Sunday, August 29, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010


Last night, just after midnight, I was woken up by some kind of violent crime happening outside my window somewhere. A very angry man yelling and swearing, a second voice terrified, crying, and pleading. Couldn't tell if it was a woman or a child or teen. It took me a second to realize what was happening, and I jumped out of bed to get the cell phone from the kitchen, turn it on, and make sure my own doors were locked. The yelling and swearing, followed by pleading and crying, happened again just as the 911 dispatch picked up. I was just really waking up while trying to talk to the dispatch, trying to remember where I live, figure out what direction the voices came from, and make guesses as to which direction they were heading. At the same time, I was freaking out because Matt is not here, the landlords are away on vacation, the dog is sound asleep, my property is surrounded by scrub woods and industrial factories, matt is not here matt is not here matt is not here, and pictures of what could be happening to the person crying were flashing through my mind - not helping. Dispatch sent out officers, and kindly offered to have one come to my house, but I declined. I didn't hear any more voices, and police cruisers went back and forth a few times over the next hour, but who knows what happened.

Taking the dog out this morning,  I kept scanning the woods on the hill to see if anything looked - wrong. I am definitely still wigged out about it today. I noticed earlier that when I wrote a little snippet, I felt calmer. That, and acknowledging that being an "auditory witness" to violence is still upsetting, even if you are physically safe and never in any danger at all.

I was up for awhile after it happened. Freaked out. Trauma triggered, obviously - having to call 911, someone yelling for help - way too close to home. I've never heard violence happening, or that kind of fear in someone's voice before, and though I knew I was likely quite safe inside my house, I just needed to tell someone what happened. My landords went on vacation and turned off the house wireless, so no internet. I couldn't call Matt (not by phone, anyway), I didn't want to wake up any of my friends with young children. I couldn't think of anyone in a more reasonable time zone to call. I did finally think to text my local widow friend, just in case she had insomnia, and thankfully (for me), she did, and offered to come over. (thank you C.) By that time, I'd calmed down some, and felt able to go back to bed and at least try to rest.

The worst part was sitting there, stunned, trying to find something to do, something calming for me, and, however possible, helpful for the people involved. I went for the things I used to do... before, but they no longer feel relevant. I couldn't tell myself "everything is okay," or even "everything will be okay," because it isn't and it won't be. I couldn't send out thoughts to the victim like: "you are safe, god or something has you," because - No. She isn't. She isn't safe. God or love or anything will not keep her, or me, or matt, or anyone "safe," and some things are not going to be "okay." Shit things are GOING to happen. Can happen. Will happen. Could happen. Just because I believe there is a god, or an energy, or a kindness operating in ways I don't always see, does not mean everything will be okay. There is no anchor. What god or love or kindness might do is to stand there beside you while you are getting the very shit beaten out of your soul. And it won't be enough, because you are still going to be beaten.

And then, because it was late, and I was over-tired, and stressed out, I started feeling bad that I was focused on myself at all, and not concentrating all of my energy on sending out love to both of the voices I heard, waves and waves of love and whatever goodness might be lurking around. I don't even believe it, that sending love would change anything that is going to be. Sending love is all I still have, and I need it to be helpful, I need it to still change something. Anything. It has to be better than filling my mind with all sorts of horrible scenes playing out, or rehearsing all the ways I no longer believe.

I think this is the hardest, deepest - loss? just - thing? for me - I used to have such a deep faith and trust in life, and in my own core. Not that massively difficult things wouldn't ever happen, but that goodness would always be there. The context of beauty and goodness and love would always be there. I leaned on it and trusted it. Me and god had a sweet, hard-earned, collaboration. Things would always be okay, things would always go more deeply beautiful, even when events were rocky and difficult. I lived it for 38 years, 9 months, and 12 days; I saw things become more beautiful than I could have ever created on my own. I trusted it. I so much need all of that to still be true, and I don't see how it can.

I don't think I've become pessimistic - I hope not, and if I have tilted that way, I hope it doesn't stick - but I just, I struggle so deeply with how the faith I had relates to this reality, and where do I go when I am lost and needing solid ground, and there isn't any anymore. God, my friend, if you are reading this, I need more help than you think.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This was on The Widow Lady today. It has the apparently "required in all things" reference to drowning, and it is related to what I was going to post today anyway:
No, no! go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kissed
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty - Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips;
Ay, in the very temple of delight
Veiled Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

John Keats, Ode to Melancholy

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In the Hands of Love
God is working everywhere his massive Resurrection;
How can we pretend to act on our own?
In the hand of Love I am like a cat in a sack;
Sometimes Love hoists me into the air
Sometimes Love flings me to the ground.
Love swings me round and round His head;
I have no peace, in this world or any other.
The Lovers of God have fallen in a furious river;
They have surrendered themselves to love's commands.
Like millwheels they turn, day and night, day and night,
Constantly turning and turning, and crying out.

- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi

Friday, August 20, 2010

odd morning (though, for me, not really)

bo and I were at the beach. I was picking up precisely carved heart rocks. buff young man came onto the beach, and I noticed, because I am always noticing how no one is built like matt, and looking for flashes of his musculature in anyone elses'. Laughing with and to matt about all this, how if anyone looked, they'd think I was checking the guy out, but in truth, I was checking matt out, via this other physical form. The young man laid down on his towel and read his book. bo chased the ball, and I picked up rocks. A little later, the man smiled at me, and I don't even remember now what he said, but it turned into him asking me something, and I then asked what he was reading - the bible (a military field copy, at that). Interesting.

Then he asked, "would you like some company? Would you like to talk a bit?" And I was cracking up inside, this inside joke between matt and I in that moment. I crouched down next to the guy, and he said: "What is love?" Seriously. I told him I had no answer to that. He then went on for a very long time about love, mostly giving examples of what it isn't, trying to teach about what love really is. He did have a couple of good things to say, hidden in there. The whole time, I am having a conversation with matt about how odd this is, watching our dog swim, waiting for this kid to get to his point. His whole - speech - really had nothing to do with love as I know it, and I kept waiting for him to notice he wasn't exactly reaching his audience! I know he meant it all to connect with god and truth and all, but his message got a little lost. He was enthusiastic, and I'm a good listener, so he went on. Anyway. I was getting both bored and restless, and so was boris - used to having my undivided attention, and not getting it.

I stood up. The young man stood up, and said, "so are you married?" I told him. He barely touched my shoulder - and didn't say anything. He wasn't uncomfortable, just quiet. Then he spoke a little bit about being in Iraq, and what he had seen. Then, he touched my arm again to turn me towards him, and gave me this fierce, incredible hug. Calm, strong, completely rooted, solid. Holy cow. In that moment, I just felt how fiercely matt would hold on to me, how solid, in those beautiful, powerful arms. How fiercely he would hold on to me RIGHT NOW if he could. And I was laughing and crying (inside myself, not on this stranger) and saying to matt - "you found a way, didn't you. You found a way, this morning, to hold on to me." The kid would NOT let go. I went to shift away, and he held on, and said, "I will stand here as long as you need." Oh my god, how much I wanted to stay there, to pretend it was him, to be held on to.

However, boris does not stand around, and the kid is not matt. I let go. The kid started talking about war again, said just a little about god, and about jesus, quoting one of my favorite bible passages (disclaimer - one of the few I actually know). Nice. Precise stuff, this. Anyway, I also had a pretty good guess by now the kid was also hitting on me, but what the heck. He offered to walk with us on our morning loop around the parking lot, and his hitting on got more clear. Like the "long con" - working up to it. He shared quite a bit about himself - oh, such a young kid with a lot of young kid... stuff, and I was quite ready to go when we got back to the parking lot.

That was my morning. I have really wanted something too-precise-to-be-random to happen again, outside of myself, out in this physical world, something I could not possibly have created or conjured. Random invitations to talk about love, and being fiercely, fiercely held on to - not a fair trade at all, but so very very nice.  A bit weird to tell - I don't have a sense yet of what I want to share and don't, but these - tangible evidences of love touching down and being close - I like to hear them myself.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


love is our cross to bear

amen omen

in the colors

and because I heard it at a good time today...  under african skies


Chelsea posted about their dog today, and I was writing a long comment back, and then remembered that I started this blog partly so I wouldn't hosey other peoples' parlors. So:

Matt asked me just the day before he died if I could handle our dog on my own. I So Much wish I had asked him why he was asking. Instead, I said - "of course I can. I take care of him myself all the time when you're out of town." I think, if any part of him knew what was coming, he wanted to know whether having our dog would help or be too hard. boris would follow matt anywhere, the sun rose and set on that man for him. but bo was by my side in the water that day, and in the woods, and constantly now. Thank goodness. Not only is he currently the only other surviving member of our family living here with me, but he is also the reason I talk myself out of letting go of the steering wheel, during those really bad moments.

We talked about getting a dog for months before we finally did. We wanted an older dog, to give him a "really good last few years." Matt knew immediately that boris was The One. We got to the shelter, he crouched down in front of the second kennel on the right, looked at the dog, looked up at me and said, "there aren't any other dogs in here. This is the one." Man, he had great skills at that. boris was, and is now, exactly perfect for us. We adopted boris at the end of July, 2008. I have now had him longer on my own than we had him together.

