Graves and Phantoms

Some things are hard to say out loud. 

Is there something you’re dealing with that you just can’t bear to hear yourself say out loud?   Do you think that maybe, just maybe, if you say it, then you’ll have to acknowledge to yourself that it’s true?  Is it something scary, something sad, something that you can’t change no matter how much you wish it were different?       

© Kathy Wynn


 I have one.       

My mom is dying.   There, I said it.  Now it’s out there, out of my head and into yours.  It was hard to say.  I suppose it wasn’t that hard for you to hear because you don’t know her, she isn’t your mom, but I’m sure it made you uncomfortable, even if just a little.       

I think I understand why it’s hard for me to say certain things out loud — things that are true, but that I wish weren’t.  I call these my Grave TruthsThey are things that…      

  1. I can’t change and are completely out of my control;
  2. Are serious matters;
  3. I don’t fully understand “why” and probably never will;
  4. Other people would be uncomfortable talking about; and
  5. No response could possibly help to make me feel any better.

We all face Grave Truths at different points in our lives.  As time passes, these truths may get easier to face and accept, but they can never be changed.  I can’t change the fact that my mom is dying.  That is a Grave Truth.      

I’ve heard many of my friends talk about things like they are Grave Truths, when in fact they are not.  I call these Phantom TruthsPhantoms do not meet #1 and #2 listed above.  Phantom Truths are things that can be changed and improved, like…       

  • a bad habit or out of control addiction;
  • an eating disorder;
  • a bad financial situation;
  • an unsatisfying job;

Or, situations that are not serious, like…getting gray hair (cue the horror movie scream – aahhhhhhh!).  Trust me, finding a gray hair and other signs of aging are not that serious.  We’ll be talking about coping with the number of candles on your next birthday cake in future posts.  My 30th birthday was very hard on me — too hard!   

Don’t let Phantom Truths fool you into thinking that you are powerless over them.  Often, simply recognizing that change is possible is half the battle!  

If there is something going on in your life that is hard to say out loud, look at the list above.  Do #1 and #2 apply?  If not, it’s a Phantom!  Muscle up the courage to start making a change.  You are the director, casting-agent, and lead role in your own life story.  Make it one you’ll be happy about.    

One last note.  Remember that no matter how many Grave and Phantom Truths are lurking around in your life, they cannot change who you are.  Even with serious stuff you will always be you, no matter what is happening around you or to your body.  If you think there is simply too much to bear, call on the strengths of your BACKBONE.  

How do you deal with the Grave Truths in your life?  Are there any Phantom Truths that you have the power to change? 

Check back on Friday for an uplifting launch into the weekend!  I’m heading to Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp and will report back about the experience.  And photos, lots and lots of photos….. 

One response to this post.

  1. Thanks for this post. I am just making my way through the rest of your blog and loving it so far. I love your distinction between grave and phantom truths and I think sorting those out would help a lot of us. Maybe it’s time for me to make a list…


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