I have a secret. Do you want to know what it is? Yeah, I thought so. Okay, promise you wont tell anyone? Good. Here goes: I secretly love to read advice columns in newspapers and magazines, online or just about anywhere I can find them. They’re usually full of people who I always imagine as builders bored on their sites asking questions no-one could possibly need to know the answer to (Can I get pregnant with puppies if I have sex with my dog?) and given advice usually from a self-proclaimed doctor whose life experience amounts to as much as the average ten year old these days. My particular guilty pleasure is sorting the crap questions from those few serious ones and answering the crap ones myself. For example:
I am in my forties and have never lost anyone close to me. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law has terminal cancer. I am now preoccupied that people’s spirits are near us after they die.
Please don’t laugh, but it gives me the creeps. I don’t want to think my mother-in-law will watch me making love with my husband, that my father will watch me in the bathroom, or that my mother will be critical of me spending more time with the kids than cleaning the house as she did.
Am I crazy to think I might not have any privacy after my loved ones die?
Spooked from Spokane
See what I mean? Awful question, but it’s just possible that the woman has a genuine disorder so it has to be answered. Let’s see how Abby deals with this, shall we?
Calm down. The departed sometimes “visit” those with whom their souls were intertwined, but usually it’s to offer strength, solace and reassurance during difficult times. If your mother-in-law’s spirit visits you while you’re intimate with her son, it will only be to wish you and her son many more years of closeness and happiness in your marriage.
As to your parents, when they travel to the hereafter, I’m sure they’ll have more pleasant things with which to occupy their time than spying on you. So hold a good thought and quit worrying.
Isn’t Abby great? Not only did she tell this woman that her parents would be too busy riding rollercoasters in the afterlife to come visit her, but she put the idea of her mother-in-law cheering on her marriage as she has sex into her head. Nice going Abby. Now let’s see how I do.
We tell ourselves that spirits of loved ones watch over us, and that our spirit will live on after death as a way of coping with the fear of the ultimate unknown, but it seems that this concept has become an obsession for you. It’s not at all odd for you to go through something like this while coming to terms with an upcoming death of someone close to you. We all deal with death in different ways and the first is always the hardest. I can assure you that these things do get easier with time, but if this obsession persists I’d suggest you seek professional help to root out the cause of these fears. It’s most likely that you’re quite a private person who has had her privacy invaded at a young age during what you think of as an intimate moment. Perhaps a member of your family walked in on you as you were getting undressed and the shock has stayed with you all these years, manifesting now in these obsessive thoughts.
We can use a little common sense to help combat your fears. Does your mother-in-law regularly spy on you and her son making love? Does your father regularly watch you while you’re on the toilet? If not then you shouldn’t fear that their spirits will suddenly want to do that either. If they actually do these things in life then I think a few obsessive thoughts are the least of your worries. If you still can’t quite shake the fears you’re having then try talking to your loved ones and explaining your obsessive thoughts to them. Explain that you know they’re silly thoughts but you just can’t seem to shake them, and ask for a promise from them that they wont haunt you or judge you after death, just as a way to put your mind at ease so you can concentrate on acceptance. At the very least they’ll know you’re having a hard time too and try to see you through it.
How’s that? I didn’t point out to the woman that she’s obviously a very controlling person, that her own mother is just as controlling and that these obsessive thoughts have been brought on by the continued lack of control of her current situation (can’t help the mother-in-law, can’t stop her husband from losing his mother, suddenly confronted by the thought that death can happen to her own parents) nor did I mention that she’s most likely the victim of some form of sexual abuse in the past where an intimate situation occurred and control was taken away from her. I did suggest that she seeks further help if these things progress and I did give her a course of action to follow to try and gain her some support as well as set her mind at ease. But the most important thing I did that Abby failed to do was to assure this woman that it’s natural to get freaked out by death.