The Leftovers


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Running does not help

They will still be gone

We will still remain

the lost

as much as they

My hope is that

they watch over us,

guide and protect us

let us know, gently

when we are

going further astray

Keep us from hurting

ourselves more

And rather, feel

their love

every day

Inglorious Rage


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Nobody likes an angry woman

she’s unbecoming in the worst way

a primal scream can’t cure

an uncontrollable rage

it frightens me

how deep it is

rooted in me

like an ancient tree

I want it to go away

but somehow, I don’t

It lets me know I am still

alive

and that you matter so much,

and that you will never go away

20 Months

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Today is the 20-month anniversary of Lorin’s death. I think about him every day, and light a candle for him every night. The passage of time has not altered my love for him or the depth of my sadness, and anger, that he has left this earth.

Lorin and I loved our many road trips together. He used to say he was “Driving Miss Sweetie” — Miss Sweetie being me.

We planned our music, audio books, snacks and drinks ahead of time. It was always an adventure.

On the drive home from Orlando after a long weekend, there was a delay on I-4 East due to a car accident. A fatal car accident.

In the past, I might have been annoyed at such a delay, but yesterday I felt differently.

I imagined how annoyed motorists must have been after our car accident on September 29, 2016. How they might have been complaining how they would be late for work or to  take their kids to school that morning. I used to be one of those people.

Yesterday I felt profound sadness.  Tears welled in my eyes as I thought of the life or lives that were lost on I-4. As we passed the mangled red SUV, I said a brief prayer for the deceased and his / her family.

Another lost soul on the American highway.

Another family, grief-stricken and traumatized.

I will never forget the beautiful person I lost on September 29, 2016. I am forever altered and still struggle to understand why only my cat Samson and I survived.

Perhaps someday it will all come clear. Until that day, I will do the best I can to make sense of it all and live another day.

I Carry His Heart

Halloween was Lorin’s favorite holiday. He loved getting dressed up and greeting the neighborhood kids.

If Halloween fell on a weekend, we would get more inventive with our costumes since we weren’t getting home late from work.

On one such Halloween, Lorin dressed up as a hillbilly zombie or was it a “redneck” zombie? He was excellent with makeup from his years studying and working in the theater. He wore a torn flannel shirt, suspenders, old pants, hiking boots and carried a mixing bowl with blood (red food dye colored water) and eyeballs (fake, of course). He stirred the bowl with a wooden spoon while sitting on the stoop. He scared some kids, but one actually asked for an eyeball, much to his mother’s chagrin.

I dressed up as the “joker’s wife” (Heath Ledger’s Joker) in a housedress, torn knee-high stockings, big slippers, matted hair in a hairnet with rubber spiders in it, and white face paint with a jagged red smile.

We were quite the pair.

A neighbor took a photo of us, but I can’t find it.

I will miss Lorin at Halloween, as I do every holiday, and every day.

This poem is dedicated to him. I almost had my best friend read it at his memorial service, but I changed my mind. I would have preferred to have read it myself, but I wasn’t fit to do so.

i carry your heart with me
(by e.e. cummings)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, fast approaches. It begins sundown September 29 and ends the evening of September 30.

More importantly, September 29 is the anniversary of Lorin’s death.

If you are a believer, this is the day that God will forgive you, purify you and cleanse you of all your sins.

I am hoping that God or whatever Life Force there is will help me get through this day.

I fear the day. It will mark the end of all “firsts”: the first Thanksgiving without Lorin, the first Christmas without Lorin, the first Valentine’s Day, the first wedding anniversary, the first birthday, and so on.

This Day may bring a measure of closure, but of this, like everything else, I cannot be certain. I have learned there is no certainty and no security in life. I am accepting this without self-pity or a sense of hopelessness. It is my truth. I am living it.

My life is forever changed, having lost my “Lost One.” That’s what Lorin used to call me, referring to the short story “The Lost Ones” by Samuel Beckett. On September 29, I lost the love of my life, my favorite person in the world, my writing partner, and the one who understood me better than anyone ever has, and possibly ever will.  I will try to be happy and continue to write and pursue the dreams we had forged as “Team Sweetie,” but I am forever changed.

Do not pity me.

Love more.

 

 

Anniversaries

Today is the eleven month anniversary of Lorin’s death. Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. We would have been married nine years.

I do not plan to celebrate our anniversary. I will light a candle for Lorin as I do every night and try to think about the happy times we shared.

