in case you were wondering

What I wish they’d told me about losing someone you love is that you’ll never be the same again. You’ll finally understand the illusion of time- how some days feel as though they’ll never end, and others like a brand new beginning. Many a sad memory will come to pay you a visit. You’ll suddenly remember the first kiss again. And then, the last. For a few months you’ll act unlike yourself just so you can feel alive again. You won’t be able to stand that dull, numb sensation taking over the space where your heart used to be. You learn death doesn’t just take your loved one away and leaves after that. No. Death hangs around. It stays. It becomes a part of who you are now. For better or for worse. Some days it makes you passionate about things you never even noticed before, like the white trail clouds leave behind. And others, it makes you never want to see a blue sky again. It’s messy and disorienting and heartbreakingly painful. At first. And then, always. It doesn’t get any better with time like they say. You just learn to live with it. To befriend it and let it in. And then it never leaves. You let it take over so the past can die and stay behind. And that’s how you learn to live again. That is the time of your rebirth. Your heart and soul will grow so big that one day you stop being who you were and you become love. so let the tears come. let them wash away the pain.

(this is how you grow)

shedding

I have cried on the wooden floor

beside my dresser

my hands caressing the imperfect object with love

I have cried on the sofa,

head buried in pillows as my mouth

gasped for air

and silence

I have cried on my bed

and on pages scribbled in black ink

my tears distorting my words

turning them into strange shapes-

this one, a boot

and that other one, a star

I have cried at my work desk, right in front

of the computer

and on the massage table so many times

now I’ve lost count

I have cried while riding my bike-

I can’t help it

this mountain town used to be yours alone

but now it’s become mine.

 

Only mine.

 

I have cried on runs around the lake, while

chopping vegetables, and a handful of times

on first dates

I have cried in the public bus,

most often behind dark sunglasses but

in front of strangers who’ll never

know my name-

which to me seems strange.

we have shared so many of my tears

together.

I have cried as I stood held in long embraces

by those who I can sense feel bad

for not having the right words to say-

they still haven’t learned that

there are none.

I have cried as my face seemed to freeze

distorted with pain

and as my voice escaped from me in the shape

of a scream

the only sound I can make when nothing

makes any sense

and not always, but sometimes

I try to muffle it so the neighbors don’t think I’m insane

I think that’s ok-

the screams are not like the tears.

I have cried over both

death and life

and all the words I can no longer write

without hearing his name

I have cried in planes and

in cities far, far away-

enough to know that my tears will always

tag right along with me

the saddest carry-on.

I have cried in the arms of my mother

a few times but last time

was on top of a carpet covered with crumbs

which gave me a kind of sad comfort-

to know I wasn’t the only thing broken

lying there.

I have cried until lashes fell out

enough of them for the entire world to make wishes with-

because the lashes

(it seems funny to say it now)

wanted nothing to do with my tears

and I can still remember the first time I cried

in front of him

my hands on my face and then, his

I hid in shame because back then

I didn’t yet understand

that tears

are just feelings I haven’t learned how

to write down

yet.

 

But I do know how to cry now.

 

and someday  I’ll learn to write the tears away

but even then I’ll know

it will only be because

I

have

cried.

 

 

182.5 to be exact

It’s been 182 days of words for breakfast

and tears as a bedtime snack

I’m still in this space where I can’t understand

just how it is that someone you love

can disappear into thin air

but leave a giant hole in your chest

 

It’s been 182 days.

 

I still miss him

and then,

I miss him again.

 

I never asked that much of life

but death,

couldn’t you please

give me my best friend

back?

A dirty word called grief

No one speaks of grief.

The world seems to always be

unprepared for the aftermath 

of death.

I wish someone would’ve warned me

listen, you’ll be shattered in places

you didn’t even know 

existed before

but the dead can’t speak and 

the living are clueless 

because they decided

that the worst of the dirty words

is the one called

grief.

The aftermath

Death changes everything when it takes your everything away.

You lose so much that you start to live life waiting for your time to come too, afraid of ever caring deeply again. You know, just in case. Because now you feel it in your bones the universal truth that nothing lasts forever. It’s no longer just an idea floating around in your head. It’s an ache, an open wound in the worst place. like on your fingertips. There’s no rest, no break from the fear of going through the worst one more time when you barely made it through before; when you’re barely making it through now; when you still cry and miss them and your head is still filled with endless regrets over the things you didn’t do or say; as if your actions would have made a difference in the end. You become irrational. And yet you’re more rational than you’ve ever been before.

Yea, death does that.

And when you try to start to touch again, to feel again, to love again, it’s right there; the ache throbbing, reminding you of the last time you felt that way and how it all disappeared in the end, like water that gets too hot and evaporates. It’s the most terrifying thing a human can experience: to give up control of your heart while knowing that it will eventually end in death and heartache. Always. Every single time.

But that’s the moment when you have to face your fears and let life and death figure it out between them. Because the funny thing about the aftermath of death is that only love can make you come alive again.

So when it knocks on your door, let love in. You deserve a break from all the sadness death forgot to take back with him.

lessons from death

You must find excuses to laugh, to kiss, and to tell the people in your life that you love them- on holidays, birthdays, and on ordinary days; especially on the ordinary days, for they can be the hardest of all.

And while you are busy loving everybody else, don’t forget to also love yourself because you are your own greatest love. Treat yourself to long baths and light the expensive candles you keep saving for the right time- wear lingerie alone, use the nice china, buy yourself flowers, cook yourself a nice dinner, pleasure yourself, tell yourself you’re beautiful when you look in the mirror. And start believing it.

Dance when you feel like it. With music or without, with a warm body or alone. Get lost searching the corners of your mind; watching the sunset; in conversations with yourself… and learn to cry- even if you don’t know the reason for your tears. Your heart is smarter than your head. Trust it.

But above all, be fearless. The worst that could happen is death and that will come sooner or later anyway, whether you are ready or not. So live. Really live, as if you are a young bird that just discovered flight. Don’t just stay comfortable– fucking dive into the beautiful mess of life because death is right on the other side and we have all the time in the world to be dead.

So live. Really live. Past your fears and others’ ideas of what your life should be like.

 

Gone

I can’t tell you how many days after it happened, but suddenly I felt the urge to know exactly what happens to our bodies when we die.

What happened to his body.

I found myself obsessed with the subject, researching the topic for hours online, staying up late reading on the vacuum that is the world wide web everything I could find.

Far from being “dead,” a rotting corpse is teeming with life.

Rotting.

I didn’t even make a note or highlight. I knew the word would be immediately engraved on my mind. And once it was, others came to join it-

Decomposition.

Self-digestion.

Autolysis.

Putrefaction.

Discoloration of the body, I learned, was caused by anaerobic bacteria feeding on the body’s tissues, and as a result, fermenting the sugars in them to produce gaseous by-products, which in turn lead to bloating.

His blue fingernails.

His purple lips.

These gases continue to build up causing blisters on the skin’s surface, followed by loosening of the skin.

The gash on his head.

How did they manage to keep him looking like him if they found his body two days after he had taken his last breath?

I’m sure his entire face and hands were covered in makeup by the time I got to see him.

Cold on a metal table.

Gone.

And in that moment, there were no words to describe what I felt when I saw whatever parts were left of him held together by science.

No amount of research could’ve prepared me for that.