A few months after M died, I called boris by one of matt's nicknames for him, and he jumped up out of a sound sleep, frantically looking around. When he realized matt wasn't there, he started whimpering, and laid back down. Oh, that sucked. He used to run up to men on the beach who were built somewhat like matt, especially if they were wearing shorts and tevas. A few feet away, he would realize they were not who he was looking for, drop his head, and run back to me. He doesn't really do that anymore, doesn't go up to pickup trucks that look like Matt's and try to get in, doesn't respond to Matt's nicknames for him. He didn't even have that much of a reaction when my step-son came for a visit, after having been away for 10 months. Not sure which is harder - the looking for matt, or the not looking for him. 

Driving to the river that morning, Matt (who had never had a dog before) asked how most dogs die. I told him I had only ever had one dog live long enough to die a natural death, and he walked off into the woods. Matt reached back to pat boris and told him, "that's how you're going to get to go buddy, walk off into the woods whenever you're ready."  The last words Matt said to me, as he was standing in the shallow part of the river, were about boris. He'd run off a bit, and I called him. Matt turned around and said, "you don't have to worry about him here, babe, he's in heaven."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


No one has tried to pretty this up for me in a long time (mostly because I avoid people and situations where it would likely happen), but Dan's post got me feeling like venting a wee. That, and seeing an old acquaintance yesterday who asked what most peoples' reactions were to me, to this, and was rather shocked when I related some of the things said.

Anything to get someone out of the moment they're in. From the "it happened for a reason," "at least you had the time you had," "at least you HAD great love. Some of us never had that,"  to the "you'll get better," you'll get better you'll get better you'll get better, you are strong and glorious, you'll survive this.... For christ sake, let shit be shit. That any of us may eventually have some beauty or peace in this life that got destroyed is absolutely irrelevant to NOW.

I may, someday, have cool titanium cheetah prosthetic running "legs," but it will always SUCK that I don't have my own legs anymore.

(not to offend anyone with double amputations, a situation I know nothing about.)

Monday, August 16, 2010


Observed mysore-style yoga practice today. Watched a man move through a series of arm balances, and had matt flash through my mind. He was so amazing to watch move. Lost it, watching this other person move, and matt not here anymore. And, it was nice to see him do those sequences again, to see him move again. And it sucked.

I hesitate to do anything that might make me have to be here a long time, or increase my odds of longevity. Matt was in awesome shape. His physical practice was important while he was here, but it didn't predict a future. You go when you go. So there is that. Awhile ago, I heard a preacher on the radio saying how only god says how long we will be here. You don't exercise to prolong your life; your longevity is none of your business. You exercise to be the best channel, the best vessel, for god you can be.

I've been avoiding running and yoga because - what if I clean up my vessel, and my core is still not there. If my "before" methods of connecting don't help, man, then I am screwed. No - honest truth, I am afraid I will make my channel clear, and my connection with matt won't be there. I'll get all strong and healthy and I won't feel him more clearly, and he will really be gone. Sh*t. Well now, that is odd to say in such a public space, but there it is, and I am going to leave it. I am considering committing to this yoga practice - a minimum of three times a week, two hour sessions, for at least a month. That is what the studio requires.  The physical challenge, I can do. It's all the rest of it. It's an experiment. I think I am okay with it, as long as I'm not inadvertently prolonging my time here by doing it. What I've got right now is - my channel is definitely clogged and stormy. I can try cleaning it up a little and see what happens. Afraid to lose more, but should probably try anyway. Clogged up vessel = pretty small chance of connection with anything; cleaned up vessel = ???

Friday, August 13, 2010


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~
(Words From Under the Words: Selected Poems)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

the blog name.

Just the day before, Matt and I were talking about Jesus in the Garden - how, even though Jesus had deep, full faith in the world around and inside this one, it still stressed him out, knowing what he had to do. Even having witnessed amazing miracles, proof of the existence of things beyond usual sight, he was still scared, and sad, and lost. Even knowing what was to come after, he still begged to not have to drink this cup.

Rumi was destroyed when his teacher, Shams, died. Well, disappeared. Shams was abducted and presumed dead. Rumi wandered the countryside, sobbing, screaming, searching. Yogananda (one of Matt's favorites) was destroyed when his teacher, Sri Yukteswar, left his physical body.  Yogananda wrote: "beneath a hollow smile and a life of ceaseless activity, a stream of black brooding polluted the inner river of bliss for which so many years had meandered under the sands of all my perceptions." Even with his faith that his teacher had joined with the cosmic beloved, even with a faith way deeper than my own, he went dark.  

