Thursday, January 30, 2014

so how do I go on????

son of a bitch.  I'm not in hell, because I do have lovely things.  But I AM in purgatory.  I must be!  I left Maine back in the day, in order to be somewhere warmer and do something good for kids.  And now...I'm in Maryland...which should be warmer than Maine.  But it is fucking 8 degrees!  And I have three lovely, amazing kids of my own.  Something I always wanted...  For a while, I thought I wanted kids and no man to be beside me because that was just too complicated.  Then, I thought, perhaps, I wanted a man, but no kids...and then...I met John.  Shit.  John, you meant so much to me: you were hope for someone to love me, you were strength in life, you were belief in the next generation, you were laughter here and now, you were the reality of facing fights...and now.  Now.  Mother of god you are gone.  I reach for you so hard in my dreams...sometimes, you are there...not often.  I flirt with the past too much, maybe, to let you in all the way...there are moments of butterflies that cover me in the mixtures not deep of hope and faith and loss and hope all mixed together...oh I am lost.  Lost so much deeper than I ever imagined.  How can you find me?  How can love find me, ever again?  Before you, I was so lost and confused...and after you...son of a bitch.  It is better in only one way, which also makes it worse:  I know it CAN be.  Someone can love me...messy, imperfect, annoying, and completely totally whole.  The question now:  do I believe it can happen again, for me?  Oh motherfucker, I don't.  I was lucky and it was crazy that it happened the first time.  How unusual you so many ways, but in the special way, that is what I mean.  You touched me.  You had the patience for my crazy.  Now, my crazy is calmer, mostly, but much much deeper.  How can anyone reach me here?  why did you leave me?  why the fuck did life make that happen?  I can shake my head a hundred times to shake the won't leave...

once upon a time
a million lifetimes ago
you touched me
you held me and you fought with me
you would NOT
walk away
you wiped away fear, THE fear
that walking away was
an option
your imperfect, crooked arms
held me better than anything ever had

and now
now there are nights
wine and cigarettes
and fear and anxiety
quite a lot of anxiety
no one
no one
no one

there isn't anyone.
I look online
I look in the bars
I sift through my past
I find bandaids
momentary moderate fixes
I don't want to drink
I don't want to smoke
I want to take care of you
I want you to care for me
I want to fight with you
about dishes
and laundry
and other stupid chores
I want to melt like a candle
into the past that is broken
fill the cracks with my liquid wax
I want
very very much
to be the one
who believes
that good things will come
I have good things:  healthy kids
a job that is hard as hell,
people who love me close and from a distance

your love
your arms around me
your presence
your voice
your smell
your laugh
and I won't ever get that, no matter what I do.

How hard is it?

Okay, I can complain here, right?  I hate complaining..okay, that may not be true.  I like to vent.  Because I feel like holding it in is unhealthy.  I suppose that is more or less complaining.  But, seriously, at 40, I would NOT expect my PMS to get worse!  My boobs hurt and I get crazy emotional for the day or two prior to my special monthly gift.  That seems wrong.  Maybe that isn't complaining, but "just sayin'"

I keep feeling like perhaps I am in a version of some rhythm.  And then I am NOT at all.  The car started burning antifreeze, so that is in the shop.  The good news is that the coverage I pay for is taking care of my rental car (which is way to small for the kids to be comfortable, but at least it is's a Honda Accord), and they will cover the hoses that need to be replaced.  However, I need to pay for the system flush, so that doubles my payment as I have a deductible. 

On the way to school today, we were talking about my oldest child's birthday, and it came up that it will be his first without Daddy.  We have each had our first birthday without John, except for him.  I remember him at Aiden's last party.  He was in the wheelchair, not doing so great.  His arm wasn't working.  So I was doing it all still, and caring for him.  I don't care.  I miss him.  I suppose I don't really wish he was still here, forever in that moderately functional state...but I miss him.  I miss the real him, and I even miss the partial him whose hand I could hold and whose cheek I could kiss. 