Lorin died three days after my birthday, so that will be another day I think I’d rather forget.  We were planning to celebrate my birthday in Savannah when we arrived, intact. He bought me some jewelry and was very excited about giving it to me. The jewelry did not survive the car accident. It went missing or was destroyed, don’t know which.

Some pearls of wisdom from the world of trauma and grief:

(1)  Things that used to be bother me a great deal don’t bother me anymore.

(2)  Things that didn’t bother me before may really upset me.

(3) Don’t waste time.

(4) I do not suffer whiners gladly.

I am still trying to figure out why I survived, what my purpose is. It’s lonely being the survivor. Samson survived too. I couldn’t touch him for the first couple weeks after the accident. He seemed afraid of me and was obviously traumatized. When he finally let me pick him up, he seemed uncomfortable or in pain. His little bones must have been bruised.

Here he is with his new best friend Bo, who I adopted in November:

This song is dedicated to my dear Lorin, who was a wonderful dancer. He liked to grab me while I was in the kitchen or in the living room fussing, and start dancing with me. I miss that, among other things.  I wish I could dance with him one more time.

 

Why me? (re-blog)

I came across this post today from Tyson 72.  Being a recent widow myself, I have not come across many (or any) blogs written by widowers.  His story is painful, heartfelt and beautifully written.  Please comment at his site, not mine.

Thank you.

 

Powder

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Earth, moist from an earlier rainfall
impression of a body on the ground
where he lay

powder pink blanket with blue stripes
like a baby’s blanket
too short for an adult

I wanted to keep it
but it was taken from me
like everything else
that day

ground into dust

I am powder
no longer whole
only particles of myself
remain

I don’t recognize who I am

 

Missing Bernie

(Lorin and Bernie at PetSmart)

I’ve been missing Bernie terribly today. He was the last kitty we adopted–in April 2016.  Lorin saw him at the adoption center at our local Petsmart and said, “You have to meet him.” We already had four cats, so it seemed nutty, even for me, but I went with Lorin on a Saturday to meet Bernie.

Love at first sight. As it was with my Lorin.

They were two peas in a pod.

Everyone loved Bernie, but no one wanted to adopt him, because he was fat. They were afraid he had diabetes or some other illnesses and didn’t want to be burdened with a sick feline.  Understandable.  One of the foster cat ladies named Chris told us that before he landed at Petsmart, Bernie was in a pound. Apparently his owner had died. He had matted fur on his back that had to be shaved off. It was still growing back, and rather coarse.  He had been in the foster system for several months. Chris said we could take him for a week and bring him back if he didn’t get along with our other cats. Of course, we kept him.

He was shy, but loving. He had a favorite red sherpa blanket that he dragged around the house and even brought down to the basement, when Lorin was working there. Lorin’s office was in the basement. Sometimes Lorin helped him drag it down. Bernie talked to his blanket and gathered lots of toys around him. He seemed to need security. We wondered if he had been abused.

Karl adored him, and they started to sleep on the guest room bed together.

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(Karl and Bernie)

Bernie eventually moved from his “safe space” upstairs and started playing with the other cats. One of his favorite games was musical chairs, played at the dining room table. Karl seemed hurt when Bernie migrated downstairs and engaged in play with Quincy and Samson.

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I have grieved over Lorin, but have been unable to grieve for my cats. On one hand, I felt  guilty for grieving over my pets, grotesque even, in light of the loss of my beloved husband. On the other hand, I had no space in my mind and heart for more sadness. The pain of losing Lorin was enough.

But today I was able to grieve for Bernie. Like all my lost pets, he is worth grieving for. I wish I didn’t have to grieve any losses, but there they are. I will never forget the image of Lorin lying dead, nor will I forget the image of Sylvester and Bernie struggling to get up after the accident. I was helpless, useless, unable to save them. I didn’t see Quincy, Karl or Samson, and assumed they were dead.

These images still haunt me and weigh heavily upon my shredded heart.

I still fantasize about Lorin walking through the front door.

Lorin found Bernie and wanted him to be part of our family. I am happy we adopted him and that he had a loving home for even the brief time he did.

If I have learned anything from this, it is that every moment counts, as trite as it sounds. Love the people and animals you love, unreservedly. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. Love is all.

Let Me Breathe

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Pulling myself out of the earth
grasping at crumbling bits of clay
choking on each bit as it slips
through my fingers and
into my mouth

Let me breathe

two steps forward
three steps back

Let me breathe

Your opinions are not welcome
a listening ear will do

Have you been living in the dirt
with me?
have you seen your husband die
alongside I-95?
then shut up
and let me be

Let me breathe