With everything Rumi and Yogananda knew, everything they had learned and witnessed and experienced, they were DESTROYED with the death of the ones they loved. It was only the tangible, physical evidence of their relationship continuing that brought them back. It was only knowing, fully knowing, that their love still grew, that they could go on to finish the work they were given to do. For Yoganda, it was seeing the resurrected form of his beloved friend. For Rumi, I don't know how it happened. It's written that someone asked him if he was still looking for Shams. Rumi smiled and said, "why would I go looking for him? He is right here, inside of me."

Even with everything Matt and I believed, even with as often as we talked about "leaving at any time," even for as often as we talked about the nature of this world, even with his friendliness towards death, even after I first told him he had a nice body and he said, "thanks. It's a rental," even with the deep faith and love we had, I had, even with all of this - I was not prepared for this. If Rumi and Shams and Jesus, with their faith far beyond mine, can get stuck in the net of believing all is gone, if their own faith can be so shaken, what chance does my own faith have. It's not really a question. It has to be enough. It helps to know that stronger faith than mine got shaken, and went dark.

The Edge of the Roof 


I don't like it here, I want to go back.
According to the old Knowers
If you're absent from the one you love
Even for one second that ruins the whole thing!

There must be someone... just to find
One sign of the other world in this town
Would be enough.

You know the great Chinese Simurgh bird
Got caught in this net...
And what can I do? I'm only a wren.

(from, The Soul Is Here For Its Own Joy, Sacred Poems From Many Cultures, edited by Robert Bly. For the rest of the poem, see

what happened, what should have happened.

 I'm writing this blog because I'm starting to feel like I am missing out on a community, given that, so far, I only connect through other peoples' comments sections. I am very thankful to have found the people I have found on-line over the last year. I wish I knew you all for a completely different reason.

I don't want to tell the story again today, so here it is, as written august 3rd, 2009,   3 weeks and one day after my love died. Fifty six weeks and four days later, I still can't believe that d-word applies.

You were just right here, that day, that morning. So strong, and joyful and full of life. It’s so sudden. I can’t take the shock. No preparation – other than knowing you. No preparation to have you bodily ripped out of my life, out of our life. I have been prepared to let you go, to let you walk off into the woods, I have been prepared by your faith and your being to let go of your body, to let you be dust. But not NOW. I am not prepared NOW. I was prepared for much later in life. I was prepared for 102, though I would have let go at 100. This should be our time. And your body is gone, and it’s freaking me out. Ridiculous. You and I go out for breakfast, then head to the river. You show me whirlpools, and are so excited to be in the woods and the water at the same time. You play with the dog. You set up our chairs. Then, you tell me this is heaven for him, and you walk into the river. You cough, you cough, I don’t help, and you drown. JUST LIKE THAT. JUST LIKE THAT. We are in the middle of life, and just like that, you drown. Over.

And the fireworks in my life blow up, everything up until that moment explodes.

The shock is intense. Seeing your perfectly strong body, knowing your skills and your strength, I cannot imagine you drowning; I can’t imagine you not being free, not coming out, not popping back up. I can’t wrap my mind or my heart around that piece. That suddenly, suddenly – suddenly, my love could be gone. The very long blink of an eye, because it wasn’t that fast. Or were those minutes? Like when we used to say that the night stretches out for those who need it? When you wake up in the middle of the night, and it just seems interminable, it’s because someone needed the extra time. Did time slow down like that?

I can’t handle you not here. The truck is in the driveway. It has to go to Andrew today. I know it is just a truck. Not as personal as your body. But it is one huge reminder that you are gone, and you are not coming home right now, not in this body, not to my body. You won’t be here to comfort me, the way I see it all play out: I jumped in the water to save you, and you had just gone under to let the current take you to the shore. You popped back up in the trees, and called for a little help getting out. You were gasping, but held me back with one hand up to let me know you just needed a minute, and you would be okay. I called 911, just to be sure you were safe and had the oxygen you need. And you would be hanging over at your waist, breathing hard. I would have to call boris to me, because he keeps dropping the ball at your feet. And then you sit down. And once you are safe, I start crying. You are a little freaked out, but you are breathing, you are calming yourself down. The dog lies down too. I pull it together, though, see, because you need me to be calm while you recover. It’s later, after the medics come and see that you are fine, and I am driving you home, that you put your hand on my knee and say “Sorry to scare you like that babe.” And I start crying so hard I have to pull over. But you are with me, and you are crying too, because it was scary. But we are together. We go home and sit quiet. You tell me you need to go off for a meditation alone. And when you return, we go to bed, and hold each other, and make love, and we both cry again – to be alive, to be holding each other, knowing we had come so close, so close to this other life. This one. This one that I have now.