This morning, I had to turn my back on the class and cry a little, wishing that just something would be easy.  That was spurred on by the car stuff, but really, I think it was everything.  And, of course, PMS.  Then I cried when talking with a teammate about school stuff I feel like I am not keeping up with.  It seems I am fighting constant anxiety attacks.  Can I write that up to Valentine's Day coming up and no John?  Plus Aiden's birthday soon after, and no John?  Ugh.  I don't know.  Much of anything really, but most of all how to do any of this.  Sometimes, when I look from the outside, I think I am doing pretty well...but I judge myself so harshly...we all do, I guess.  I have a student who was doing that today, and I channeled John.  I showed him the muscle testing thing where you say a name other than yours "I am Tallulah" and I push on your extended arm and it goes down without a wink.  Then you say your own name and I do the same, but this time, you can hold it up much better.  Repeat a couple times.  The point:  when you say things that are not true or negative, your entire body stops working right.  A skill being hard for you does not make you a failure.  It simply means it is hard.  It's as untrue to say you suck because you struggle with subtraction as to say you name is "Tallulah" unless it stop.  Stop beating yourself up.  Hard things happen to everyone, at every stage of life.  Admit they are hard, and keep on trying.  That is all we can do.  No matter how hard the hard is.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

silly needs and gratitude...with little meaning anywhere

the cold sparkles
when you pay attention

it also leaves strange, snowless holes in the sidewalk
no footprints
no spot for wind drifts

I think life is like that
it makes no sense

things happen
and they go on happening
whether or not your night is long
lonely, full of love, anger, fear, loss

think of things to be grateful for
that is what my inner voice tells me
I am grateful for living in a 1st world country
as ass backward as it may be
profit alone, not profit, people, and planet

I'm grateful for dogs who keep me warm
even though I have to walk them in driving snow
I'm grateful for a home with a heater that works and space enough
even though it isn't mine
I'm grateful for a church filled with faces I love
even though its tiny size prevents it from helping all it should
I'm grateful for amazing kids
even though I have no one to help with them
I'm grateful for a wonderful job that makes me feel part of the solution
even though it is hard and taxing on every level
I'm grateful for my ability to keep searching for things to be grateful for
even though I keep adding caveats

find me a hope and I will find you a hole
or perhaps it is the other way around

either way,
it's cold outside
and more than anything
I wish for a man to snuggle with and kiss my cheek
Ah, yes, a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, right?
what if the fish
needs to get to the store?

Friday, January 17, 2014

things I miss

I want something
messy broken
and lovely at the core
something sweet and intricate

the moon reflects in every shiny surface
the music reaches everywhere, everyone
even when you barely realize

I long for freckles to caress
crows feet to kiss
slightly crooked teeth and a twice broken nose
I even long for being
momentarily ignored
for something

I miss someone getting my water
two feet from me,
three feet from him

what is it that I can do to shorten time?
to lengthen it, backwards?
to show the world my pain
while still walking in power?

I bite my lips
till the iron taste of blood
tickles the tips of my tongue
flavors the tightness between my teeth
when what I want
what I want
ha!  well, what I want would fill pages of books and books and years and lifetimes

for now
suffice it to say
I miss freckles for caressing
and crows feet for kissing
a twice broken nose
nuzzling mine...

Thursday, January 16, 2014


wondering where I am and what I am doing...for example, these long lonely damn nights, right?  They aren't longer than when John was alive.  But they feel like they last a fucking eternity, no matter what I do.  I drink (sometimes too much, but not all the time), I write, I read (not enough), I watch movies and t.v. shows, chat with friends, sometimes I go to bed early and this is good sometimes...and nothing fills the time well.  Is that my heart that I am trying to fill?  What did I do with the nights when John was alive?  Couldn't have been too much more than what I do now.  But it didn't seem so empty and lost.

I always want to sleep in, but that never happens.  Or I want to get up and not be in a rush, and that never happens either.  I feel like I am always at odds with myself.  I want to go to sleep early every night, but I want to do something on my own- not work and not kids and not pets.  I want the little ones to sleep with me, but I want my space.  I want to try to flirt and date, but not too fast, and not really because I hate dating.  I like caring and having fun.  I want a friend, yet I have connected with many of my real good ones better than ever...none the less, I end every day alone.  The kids are asleep and there is no one...

