My dear friend, before her death, swiped a bunch of pens from the hotel she was staying at and gave them to all her friends who had gathered for a celebratory dinner. I kept the pen in my purse for quite a while and vowed to never throw it out. Recently, I needed to write a phone number down and found the pen didn’t work. Maybe the ink dried up or it was just time to let it go. That’s how my world works. I will hold on to everything long past its emotional expiration date, and sometimes the Universe has to intervene. My friend is not in the pen, so it’s just an object I’ve given extreme significance to. When my parents died my home became a living shrine to their life. Once the grief subsided I knew they weren’t in the objects they had once treasured. For me, the dead are not in the cemetery and not in the objects they once owned. Although their energy can linger on these objects they are not confined to them. The spirit of my mother might be delighted when I put on her jewelry, but she also doesn’t really care if I wear it or not. It would be so disappointing for me to believe that our loved ones can only connect through a specific object. So if I were to lose that object, would I lose the ability to connect with her again? Why would the dead once freed of their earth shell contain themselves in other shells? Why would being in spirit form be more confining than life? It kind of defeats the whole purpose of being freed from the body and freed from all constraints. I think the spirit of our loved ones live in our hearts and the objects we covet are merely memory banks for our comfort. I am a shrine builder by nature so it took me a long time to stop trying to make a container to hold the dead. Oddly enough, once I took down the shrines, real and imagined, I started to connect more profoundly to my loved ones on the other side. I just needed to let them and me move beyond the form. In releasing them from my designated objects of grief I also released myself from their absence in my life. Death is not a separation from our loved ones, it’s an illusion that had to be debunked. Today I feel blessed by the love and connection that surrounds me. I thank the living dead for walking this path with me. I no longer feel alone, instead I feel awed by the love and wisdom of the angels that surround me.