fragments of a moment

cross legged on the floor writing

as he reads a hardcover I brought him

music fills the space between us and

the scent of citrus permeates the air

today we have no schedule

if we wanted to we could take a nap

in the middle of the afternoon

and wake up without an alarm clock

shaking our dreams so callously

back to reality

if we wanted to we could build a fort and have popcorn and wine for dinner

and watch Netflix until our eyes overcame with sleep

but instead we are

here.

in the sweet comfort and mutual understanding and

respect for our needs.

I’ve been so exhausted I haven’t had energy

to pay lady inspiration a visit lately

and he knows this.

so he lays with a book in hand and I sprawl

all my pens and journals on the living room carpet

and kindly ask creativity

to join me for a writing date.

And up above I can almost see love smiling down on us proudly

vaguely remembering the days

we swore off

commitment

for good.

 

Advertisements

For Sundays

The humming of the refrigerator has become my favorite sound.

It’s Sunday and we’re up before the sun, laying side by side with our backs flat on the shaggy carpet in the living room. Blankets cover our bodies and I place a sleep mask over my eyes. He opts for his blue bandanna. We breathe deeply, our arms intertwined and hands clasped. I try to listen to every sound, but it is so early the rest of the world is still sleeping.  There’s just the humming of the refrigerator and the swooshing of our breaths filling the space around us. In and out. With my third eye I see flashes of light and a never ending dark night sky. And when the time comes to fully return to my senses and this body in this world,  I will see a sky colored in pink, purple, and orange, and he will still be wrapped up tight in a blanket and I will look back at him and wonder how it is that the sight of him can rival a sunrise.

I live for these little moments when I can feel so full and whole and safe.

For slow Sundays and sunrises and plans of forts while drinking coffee and making pancakes. For the every day magic and the humming of the refrigerator that keeps me believing life is worth living. Love is worth giving.

 

 

first light

I talk a lot about darkness because I’ve learned to treat it as an old friend of mine.

But don’t be mistaken-

There’s a lot of light in my life, too.

Light in people and faces, in places and spaces, light that comes suddenly and inundates my entire world in a second’s time. Light that comes in the shape of clouds, of $20 dollar bills found on a deserted staircase, light that comes twinkling down all around me filtered through big tall leaves. Light. So much light. The sun rises over my bedroom window and I lay beneath the covers and notice the golden streams of light dancing- first across my white comforter and then over my face, settling down to make home in my eyes. Sparkling light, new and bright. Virginal light, the kind that carries no shadows or hint of darkness. Because if there’s one thing I learned walking through it, is that darkness ends. Always. And then, there’s all the light. And aren’t you glad you stuck around to see it? You held on for all this light. Of course you can see it down to its atoms. It’s only natural.

Just because I have befriended darkness doesn’t mean I can no longer speak of the light. The light in his eyes when he tells me he loves me. And means it. And then the light in her eyes when she tells me I’m still her favorite person. We lost so much together when he passed, it only makes sense we rebuild our lives together. Brick by brick our love strengthening our breath, giving wind to our feet. Drenched in the light streaming through the big windows of the bar nearby, grabbing drinks and spilling quiet, reluctant tears as we affirm to each other in our silence that we’re doing alright.

Light.

I live in it. I just dabble in darkness sometimes. Perhaps just so as not to lose the habit. We’ve come such a long way, after all. Maybe that’s the biggest gift I’ve gotten out of all the loss: to be able to co-exist in both darkness and light and find beauty in it all.

my spirit animal is a cockroach

I was born good at building home inside a box.

I was born good at organizing my insides so they look nice and neat for others.

I was born good at fighting the fight and hiding the tears.

So I shouldn’t be judged too harshly when I resort to doing those things. But let’s talk about the weight of carrying the world on your shoulders.

Tell him you love your scars now that you have them, but it hurts knowing and remembering just how you got them. Tell him sometimes you wish you had just been one more privileged kid. Too. Tell him you just want to be happy. Too.

And so what if challenges gave you strength?

So what if the battles gave you character?

How far can those two traits get you these days anyways. Some of the strongest people are still having fights with God and praying for things to change.

You will survive because you have before.
Survival instinct isn’t asleep inside you any longer. I’m pretty sure that’s how these things go. But what do I really know. I don’t mind the idea of having a spirit animal I just wish mine wasn’t a cockroach.

Maybe I’ll keep the stories to myself. The pain locked tight inside.
Or maybe my heart is big enough to carry that, plus love.

unexpected friends

IMG_7701

I thank these four walls. These walls I painted icy white while drinking beer and crying tears of joy that I was getting a clean slate. A chance to start over. To let go of the past. To move out of the darkness into light (and quite literally). These walls, which bore witness as I grew past the shell, filled in my bones, made my skin taut with hope. These walls I decorated with art and reclined my back on after long days I pray would soon end.

These walls have been my friend.

My cocoon where I transformed and manifested everything I have now.

I spend a moment thanking them, then take the curtains down, pick up the last box, and go in search of more magic and light.

