Wednesday, September 14, 2011

rivers and tides

My son went to visit some of his old high school teachers today. Some of them didn't know his dad died. I don't know how they missed it, though he had graduated and school was done for the summer when it happened. Anyway. On being asked how his dad was, J told the teacher that his dad had drowned, and the teacher was shocked - that it happened, and that one of his students had just drowned in the same river this weekend. It's a long river, and I knew instantly where the student's death had happened. J. insisted it happened in the same place as his dad, but I know the sound of his voice when he starts making up parts of a story to sound even more dramatic. I just now looked it up: different part of the river, miles and miles apart. But still, same river. Google search also listed another news story of drowning that happened this weekend just up the coast from here - a man swept out to sea, his 4 friends stranded on a rock, after being hit by a large wave. And all I can think is - this is supposed to be rare. Drowning is supposed to be rare.


Saturday, September 10, 2011


one of those days
where the number hits me
a glimpse of what
two years is
in the outside world
how is that possible it has been
over two years
you have been gone,
since you have been


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

not a victory march

I was already going to post this, and then I remembered that Jeff Buckley drowned.


Monday, September 5, 2011

the old guy


There is an old man who lives up the road from me. Every day, we pass each other, each on our respective morning walks - me with Boris, the old guy on his own. At first we just walked past. Then there was a nod of recognition, followed months later by "good morning." Lately there has been a "how are you" spoken as we walk by. Today as I was walking up the hill, the old man, coming down the hill, pointed at me and smiled. "You and I, we seem to run into each other a lot, don't we."

"Every day," I said.

"How are you today honey?"

"I'm alright," I lied. Completely lied. I have already spent most of the morning crying, and just now got it together enough to get outside with Bo. "And you? How are you today?"

"Well," the old guy shifted and smiled. "I get out, I'm moving and walking around. That's what counts, that's what is each day, that is what I have."

I feel my eyes well up at this. Thank goodness my sunglasses are quite large. We are somehow still walking in slow opposite directions and yet standing close.

Then he asks, "are you married?"

I choke. "I'm widowed," I manage to say, though I am clearly crying now - I can feel tears rolling down my cheeks, caught by the lower rim of my glasses.

"Oh honey. Oh honey I am sorry to hear that."

"Me too," I said.

"You take each day, you take it by each day. That is all you can do."

It's a blur now, how that ended, how that moment passed. I think we were already passing each other as he asked the question that got him that response. By the time I said thank you and half turned away, I already had tears breaking through the containment of my sunglasses, dripping off their edge.


a photo for HBPG


Thursday, September 1, 2011


It used to be, in the Before, if I was feeling stressed or anxious, I could look around at my reality and root myself in it. Sweetheart, look: everything is fine. If it is ever not fine, you will deal with that then. My go-to way of calming down, of finding an anchor, is irrelevant and suspect now. I cannot look around and say that anything is fine. Reality is crazy. Reality is wrong.

Lately, I've been feeling completely upside-down, confused, waking up thinking this has all been a dream - really, not just wishful thinking - I'm forgetting where I am and where I've been. It's a bit like the early days: I leave myself notes to remember what day it is and what time I am supposed to be somewhere; I find myself thinking it's morning when Boris and I are out for an afternoon walk. I start to answer a question I've been asked and feel like I'm not making any sense. Part of all this mind muddledness is trauma, part of the picture of trauma. There are also lots of changes going on, new stressors, new uncertainties. I've started working full time hours for the first time in two years. But the biggest most huge thing of course is that this life is utterly entirely unreal. It's insane. It's not logical. It can't be real. Everyone going on about their lives, sun comes up, sun goes down, tra la la, it all just happens, and excuse me, but are you aware that matt DIED? It has been over two years I have lived in this insane reality. Of course I'm f-ing nuts.

I don't know why it's worse this week. The confusion and sense that I'm asleep and dreaming this has been so intense. The weirdness of the world, the discordance of all of everything - it's all just getting me. National Public Radio plays all day in the barn, so I hear more news in a day than I usually do in a month or more. Between the news stories on bath salts and reality tv in the Netherlands, I'm starting to feel like I'm living in a Jasper Fforde novel. No wonder I can't seem to get a grip on anything; the world's gone totally squiffy.