a constant goodbye

//

it’s a constant goodbye,
saying goodbye to you

it’s in the saturday morning coffees,
and the chili you aren’t here to taste and adjust it’s flavors. you were always a better cook than me.

it’s in the quiet moments as i hear my own breath and i try to imagine you being where i turn my head and look

it’s in the late afternoons wishing the door would open and i would hear your voice saying, “hi honey, i’m home.”

it’s in the evening couch time as i surf to find a show and you aren’t here to debate with and finally decide and then mute the violent parts for me because you just know.

it’s in the late night teen chattiness and little man snuggles where you aren’t here to give your incredible insight or wrap your arms around your kids and hold them tight.

it’s in the silence, your voice was loud and deep and carried throughout the house.

it’s in the moments i cry doing dishes and washing clothes, because you have no more dishes, no more clothes, because you aren’t here with us doing the mundane parts of life that need cleaning up.

it’s in the doctor’s offices where your input is needed, where i desperately need to know what to say or to just know i’m not alone in facing this for myself, or alone in facing this with him.

it’s a constant goodbye in the rising sun, the setting sun, and all the moments in between. the unsaid moments, the unsayable moments, the dark moments and the light ones.

it’s a constant goodbye because goodbye was never said, not really, although we tried at the very end, but the body and heart knew we were just going through the motions and the truth is goodbyes were really unable to happen. you were gone before we even knew you were leaving.

it’s a constant goodbye,
a constant love.

{zt}

tentative hope

//

barefoot boys and puppy snarls

dusk and costumes

imagination and possibility

teenage giggles and rare smiles

bright eyes and playful songs

i see their hope, their joy

they lay juxtaposed up against the angst

the knawing that constantly reminds me of who is missing.

i live for them, and slowly i’m beginning to live again for me, in tiny slow stretching moments when i am able to breathe just a little around the ever present knot in my throat.

but often the pain feels too great to ever coincide with real happiness again

there are things experienced which cannot be forgotten, things seen that cannot be unseen, things felt which cannot be unfelt, known with no unknowing, loved with no unloving, touched with no untouching.

tendrils of hope fall down around me

tentative, expectant, wanting, calling out to me, but oftentimes they turn to sharp shards of ice cold razors cutting me instead. bleeding is my job now, and the bleeding never stops, and i know i won’t ultimately actually for real survive this reckoning of love torn away in mystery by one shot that ended it all. there is no coming back from this, not really.

but they are still here. still here. still alive. still growing up. how can this be, this parallel knowing of hope and delights twisted around the monster that now eats me alive every moment of every day. is this the life i will live until i can’t live anymore? can i still somehow give them something beautiful and solid to take into adulthood, even with the endless canyon of loss and absence swallowing us all whole every day of our lives?

how does a human survive the unthinkable? how does a human then survive the remaining time on the other side of the unthinkable? because we didn’t die with him, he didn’t take us with him, and yet maybe he did.

i used to think i was pretty good at life, and i had an amazing partner always there to tell my secrets to, to whisper the inside jokes to, to love in ways that go beyond the telling. but he is gone. and i cannot get over the trauma of it, the gut punch that still is punching, like running into a wire and being knocked backwards losing my breath, i am forever caught in the space just before fully catching my breath again. i can’t get my breath back.

{zt}

nothing

//

nothing looks right,

feels right.

directions skewed.

spaces altered.

colors confused.

thoughts duplicated and running together.

words missing.

hope on the run.

love twisted in knots.

knowledge of not knowing.

of never really knowing.

caustic tugging.

ghostly echoes.

blipped sightings.

tears caught in a swollen throat.

lost so far away,

no destination plotted or conceived.

nothing feels.

no way out upside down.

an inverted heart.

it is gone.

there is no resolution.

okay doesn’t exist here.

