Saturday, May 26, 2012


This morning, I was thinking of the movie Fierce Grace. It's the story of Ram Dass in his post-stroke life. I was thinking of the a-hole behavior he showed in one of the scenes, what a jerk he showed himself to be. But then I remembered a letter he wrote that was also part of that film. I saw this a couple of years ago and had rather forgotten about this part. Oh how I needed this today. Awesomeness.

Hope it helps for you today too.


Sunday, May 20, 2012


(reposting again. I needed it.)

I just came back from meeting a retired minister who has a beautiful farm. She lives near my folks, and has heard what happened. I went to meet her goats. I will admit I had some – expectations. I expected to meet the animals. I expected to be invited to tour the place, to check out the grounds. I expected to maybe be invited in for tea. I expected that, if I brought it up, she would have something wise or comforting to say, something about god and life and love. She did not. I met the goats. We talked for a few minutes. She did not mention god at all, and the only thing she had to say about love is that I will find someone else, that Matt would expect me to, that she has heard my mother talk about him, and she knows what he would want. And she reminded me that the cycle of life goes on. Really? Years as a minister, and this is the best you can do? Tell me I will love someone else, eventually, as though that is my main concern right now? “Oh dear, oh dear, when will I have someone else who is not the man I am actually still in love with, who I watched drown in front of me just 8 months ago?” The best you can do is tell me what someone you have never met would want for me, as though I myself wouldn’t know? I realize I expected her, as a minister, to “know better.” I expected her to be able to stand there with me, even as a nearly complete stranger, and – I don’t know – ask. Ask about god, ask about faith. Ask about love. Wonder with me about how this will unfold, in god’s will. Not give me useless, pandering platitudes about what great things await me “in the future,” and how life will always go on.

WHY is it that so many people feel that the best way to comfort me now is to tell me I will not always feel this way, that I will move on, that Matt would want me to, that I will have someone else, that I should remember the “cycle of life” and realize all is as it should be. Clueless people. Ignorant, stupid, innocent people. The person I planned on spending my life with just died. And the best thing you can come up with is that he is replaceable, and to look at how the daffodils come up. Nice. I am not stupid. I have not suddenly become daft to the knowledge that “life goes on” – oh look – the seasons are changing! Huh, life must go on then. How could I have been so unaware? Why have I been so upset?

This is the recurring theme: Quick! She’s in pain! Let’s talk her out of it. Let’s tell her things will be better someday. Let’s remind her to be grateful for what she had. Let’s tell her how smart and funny and kind she is. And let’s be sure, because we know it is weighing her down, to reassure her that someone other than the man she loves will eventually be beside her, snoring softly, waking up to kiss her good morning, rolling back over to have five more minutes while she gets up to walk the dog so he can sleep. Great. Bring it on. Thanks so much for your kind words. You’ve really relieved my suffering, with all this trying to talk me out of it.

The people I love, the ones I will go to again and again, are the ones who do not in any way try to “solve” this for me, or fix it, or fix me. They do not make any attempt to cheer me up, or shame me into feeling thankful that I had as much love as I did, and so should be happy with that. They do not tell me things will be better “later,” and that I have so much to live for. They do not remind me I am part of the cycle of life. Pandering, condescending crap. I know. I know you do not know what to say, and you are fumbling, and trying to be helpful. You hope against hope, inside your own hearts and minds that I will actually “be happy” again, that I will “find someone else,” that I will “recover,” because then there is hope for you. Then you have evidence that you would survive this if it ever happened to you. Oh look – love survives. It’s okay. Everything will be okay.

Please. Please stop it. I know pain is hard to witness and hard to tolerate. Please stop telling me what you think I should hear. Please stop telling me about later, stop telling me about my glorious future, that Matt expects and wants me to have. Please stop pointing out how life goes on. Stop. I am here. Now. Do not tell me about “later.” That completely ignores my “now.” What happens or does not happen “later” is irrelevant. Stop assuming you know what my deepest fears are; stop trying to calm those assumed fears for me. Stop telling me, as though you have the answers, as though there are any answers. Please. Stop telling me. Ask first. And I don’t mean “ask me what I need.” I mean – ask. Ask what this is like for me, ask before you make an assumption about what is real for me. Ask before you jump right in with your solutions to things that are not problems for me. Or, simply stand here, right here, in this present moment, not telling me how much better it will be later. You can’t make this better by trying to take the present away from me. If you must say something, you could wonder with me, about god, about love, about life. Wonder is good.

