Melinda Coppola

twenty four may | from the inside out

Melinda Coppola

twenty four may | from the inside out

You smile down on me from a slightly precarious perch on the shelf above my messy desk. It’s my favorite photo of you—young and exuberantly happy, arms flung wide, dressed in colorful layers that reflect your signature style. I’d never seen this picture until your Memorial Service, but I loved it immediately.

My second favorite image of you exists only in my mind, yet it’s as clear as it was when you visited me— the day after you died. I was sitting on the couch in my living room. Superguy was next to me. The empty space in front us filled with palpable energy. The air seemed to shimmer as your face burst into view, larger than life and filling the upper two thirds of the room. Your long, wild, gray-blond hair floated around you as if you were underwater, some kind of angel-mermaid treading in a sea of air.

To say you looked and felt angelic is a gross understatement. You were positively radiant, with a joy that penetrated my skin and raised the hairs on my arms. Warmth flooded my chest, my eyes filled.

Superguy didn’t feel it, but I’m used to this—for as long as I can remember I’ve been seeing and feeling and hearing things others don’t.

Anyway, I digress. You were there in full spirit then, and you’ve come to me a few dozen times since.

In the beginning, you would come as a silent, joy-filled, deeply reassuring vision. After a few months this shifted—you became quite verbal, sometimes loud, and your language was, ummm…. earthier.  This was—is—so like the you I knew when we were both embodied. And so we talk.

The writing has come hard, I tell you. This after multiple friendly hauntings, your F-word laced admonishments from behind a veil that is too thin sometimes, even for my highly tolerant sixth sense.

You manage to convey it all in a human nanosecond:

Don’t f-ing fritter time away on worry, or planning, or mindless scroll. Honor the art, sister. Whether you perceive it as gift or imposition, those words and images are apparitions that must become real. If you ignore them, they will haunt you more than I ever will. They f-ing need to be born. Be a midwife, help them slide out into the earthly world. Then you can let them go and do what they will do. Then you’ll be free.

I know, I know. We all arrive with Things To Share. And, like it or not, we are tasked with getting those pieces of ourselves out of our heads, hearts and hands. No matter how loud our insecurities are, how tenacious our fears, we are here to share what we’ve been given.  That’s it. Get empty before we die. Though our allotment of years is a well-designed mystery, we ought to trust there will be time enough to complete our mission. Even though you left so soon.

Sometimes, dear one, we can be deeply aware of our given work. Maybe we have been for decades. Finding the impetus to push outward and onward while living within the drum of skin and sinew—making song after unfinished song while brittling bones hold the patient shape of the soul’s longing —that is the hardest work of all.

Don’t leave me, dear sisterly ghosting soul. I need you blowing chilly breezes into my complacency. But could you maybe be a little gentler? And Marina, do you really need to swear so much? I would’ve guessed that wouldn’t be necessary in the afterlife.

Miss your earthbound form.

Love always,




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