There probably aren't THAT many more responsibilities I face now that John is gone, but it feels like whatever extra loads I have had to adopt, they are manifold and each one heavier than lead.  I guess part of it is what my daughter said tonight.  We were picking my oldest up from a friend's house and my youngest did NOT want his seatbelt on.  I told him if I drove with him unhooked, I could go to jail.  Not knowing what jail is, he said "yay, jail!"  I told him that would mean I wouldn't be with him and they wouldn't have daughter said "Yeah, and you are the only thing we have, keeping us together."  Yes, baby, I am the only thing you have keeping you together.  And I have a lovely powerful sweet patchwork keeping me from fraying till I fall apart, but it is just that:  a patchwork.  I am constantly dealing with the fact that it could very well fall apart at any given point.  We would find a way, we will.  I know we will.  But it isn't just a matter of keeping us all together.  I want to be well, I want to be happy.

Happy.  Funny word, that.  I wondered today if there are people who just kind of have happy lives, mostly.  I figure true, good Buddhists have some version of that maybe, because they expect, embrace, and let pain pass through.  But I know that must take work.  I imagine it is more rare than it might seem.  Just as hard, or harder?  But what about those people that have a decent job that covers their bills, a loving spouse, extra curricular activities...they are happy, right?  I mean, they aren't without pain and stress, but still...I have not yet lived a life where I wasn't worried about I worry about if we will have money to eat and pay rent.  I have never lived a life where vacations were a given in any way.  I have never lived a life, for any extended period, where I KNEW someone would love me no matter what.  John was pretty damn close, but I always felt he loved his coaching and diving more than me.  We were working on that.

So, the nights are long.  And I wish I knew where I fit in.  I wish I knew how to find my way. I wish I wasn't 40 wishing for someone to be by my side, I wish I wasn't a mother of three needing so much help, wishing for a hand to hold and a man to sleep beside.  But that is where I am, who I am...and I have no clue where to go from here.  Except on to tomorrow.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, my Love

ah what a day.  I cried so damn hard today, so many times.  The tears were literally jumping out of my eyes.  Pouring.  On the way to work, at work, after getting started at work...the school counselor stopped by to see how I was doing, worried I was listening to music that would make me cry more.  So sweet.  My teammates checked on me to invite me to lunch, but gave me space.  I saw an old friend, who did nothing...I wish she had offered a hug...but it's just another example of how people don't know what to do about grief, with people grieving.  It's okay.  Sad, but okay.  We always struggled to actually be friends, anyway.

I miss him so much.  I have a couple friends I flirt with, which is very nice...but it isn't anything.  They are sweet and care, which is the only reason it works.  I am looking on dating sites, trying to be more honest about how slow I want to go with things...I want to use online to get to know people for a while before meeting them.  Maybe if they don't misspell too many things and actually respond pretty regularly, meeting would work.  I don't know...

What I want most of all, I cannot have.  What I want second, I also cannot have.  So I will find a way to be grateful for what I's hard when you have lost and are lacking so much.

I'm scared for the summer- how we will get through.  I can't think of a job I could do that would make enough to pay for bills as well as for daycare.  I do not know what to do about that and I am saving as much as I possibly can right now...I can only do what I can, and I have to hope that the universe will collide with my need...even if that collision comes in the form of credit card debt increased.  Sigh.

I hope someone hears my writing, reads it, and it helps them feel like they are not alone. It is so easy to trip into a place where we feel like we are spinning in space alone, no one hearing us, no one knowing what our pain or lives are like...but really, we all hurt and hope and dream and love and lose...things break down when we start to believe that our way is the only way...that no one can reach or understand us.

I don't know...I just wish like HELL that I could hug you!

strong comes in so many many's so nearly impossible to recognize at times.  I hope I am wearing the right colors...I hope the love that surrounds me can help me get through the love that is missing...that I will always miss...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

feeling too much...emotion and disolution

sometimes I bite my lips so hard
it's like I want to take them off my face

how can tears so hot
surprise you so deeply??

not linear, these moments
but cyclical
curving and caressing
waves crashing
and ripping apart
and building
in a single swoop
erosion as well as deposition

when what I long for
are the swirling
semi cyclonic swoops
of seagull circles
dancing among the
shadows made by clouds
spattering lattice lines
across the mountain tops