Merry Grinchmas

My first Christmas with grief
was a mere three months after Paul passed away.
I didn’t even have time to prepare,
I didn’t even know such a thing was impossible yet then-
the pain was palpable,
cold and on the surface,
the loss starting to etch itself in my eyes and skin.
I barely remember it, though I do remember drinking my way through it
and at one point booking a tarot card reading. I recall that the reader said
“you’re trying your best to celebrate but you’re depressed”
to which I replied
no shit.
I went to have dinner at his parent’s house on the 25th.
His mom was sick and after saying a cordial hello,
spent the rest of the evening upstairs in her bedroom.
I didn’t blame her.
It was unbearable to try to celebrate without him there.

My second Christmas with grief was better.
Mainly because I decided to skip the whole thing all together.
I didn’t send anyone any gifts. No christmas cards. I wished everyone a merry grinchmas and allowed myself the freedom to do as I pleased with my feelings.
The only celebration was an intimate Christmas day spent with my then-
roommate and her immediate family and her boyfriend in Fort Collins.
Christmas morning I woke up to snow and tears.
Merry White Griefmas.
But they didn’t last all day, the snow and tears- and they didn’t keep me from getting dressed and playing white elephant for the first time with everyone else around the Christmas tree.
I felt loved.
It was nice.
But it all was still heavy. To me, anyways.
Probably because I was sad and sadness weighs a ton.
The thing about holidays is that they make the loss feel fresh all over again,
it’s like the scars are picked by the fingertips of
each encounter forced upon you,
each table you sit at surrounded by couples and family members,
and then there’s that damn empty chair beside you,
the thought of the perfect gift you would’ve gotten him this year,
the memory of your very own christmas tradition you had created together-
brunch with a lot of Champagne and just a little bit of Santa,
just to say you celebrated it properly,
a balanced holiday affair,
if you will;
Fresh tears and blood start to flow with
each christmas card that arrives,
joy and love so clearly stamped on your friends’ faces
it’s so awful and conflicting
to feel so happy for them
and so sad
for me.
Self pity comes easy then. Automatically, even.
But that was my second Christmas with grief.

My third Christmas with grief was 4 days ago.
I spent Christmas eve at his parent’s house, with his immediate family and growing parts on his brother’s side.
His mom and I were in high spirits.
We spent the day cooking up a feast and she ordered a special riesling
to go with dinner and she even baked a pie from scratch!
The house was decorated with wreaths, the Christmas tree hung with vintage, curated ornaments his parents purchased in different parts of the world,
shelled nuts ready to be cracked near the fireplace…
it was the image of a Scheffler Christmas.
It may have been missing my favorite Scheffler of all, but there was joy
in that house that night,
and it felt good to be able to actually feel a bit of that infamous holiday spirit again.
But no one talked about him.
We didn’t want to remember his death on Christmas eve or day.
The afternoon and evening of Christmas was reserved for a close group of friends, a night spent drinking and eating, surrounded by good people.
I came home around 10:30 pm.
I was starting to feel worn out from all the holly jolly,
I could feel the sadness starting to seep through…

On the 26th, when my third Christmas with grief was supposed to be over,
that’s when the pain hit.
that’s when the loss refused to be pushed aside any longer,
that’s when it took over,
the wave I have come to know so well, knocking me down,
bending my body forwards,
making my bones heavy
and cold.

The next three days were a blur of takeout, hot tub dips, wine and beer, absolutely no exercise and 12 hours of sleep each night.
For dinner one night I ate a 12 inch pizza, 8 chocolate chip cookies,and half a pint of ice-cream.
I was desperately trying to make myself feel better, instinctively, in any small way I knew how.
I couldn’t talk to anyone.
I couldn’t deal with anything.
I felt exhausted and sad and fat and
alone.

Then, on the 29th,
I woke up and noticed I didn’t immediately dread
the fact that I was alive.
I fed myself a healthy breakfast and sang some songs
and worked on the book, and took some pictures
to remind myself that I’m beautiful,
and cleaned out my closet, vacuumed the carpets,
drank a green juice for my afternoon snack,
witnessed a sunset from the hot tub
and thanked the heavens
that the holidays were almost over
and that today,
I was feeling better.
That meant the wave was passing,
the worst had been felt,
there was lightness of being to look forward to again.

It’s not that my third griefmas was easier than the ones prior,
it was just that the days of sadness were fewer than those of happiness
and when grief hit, I knew
it was just another wave I had to ride through.
By then, I guess you could say,
I had a bit of experience
with grieving during the holidays.

just a boy

I’ve always been a fan of the fixer uppers,
maybe because for a while there
I thought of myself as one, or maybe
I was so broken that I thought I deserved the same,
some more jagged sharp edges to pierce my center,
another critical mind to judge me harshly,
or maybe I was just as shallow
in my simplistic demands for passion,
maybe just as dumb to think I could keep
fire separate from warmth;
hands separate from love…
a line drawn in the middle with an incredulous finger
when it became obvious he had no heart to gift back.

was that really a choice or just me giving in?

Now he calls me a girl
as if he hadn’t yet met the woman I’ve become
and I call him a boy
because that’s exactly
who he is.

planting sunflowers

He was enough
just the way he was
the day he helped me plant my first sunflower
and as if speaking to the child inside me
he told me to not be scared for the worms
as I dug my shovel into the clumps of soil,
putting all their lives in peril.

And I remember smiling at the fact that
we could yell at each other
and then spend the rest of the day’s light
playing in the dirt
together.