The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…


First published April 30, 2019 


When I was a child, I accused a man of rape. In truth, he had not touched me at all. But my own belief that I had been violated was so strong; my description of the incident so vivid, so full of the kinds of details a young girl would not know, that people believed me and became outraged on my behalf.

I did not tell a deliberate lie.  It was not an immature display of power. I did not misidentify my attacker.  I understood, on some level, that he had not harmed me yet I could not let go of the compulsion, deep inside me, that he was guilty and needed to be punished for this crime. That was my greater truth.

He was dragged off to prison, all the while proclaiming his innocence, where he spent the rest of his days.

As I got older, as I thought about the incident, I wondered occasionally if I’d fabricated these accusations.  Sometimes, in going over the details in my head, I’d find holes in my own story which made me realize that things could not have possibly happened as I remembered them. And yet even in those moments of doubt, it never occurred to me to felt guilty for destroying the life of an innocent man.  It was my unwavering belief that prison was exactly where he belonged regardless of what had transpired between us.

Later, after I passed over, I understood.

In the lifetime before that one, with both of us in different bodies, he had beaten and raped me, and left me for dead. I was found a few breaths away from my last, and was nursed back to, if not health, at least a condition which was compatible with life. I was never again right in the body or right in the head.

Meanwhile, he forgot the incident entirely. He was guilty of a horrible crime — the ruination of another human being — yet he continued to live his life free, as an innocent man, never suffering the consequences of his actions.

When I encountered his spirit in the next lifetime, without ever understanding why, I was overcome with the need for revenge. This was part of our karmic agreement, that he live as a guilty man, though he was innocent, and I should be the instrument of that punishment.

Sometimes,  trauma takes several lifetimes to be resolved.


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