If only I could
close my eyes
be the moon in ethereal moments
looking like a cloud hiding
dissolve into sea foam
with the real little mermaid
or embrace the transformation
into a cool, mystical series
of barely visible water droplets
a fog bank engulfing the world
twining between every crevice
entering everything
being nowhere

melted to moments of
no emotion

Thursday, January 9, 2014

the next lesson sucks and annoyes me

I realized something this morning.  I have been fighting this idea of being alone since, well, a while now.  I even got John to admit that he didn't want me to live without ever dating again, like my mother and grandmother did after their divorces.  He said he didn't want that for me.  I told him I'd do it, if that was really what he wanted.  That stopped him in his tracks.  But today, it occurred to me, I don't really have much of a choice.  I have tried reaching back to old boyfriends, but that is just not such a smart thing to do, for a myriad of reasons.  I have been on three or four different dating sites, but that feels so weird and shopping for a guy.  Plus, the two men in my life I was really REALLY into, I wasn't all that attracted to at first.  I mean, come on.  I met John when he was dressed as the goof in the ProAction show!  So I know that looks and first impressions don't always turn out to be what you think.  So how am I supposed to look through and reach out across the internet to strangers who can write whatever they want on their profile?

I don't know what I am doing.  But I do know that I played the game of learning to love myself already. I lived in a cabin in the Maine woods, walking away from all the family and friends that didn't believe in me, that treated me like crap.  I kept busy chopping kindling, working at the nursery school, volunteering at the battered women's shelter, belonging to a couple groups on campus, and helping my English Prof and friend through some hard times.  I watched a LOT of movies, read often, learned to cross country ski (sort of), and got very good at going out alone taking my book and notebook for company.  I know I love myself.  And I will NOT believe that the universe or god or whatever took John's life to teach me something.  He was more than that, by FAR.  Annoyingly, I also believe that I do have the chance to learn something from his loss, so that means I have to examine it, pick it over, allow all the bad choices, the good ones, the pain, anger, confusion, loneliness...I have to let it wash over me.  I have to allow some wallowing because I cannot learn if I don't dig into it.  That is how my brain works, like it or not.  

And this new revelation, I don't like it.  I feel like on most levels, perhaps not all of them, I have to accept that I will likely BE alone forever, raising three kids by myself.  I'm sorry, but that is mind numbing.  I know that people do it, and sometimes they even do an amazing job of it.  But, and I'm whining here, I don't want to!  This was supposed to be a JOINT VENTURE, these children, this life.  My minister told me that it made sense I was a mess even before John died, because I was mourning the life that we should have/could have had.  Yes.  And now I have that to mourn as well as his presence.  We watched Eddie Izzard together and laughed our asses off, over and over.  We watched all the comic book superhero movies together, we were a powerhouse in the bedroom, we fought about laundry and house cleaning, we traveled and dreamed of traveling more.  He understood that I am a mess and needy and scared and strong and smart and independent all at the same time.  He always wanted to snuggle.  He held my hand.  He learned to call me "Honey".  He often remembered to call me "Kitten" like my mom used to- my favorite pet name.  I melted when he did that.

I can talk to almost anyone.  But getting close is another matter.  I have learned to understand a lot of my baggage, but I still have it.  And it is incredibly annoying and daunting to think about acquainting someone else with all of it.  Not to mention learning theirs! 

And so it goes.

"... desperate craving for simplicity sure can create complications. And ... pitiful longing for certainty sure can make things unsteady." — Tom Robbins

holding your hand

It's there inside
no matter what it looks like
on the outside

a moment here
a moment there
the wind might shift
a movie ends
and the cracks break through
burning my brown eyes
crumpling my heart
my hopes
my future

I see the road.  I see it empty
of cars
the wind blows
trash tumbles one side to the other
an empty cup carrying someone's lost screams
rolling and clanging uncrushed cans

so much laughter lived here
still does
it doesn't stop the breaking

there is a desire to make the pain
something seen
with blood
a wound recognized
with the eyes

contemplating immobility
wondering how it is that
the empty keeps following me
even when I don't seem to be moving

History replays and makes me wonder
how deeply we make our own beds
as in, do we end up surrounded
by the things we believe, somehow?

knees creak
eyes swell
hands and lips are missed
so deep it feels like the Pacific Ocean
is inside
and it reaches to the rocky bottoms
deeper than depths divers visit

Yes, the eyes
the eyes that sparkle and shine
so blue
the brown breaks down
and drowns

everything shrivels, bends, twists to breaking points

but nothing breaks
nothing ends
while everything disappears
inside immobility moving makes
no difference

it's all there no matter where you go
no matter when

lift your leg, place your foot
keep moving
even if you go nowhere
precious time heals whatever you wear
except those things
it can never touch
because the crumpling covered it all
buried it safe and deep
where lonely angels long
for loving fingers intertwining

regardless of time, death, or reality.