{zt}

burning house

//

this home is up in flames
the one we built together for thirteen years
smoke is everywhere with flames up to the ceiling
the heat is too much and I can’t save everyone
I can’t save you from these flames
in this burning house we are together again
can I come back in my nightmares?
our children are here too
and they’ve got to go
they can’t burn down too
but you, you won’t leave
you won’t come out of the fire
will I ever hold you again?
the flames I didn’t know were coming for us have engulfed it all
our lives all went up in smoke
there’s no way to get back to you
to keep trying will kill me
I didn’t know that I was so close to such a fire for years as the heat level rose unbeknownst to me
caught completely unaware by the burning down of all our dreams
you lit this fire it seems, gathered the supplies, doused everything with gas when you drove off dark-thirty that cursed sunday morning
lit the match and threw it on us all, even yourself, when you kept on driving across the country and never looked back
you let the fire blaze on and on
will I ever really know why?
will the feeling of wanting desperately to run into your arms and convince you life is indeed worth living ever go away?
we could have fought the flames together had you given us the chance
you took choice away from me, away from your children
you took all the power and you left us on your own terms, with the flames threatening to take us out alongside you.
part of me never left that burning house
part of me burned up, never to live again
but I got the kids and we left through the smoke and confusion
we made it out, you didn’t
I will never touch you again
never feel your body laying alongside mine again
never kiss your lips or run my fingers through your hair
never hear your laugh again or ask you for your advice and hear your thoughts on life and love and everything inbetween
am i destined to sleepwalk the rest of my life trying to get back to you over and over?
your actions have almost ruined me
our lives and souls so intertwined on every possible level
i still love you, and yet i’m so angry now
we will never get over this
we will never fully be okay again
you scarred our children and robbed them of knowing you and all the future times they will need their dad
we are destined now for this eternal dance of love and hate, of shock and disbelief, of how life somehow keeps going wherever it can even when your worst nightmare comes true.
our burning house burned completely down to the foundation
only ashes left, piles and piles upon ashes
in my dreams I walk through the flames to find you and run into your arms, to lay down beside you and hold you tight
our love will always now feel more painful than beautiful, you wrote that destiny for us.
damn you, how could you leave us to burn to the ground?
I would’ve done everything in my power to fight the flames with you, we could’ve overcome the fire, I believe that. you didn’t. you sold me short. you didn’t know how strong I was. you cheated us all. you decided for us all and you were wrong, so fucking wrong.

{zt}

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(a beautiful song called, burning house by cam, inspired this post)

#suicide

falling into grief

//

I wrote the following a year ago in April 2017. Little did I know that three months after typing these words my most horrendous grief experience would crash down around me like a relentless and unstoppable tsunami:

“Grief is ever-changing like the moving water in a river or ocean, never stagnant or completely still. There is always something happening, something stirring under the surface or above, or both. Sometimes grief is a like a river in how it winds and twists and turns. Sometimes grief is like an ocean with its strong currents, undertows, and merciless waves coming again and again and again. Sometimes grief is like a ferocious hurricane over the waters, gathering force and spinning out of control, bent on destruction of some sort or another, affecting whatever is in its path. Sometimes grief is like the constant drip drip drip of a leaky faucet, always there and annoying in an innocent dutiful naive manner. Sometimes grief is like a rainstorm on a tin roof that sings a comforting song with its melody.

I hate grief. And yet. It is cleansing and clarifying, and altogether terrible and sweet and relentless, all rolled up into a world of its own. Like water can be, at times it is comforting and warm; but it can also be jarring and dangerous, even life-threatening. It is a world I never feel I belong in, yet when I visit I no longer feel a stranger there, I feel like it is a place I have been before and know well, yet wish I never had to visit again. And yet. I often feel connected in ways in the throes of grief that somehow feel solid, that allow me to feel close to what and who I have lost. That closeness seems at times to fade or go in and out of focus, like a tether to that long lost loved one, or a camera that just cannot seem to find its sweet focus spot anymore, the connection changes as the grief changes. Some days it is undeniably strong and unavoidable like the pain of a fresh burn; others it is a faded other-world-ness dream of a life lived in an alternate space, a space that often seems just out of reach if I try to touch it. Grief crashes, drowns, tricks, surprises, contorts, burns and cracks, and yet it also envelopes, hugs, clears, strengthens, and straightens. Grief is ever-changing.” (Zoe Turner, April 2017)

//

Present day thoughts on this writing from a year ago: Well fuck me. Holy fucking shit. Yeah, I guess I thought I knew a thing or two about grief a year ago. I did know something on some level, but now it’s like walking along the streets of a town and feeling the wind and air hit your body versus reading about traveling to that particular town and what it must be like to visit there. Worlds apart, at least this is my lived experience. Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for the suicide of my beloved person, my spouse. None of the former griefs, they all paled in comparison. My missing then dead spouse trumped them all, hands down. My world literally exploded. There were no patches large enough, no way to keep everything put together.

I’m learning to engage with grief better. I’m learning her ways, her tricks, her truths, her shortcuts, and her long winding paths. I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how hard, because I don’t get a do-over, there are no replays, this is it, this is my life and I will live it.

{zt}

//

No man ever steps in the same river twice. For it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

{Heraclitus}

//

“…We have this physical experience in loss of falling toward something. It’s like falling in love except it’s falling into grief.

