Guest post by Trysh Thompson
My big brother passed away nearly thirteen years ago. (Twelve years, nine months, and twenty-five days ago, to be precise.) That means I’ve made it twelve years, ten months, and a couple days since I last heard his voice.
Since I last got to laugh with him. Since we last watched a movie together. (It was Four Brothers, if you were curious. We were sitting on the old couch I had given to him, in his studio apartment. He was wearing Spongebob Squarepants pajama pants and no shirt, his tattoos on full display. He had them everywhere—his arms, his chest, his back.)
What would have been his 44th birthday is five days from now.
Why am I telling you this?
To flay myself open, to lay it out on the line. To explain why my newest anthology collection, Haunted, is so important to me.
What got me through the grief of losing my sibling so unexpectedly? The idea that he might still be around, watching out for me. For my daughter, whom he never met. We still talk about him a lot, because my theory was (long before Coco came out, I might add) that if we kept him alive in our memories, he wasn’t really gone.
I didn’t want him to be gone. I refused to accept the finality of death, not when it came to my big brother.
As you can expect, with more than a decade since we lost him, I’ve come to better terms with it. I’ve stopped answering the phone expecting it to be him. I’ve stopped putting things in my cart thinking, “Oh, he would love this.”
That said, I’ve never given up hope that he’s still somehow involved in my life.
This collection shares the stories of ghosts who are still out there, still a part of people’s lives, for one reason or another.
Vengeance is at the heart of each one, but so is love. You can’t have one emotion without the other—love doesn’t exist without hate, and vengeance doesn’t exist without hope.
I loved my brother, but there were times I hated him, too. There were times I wanted to kill him my damn self, but other times when I knew he was looking out for my best interests.
Relationships thrive on that dichotomy. So, too, does Haunted.
I didn’t dedicate this one to my brother. I didn’t dedicate this one to anyone. Which was intentional. As everyone’s thoughts on hauntings and afterlife are so varied, as is witnessed by the wide berth of stories contained in this book, I wanted the readers to put their own spin on it and decide to whom it should be dedicated.
Will your dedication be grounded in love? Or vengeance? Will it be rooted by a memory? Or hope?
September is National Suicide Prevention Month here in the United States.
Reach out, someone is listening.
Do not give up hope.
“Horror mixed with romance makes a great match in this whimsical afterlife read.”