Monday, January 6, 2014

more than anything, I love you John.

What do I have?  I want to say that I have nothing…I am nothing.  No one named their babies after me.  I can't reach for some past, missed love.  I named my boys after my husband’s father and his family, my daughter after my family.  I was meant to marry John, and no one else.  He was the love of my life…but I am beautiful, I am alive, I am here.  John made me feel loved and supported and like I would never ever be alone.  I won’t be now.  I have three beautiful, living, annoying, hard, loving pieces of him.  Pieces of him and of me and of our love.  I know that I can reach others who think I am beautiful… there is a corner of my kitchen where I sat and cried while he was stewing in cancer…I cried so hard I thought for sure I would break.  I didn’t.  I sincerely wish that I could gather the people I have loved here with me…sometimes the pain makes me want to scratch my face.  Sometimes it makes me want to reach out to everyone and SCREAM at them that they are not alone in their pain, their joy, their grief, their sorrow, or their silliness.  I wish I made sense!  I wish I could cram all of my interesting and smart into someone cool and they could just love me so I don’t have to date and play games.  I hate games. 

When John was dying, I TOLD him it would be harder for me….I have to be here now without him.  He was amazing.  He faced it all….he was strong and sweet and wonderful no matter what.  He gave thumbs up and comforted us all when things were fading…who does that???  My husband.  The man who loved me forever, for his always.  That is who.  That says something about me. 

Aside from being alone now, my biggest fear is that I will turn into some twisted, lonely, broken, irrational, fucked up version of my mother.  I wish there was a path to make sure I could tick off check marks on a list so that was clearly not happening.  Nothing in life is that simple. 
I don’t want to be here…to be going through this.  And all I can think is “tough shit, little bitch.  This is what you have.  Deal with it.  Make it fun and interesting”  I think I can do that, but it means riding this damn huge fucking horse of pain…not letting it throw me off…one other little thing that isn’t fucking fair:  I played this game with myself when I was younger…I wanted to be sure I could find a way to love myself when I was alone…I wanted to be whole and strong and well all by myself.  I did an amazing job at that.  And I didn’t find my love for years.  So I knew for sure I loved myself for nothing but me…Why do I have to do that twice??  Nothing is fair…I say that all the time.  But damnit all, fighting through the idiocy of dating, proving to the outside world that I can do it alone…two times….
I don’t pray to god.  I don’t believe in god.  I believe in connection and energy that is never created or destroyed…the energy in me, that wakes me up every day and moves me forward, that is John and my mother and grandmothers, my grandfathers…it is everyone that came before both good and bad, strong and weak…and every moment is all of that…it is nothing and everything.  We are all nothing and everything at once.
I just wish I had someone to hold me at night other than my babies…someone who would be there to comfort me and care for me because that feels so good.  We all need that, to be cared for.  And I can’t help but think there must be something wrong with me that I keep losing that.  I don’t want to be alone.  And I don’t want to whine about being alone. 
But, if there was something deeply wrong with me, John never would have loved me.  So, if I can’t find a way to believe in myself through my own self, then I have to believe in me through John and his love for me.


nothing makes sense.  nothing is real.  everything is real.  I close my eyes and everything I hoped for my whole life is so mixed up...some here better than I ever dreamed, some broken some gone, some torn and burned...and I don't know which way is up or left of back...

Everyone gets angry
everyone is scared.

I feel like I am not one side
or another

how many reasons are there
to be a good person?

most are intrinsic

I feel those

but I want to be a good mother
and life took the man I wanted
to be the father of my kids

now, my heart is floating
lost and so lonely it implodes
on a somewhat daily basis.