And you’re falling towards the foundation that they held for you in your life that you didn’t realize they were holding. And you fall and fall and fall and you don’t find it for the longest time. And so the shock of the loss to begin with, and the hermetic sealing off, is necessary in grief. But then there comes a time when you finally actually start to touch the ground that they were holding for you.”

{David Whyte}

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>>>>compiled as a new guest post on Black Widow Blogs HERE.

wall of suicide

//

I feel like my heart has been jerked from my body and thrown out into the cosmos. I thought it would never return to me, that it, that I, was lost forever. Lost not only to myself but those others still here who relate to me and love me. Having your person die is a tearing away of cosmic proportions. There is no small part of you left unaffected or untouched.

Little by little, piece by piece, I am returning to myself and the pieces are rearranged. Nothing is what it was before. That wall between before he left and after he left, it is impenetrable, unscaleable, and unable to be busted through. The wall is not even an actual wall, it is though it is another time, another place, another dimension, and there is absolutely no getting back there, no matter how hard I try. This wall is final. It represents an ending, an ending of so many things. But the truth is no matter how much at times I just want to continue to wail at the wall, it is also a beginning point. Every step I take away from the ending point is a step towards what is to come and what is the now. It is something we scream against yet fight to accept all at the same damn time.

I don’t want the changes, yet I must have the changes to survive. I don’t want to love again, yet I actually really do. The emotional whiplash caused by your partner dying is almost indescribable. I’ve never experienced anything as horrific as finding out they died by their own hand and having to sit your children down and tell them their Dad is dead and why he is dead. Suicide is its own brand of horrible, it’s own breed of monster. It rips you to shreds until you yourself feel dead inside, yet slowly life begins to arrive at the door and, as blood does, it seeps back into every crack and crevice.

{zt}

>>>>>{this was a guest post a few days ago on the Widow Dark Thirty blog, found HERE}

keep living

//

i used to think i knew what happened when people died. i comforted myself with images of heaven, of a better place, of no more crying and no more pain. the reality is i don’t know what really happens when someone dies. i can guess, but i don’t really know. the old adages don’t bring any comfort anymore. truth is brutal to swallow.

i used to think i had experienced the worst traumas i ever would. i thought i had seen enough of my share. childhood sexual abuse, the divorce of my parents, acquaintance rape in highschool, clergy abuse in highschool and college, being asked to leave a church due to said clergy abuse while they encircled the hurting pastor and his family, the stillbirth of my second child, the miscarriage of my fourth child, losing the scaffolding of the christian faith and christian god that I had built and based my entire life upon…and then the sudden disappearance of my husband and his suicide eighteen days later.

i am sitting here tonight, six and a half months later, still trying to figure out how my life turned into this. supposedly there comes a point where you figure out how to stop asking the questions, how to stop trying to figure out what the hell happened, how to keep the internal tsunami at bay that still desperately wants to save him.

i cannot imagine another man in my life, although i want it and parts of me feel guilty for wanting it now. maybe i want it this soon because of how it all ended. but the reality is that i am not a loner. i don’t do life well without close friends and without a man i love who also loves me back. there is so fucking much i want and need to be different from here on out, but before i nail down all those specifics i just want another human being to look me in the eyes and tell me they see me and that they believe i’m going to make it up and out and away from this ground zero. i want to believe that i can trust again, that i won’t let fear dictate my life from here on out because of all the staggering losses.

there have been days i have wanted to box it all up and call it quits, but really that is not an option i want deep down inside, nor is it an option i would ever pursue. giving up, throwing in the towel, no fucking way. feeling hope again? i sure as hell hope so. feeling wanted again? yes, please. i didn’t die when he left our house quietly one sunday morning. i didn’t die when he pulled the trigger to end his own life. i didn’t die. i didn’t die. i didn’t die. i am alive. i am here. i get to be here. my life is no small thing. i don’t take my own life lightly, i don’t hold it carelessly. i’m here and i want to live. i want to keep living. and i will as best i can.

i wonder sometimes what becoming a widow suddenly and traumatically is supposed to look like and feel like. i wonder if i’m anywhere within normal or if i’m just totally screwed up and can’t even tell. i just don’t know. does anybody really? i know it’s not all black, there is still color. it’s not all tears, there is still laughter. it’s not all sadness, there is still beauty and enjoyment to be found. if you had asked me a year ago what i thought life without him would be like i never would’ve guessed right. it would’ve been too far outside my lived experience. but I can tell you now. it’s hell and it’s not hell, it’s a nightmare and yet it’s not, it’s horrific and maddening, and yet on some days it’s mostly just exhausting and confusing. and every now and then some normalcy seeps in the cracks of this shattered life and you see flickers of light that tell you that you are still very much alive, and life is still very much worth breathing for.

{zt}