aspects of my catholicism. i was an altar boy. i could recite the sucipiat faster than anyone else. i lived with the capuchins for years and actually became brother cyril. i meditated to transcend this world and find god’s true plans for me. i chanted with the other brothers. i was silent for more than 3 years in service to god.
    i attend no church now, but i miss believing in things i can’t see. i miss the possibility that saints or ghosts of ancestors can help me. at the top of every test paper, i drew a cross and wrote my IHS and my JMJ so that i could score well. i made the sign of the cross before each foul shot. i went to every funeral i could get into whether i knew the deceased or not because i believed i could see their departed spirit in all its beauty.

    rhapsody on a theme by paganini, chef boyardee beef ravioli (right out of the can) chilled white wine (even the cheap stuff) lillies, a white linen cloth worked by those notorious blind irish nuns, my poor dear father and all those i have hurt in this life…

    i love your stuff,

    • Thank you, John. I love reading your comments – and the images in your last sentences are gorgeous.

  4. Shelley,
    My name is Ryan Adams and I’m married to Michelle Canuelle Adams. Lisa was Michelle’s big sister and only sibling. I happened upon your post as I was looking around Google for information on Lisa. My wife is a recovering Chatholic (I’m recovering Baptist) and she would appreicate your sentiment about the church. I just loved your story about your father in law and the ceremony. We’re approaching the 10 year anniversary of Lisa’s passing and I like this way of honoring her. I remember the trip that you and Lisa took to Bali. I’m so glad that the two of you got to take it! I would also like to say thank you for being there for her when she got the news. I’m sure that gave her some comfort to not be totally alone with that devastating information.

    Warm Regards,


  5. Ryan,
    Thanks so much for your sweet comment. I can’t believe it has been 10 years since Lisa’s passing. It seems like yesterday. She is never far from my thoughts. Please pass on my regards to Michelle ( I heard many many stories about her. Lisa seemed to be so close to all of you.) and the rest of Lisa’s family. If you wouldn’t mind, could you please let me know the anniversary date? I would like to light a candle and have a moment on the day.

  6. Shelley,

    I will be happy to pass on your message to Lisa’s mom and dad (Linda and Bill) as well as Michelle. Lisa passed on the 28th of September three days short of her 31st birthday. We spread her ashes on the shores of the Pacific in a town called Ocean City. It’s a small seaside town just north of Ocean Shores, Wa.. Michelle and I are going down there the last week of the month and we’ll light a candle there.


  7. Dear Shelly,
    Michelle called me today to let me know about your correspondence with Ryan. I was so touched that you remember Lisa in such a wonderful way. I had to laugh about the mashed potatoes and flannel pj’s. That is so Lisa! Bill and I will be remembering Lisa on the 28th as well. We miss her very much. When I am visited by Lisa in a dream I feel so fortunate.
    The first anniversary of Lisa’s moving on, we lit a candle in the living room. We blew it out before we went to bed. I woke in the middle of the night to a bright glow coming from the living room. The candle was relit- I knew it was Lisa.

    Linda, Lisa’s mom.

  8. Linda, your beautiful comment lead me to post something I’ve wanted to write for years. My thoughts are with you.

  9. Last night’s art salon was all the ceremony I need, and even more than the ceremonies I miss, as another unrecovered Catholic.

    It was, with the food, the drink, and the music and art and recitations, a shrine to all the elements of life which keep it worth living.

    But for the dead?

    That bears some consideration. I appreciate the prompt of this entry.

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