watch me own it

I’ve started to own this grief

I’m not going to let it kick me off field any longer;

I’ll bring it up on first dates, share it like

small bites of chocolate with my roommates on the couch,

drown in it as if it were a giant glass of red wine;

I’ll scream it out of me and into pillows and

bring the subject with me to dinners and various bars

across town, neatly tucked in my clutch

like my favorite lipstick.

I’m going to own this grief publicly

and you’re going to watch me

so that the next time they ask me how I’m handling things

I can look them in the eye and say

I’m handling it just fine, thanks.

 

enigma

I know what loss and grief and sorrow feel like but I can’t imagine what it’s like to realize you’re dying. Is it a long, drawn out realization, or does it take your entire body and world over in one split second? Do you feel afraid for the unknown, or is it more like relief? Does your life play out in parts, your memories connected by flashing neurons strung together like pieces of clothing hanging on a clothesline? Do you think of love? Do you hope for the warm hands that touched you last? Do you pray, even if you don’t believe in God? Do you say whatever words you have left in that last breath out loud? And if you only have a second of life to spare, how long does that second really seem to last?

What is it like to know you’ve reached the end and might never again get another beginning?

Questions without answers and answers that don’t make sense once asked.

If life is such an enigma, can you imagine death?

 

IPA

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

I finally understand that saying now, how life can break you just to remake you- stronger, wiser, aware of the beauty in my own breath and the importance of love.

And still.

The last 365 days without you to share my accomplishments and failures with have been the hardest. I have no regrets of things left unsaid like so many others because my words always belonged to you. And the ones I kept locked away you read in my eyes. But what do I do with my words now?

I wish you were still here so I could tell you how much you changed my life, how your love gave me strength, how I finally learned to see myself with your eyes. But the only thing left to do now is remember, celebrate the years of life you had by drinking your favorite IPA. And it all still doesn’t make any sense. You were once a lover but forever my best friend. You challenged me to be better but loved me at my worst, and among all of the things I still don’t understand are your unwavering faith in me and neverending love. You were my soulmate and I was yours, no matter what, we decided. You made me angry, you disappointed me at times, and you were awful with directions and going to bed instead of falling asleep on the couch. And yet. The mornings when you brought me coffee in bed and danced with me on top of your feet in the kitchen and hid from the world underneath piles of blankets in our own grown-up fort and held me close to your heart the first time I let you see me cry and told me it would all be alright… THAT’S what I remember when I think of you now.

I remember you and I remember love.

But I still hate the fact that all I can do is remember. All I can do now is sit here, drinking your favorite beer and writing honest words you’ll never read.

365 days later and I still feel everything.

 

after all

You would’ve liked the woman you saw if you had seen me last night- my skin sun kissed, hips swaying back and forth to the rhythm I learned in the only home I’ve known, to the songs I used to spend hours dancing to alone on the patio on days when the sun shone too hot and there was no one around to talk to.

You would’ve liked the way my mouth molded over the notes, my tongue dancing, vocal chords ringing, my spine standing strong and upright. You would’ve appreciated my small efforts at comedy and human connection sent to the crowd over the twisted microphone wires and afterwards I’m certain you would’ve declared that I had been born for the stage.

You were, after all, my biggest fan.

You would’ve sat right in the first row but you would’ve stood up to dance, even if your feet never did quite learn all the right steps to take.

That’s what you had me for, after all.

You would’ve liked what I have done with this life I realized I took for granted when you died.

Why have I wasted so much time?

I have learned to ask myself the hard questions even if I don’t have answers to so many of them.

Yet.

What I do know is that it isn’t enough to just breathe and pay the bills and kiss new lips every now and then. Not anymore.

You would be proud of the woman I’ve become.

If you could only see me now.

 

 

 

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)

Definitely

There are good days and bad days

but the last two

have been the latter

tea and words and tears

for breakfast

and a flood of memories my mind

hasn’t remembered in a while

I want to be able to say more

than just I miss him

when they sit beside me

concern flooding their eyes when they notice

my tear-stained face

but I have no words

to explain the insufferable longing

here in my heart

except for

Saudade

the tongue of my motherland

suddenly

comfort seems so distant

a dream my mind must have made up

to get me through today

and then tomorrow

and the day after that

because when life breaks you this way

it’s either live one day at a time

or die.

The in-betweens we create disappear

you learn there’s only yes and no

I will and I won’t

I want you or I don’t

good days and bad

but the last two have been the latter

definitely.

Maybes no longer exist in my world.

 

 

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?

Rebirth

My grief will be my medicine

a reminder

that I still have a heart inside

that beats not only loudly

but strong;

it will be present

and keep me company when everyone runs

from the waves of sadness that constantly break

against the shore of life;

 

My grief will be my compass

leading me on the path I’ve always been too afraid to follow;

My grief will be my rebirth

the end and the beginning of everything

that is yet to come.

 

And when they ask me how I did it,

how I survived grief

I’ll tell them it was by letting it take all of me,

piece by piece

bit by bit

until I grew comfortable with it being just another

indispensable

part of me.