I want him there to hold them
help them
give them ideas
I can't stop to think of that
because it isn't there

I want to hold someone
for me

I want to not face the rest
of me
however much that is

not only because
that thought just breaks me
but because that is what
they did
but because I want something more whole

I have no idea
what I am doing...where I am I am doing this

but I swear to all the connections I have ever felt
I will try
I will never stop trying
I will
do what I can

messy and crazy and crooked and wrong and honest.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

helping and fixing are not the same thing...

ahhh. life.  and death....and trying and screwing up....

I am 40, and I finally realized something major tonight
I am a good person.

That may sound silly, to have only just realized that
with some of the things I have done
but it's true
the thought is new

I make bad choices
I flirt with the "wrong" people
I am often selfish
regularly some version of foolish

there are just so many more curves
far more than anyone ever told me about
there are shades of gray
there are levels of love
and hate
and fear and loss and pain

we find our way like blind serpents
no hands
just eyes
fumbling and crashing our way
through trying to be
the fairy princess....

only to find we are a frog.
or a broken doll
or a sweet little something
with only half a wing
half a crown
dodging bullets and punches and swords

meandering through a forest full of
fire and confusion

I know I have made choices
even, at times, hurtful
it does not
change my heart.  My heart wants to believe
in love
and hope and something eternal.

so yes.  I'm 40.  And I only just tonight realized
I'm a good person.
mistakes and foolishness, pain, loss, confusion and all...

it helps a good bit.
if only
It would fix something.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

smouldering moments of saltless sorrow

It seems odd that a lacking
can feel so heavy. 
Even when you are getting somewhat used to it. 

Wandering the halls
pulling out drawers
choosing simple things
like hats

soft sides
to harsh hollows
looking for an outlet
wishing words could carve wounds like knives

his words
his voice
his touch
his presence
each leaves weeping sores
swollen, itchy, invisible
All consuming, nonetheless

Sometimes I think I might feel
like an accident victim
barely able to remember my past
my face bandaged
my body broken and casted
I have to let time
work its magic of making me
even more imperfect
new.  I try in desperation
to find patience
to see how I will be, when the defamation
a melting moments of mourning
fade....I will be


Whether or not I want that
is irrelevent
different goes where different wants
and we are swept away in the power
of its deluge

I have to find the crystal strength
to close my eyes
push through the fire and ice
of death and loss
walking charred through these months
knowing what I want will never
be there
never hold me
never touch my lips, my hair, my heart

Quartz to vibrate inside building flexibility
blood stone for courage
garnet, his birth stone just because

I am transpicuous in my vulnerability
broken burning shards of lucid loss and loneliness

or so I would like to believe

because ultimately
what I want
is someone to see me there


Thursday, January 2, 2014

small new year's eve group of thoughts.

Ach.  A new year, huh?  I had a wonderful week perusing my past, visiting friends old and older (not a reference to your ages, just to the time period in which we were connected!)  I know there is still love.  On my adventure, my heart and soul were touched in such different ways...some seen, some unseen. 

I feel like what I need to do is learn to travel with the loneliness.  The trouble is, it isn't just me.  This whole life of working full time, having 5 pets and 3 kids and being a single mom, a "solo" mom, right now it feels just too damn hard for me.  I know that this isn't a choice, it being too hard.  Because there is no other route, there is no one to pick up the slack or slip into the hole John left behind.  I get to shoulder the part of the load he carried, plus the load of the grief of looking into that hole.

And tonight, my daughter (5 years old) was crying in bed.  When I asked why she was crying, her response was "I miss Daddy!"  That was the first time any of the three truly articulated, in tears, their loss.  I went and got her his favorite sweatshirt to put on, I leaned across her lower bunk and held her, told her I miss him too. 

I find that I am an energy-less fountain of jealousy.  I am jealous that you have a lovely home, that you have a spouse to hold and kiss and fantasize with, that you have help with your family, that you have a yard for your kids and pets...But there is no power there.  Because I also know how blessed I am: to have had him, to have felt his love, to have felt and kissed his skin, to have had the chance to grow our children in my belly, to have had the opportunity, even, to care for him when he was unable to do so for himself.  I know I am blessed to have been cared for by such an amazingly pure, good hearted, loving man.  He was a selfish pain in the ass who couldn't cook, didn't drink, was slow and disorganized at cleaning, who was obsessed with his sports and didn't read.  And I would have been so damned happy to grow old with him, even so.