A few years ago, I began to write up some family stories. This began when my adopted children asked about their past, where they were from. Additionally, several friends suggested that I write up stories that I had told orally. I decided to start with the overlap between the history of my biological family and the part of the world where my children were from.
I came to realize how much I enjoyed retelling the stories of my family, including some about relatives I had never met. Some of the stories seem heroic to me. Others are more ordinary. These people are the ghosts of my title. A few of these stories are also the core of a novel I am writing, tentatively called Living with Ghosts, about relatives in Poland.
As I begin this blog, however, I realize there are far more ghosts that surround me, and may share their stories as well. These include the ghosts of my American relatives. I grew up in a family where both my parents and two uncles had worked on the Manhattan Project, certainly the fodder for interesting stories. I was fortunate to hear these stories from my mother, a masterful storyteller. She also told many other stories, both about her experiences and family.
As a young person, I was also fortunate to travel, and have continued to enjoy travel to out to the way locations, leading to more stories. I then chose professionally to become a neurosurgeon, and to specialize in treating malignant tumors and neurotrauma. Thus I have had to live with the ghosts of patients and have heard many more interesting stories, and seen much heartbreak. Clearly the details of these are confidential, but often their stories have taught me much about the human condition. I feel that this experience has helped with my writing.
Thus, this blog is to be a collection of stories of a life spent among ghosts, as well as with the living. It also looks at lessons we can learn from those who have gone before.