I am so disappointed in the goat-raising minister. Not her fault, really. She has not walked this road. She has no idea. I do resent the “I know better than you” condescension, but I’m sure she didn’t hear herself that way. No one actually thinks they are being clueless – that is the definition of it, clueless. I am trying to be kinder to people who have good intentions, to be more understanding of them, instead of railing against them in my mind (and sometimes on paper). It is not her job, even as a farming, goat-raising minister, to live up to my expectations. But I am disappointed. I guess I expected her to wonder with me, without thinking she knew the answers. I expected her to ask - How do any of us live in this life that can change so quickly, without any warning at all? How do we move with all the love that is here, that is inside us, that is still present, even though the form has changed? How do we continue to be the person they love, the people we knew ourselves to be, in this new form, this new life? What kind of beautiful form can this take, this love we know?

There aren’t answers to these things. But asking the questions, rhetorical as they may be, is infinitely more helpful, more healing, then anything someone can tell me. Just being with now is infinitely more respectful, loving, and kind than anything you can tell me about what you think I should do, or how you think I should feel, or what you imagine my future to be. I live in my life, I am far more intimate with its contours than you, and even I don’t know what will unfold. You are most helpful when you stand with me, without changing it, without fixing it, without making assumptions. It is okay to not have any answers. Please. Ask, don’t tell. Be clueless with me. Wonder is a very good thing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Today has been a pretty darn good day.

First, I posted some old writing of mine (see below), and it felt nice. I miss writing. I mean, writing about things other than this.

I quit my job. Finally. It went well. I will need to reiterate it most likely, but that is nothing. No problem. It's the initial "I quit" that was tough. Clarifying the whole "I'm done now, which means I won't be coming in after next week" thing I can say a hundred times a day if need be.

I also got in touch with the licensing board to see about getting my clinical license back. I have no interest at all in sitting with clients again, and frankly, I don't know that I could even do it. But if I have to do something for income, it is going to be well paid and not destroy my body or suck up all my time.

The demo cd is done, delivered, and I have just now heard that round one is completed - I got an "I like this a lot, and would like to share it with my team."  It has now gone on to phase two. I am so freaking excited about that. And, massively massively proud of myself.

And. And.

And I so much wish you were here my love. I so much wish you were here.


non sequitur

posting this,  fiction written in the far Before, because I just need to step out of the After for a moment.

It was always the same. Driving this regular route, broad highways to brick lined streets, day in, day out, delivering: papers, notes, cards. The same boxes, same people, same rhythm, just me and the truck at the end of the day. Life in monotone. Then, in that straight white routine, a ray of sunshine, of brightness, blazed through. The first time was the best, the most amazing. It changed everything. There I was, unloading boxes in the regular way. I looked up because the light had moved, and there she was. Electric. Blue eyes – such blue eyes – and she smiled so brightly. I’ve never fumbled with boxes before. But that first time, all the towers of my world came crashing down, electrified by her. I thought I was sure and steady, but she has shown me that I am not, that I really never have been, it’s all been waiting for her. Waiting for the colors to change.

Later, that same first day, I watched her through the window as she sat in a cafe on my route, curled on the couch with her tea. Again, that same light smile, the same blue eyes, bursting through the contours of my life. Listen – I don’t even sound like me. She makes me think in poetry. I don’t even recognize my mind when I see her sitting there. She hasn’t seen me every time, but I’ve seen her. I’d like to say I don’t know how many times, but that’s a lie. It’s been thirty-seven days, before today. I’d even like to pretend I don’t dream of her and her electric blue, but the truth is, she wakes me up. Just last week, driving the velvet wet roads in the night, I heard her whisper, saw her face pull up behind my eyes. It was only then I realized I’d been drifting, letting the long lanes lull me into sleep. She saved me. Her vision kept me alive. Like she already loves me. Why else would she smile that way, show up in my dreams? She has to love me. It’s in her eyes. And she smiles, not like a stranger, but like a friend, a long lost part of me I hadn’t known I’d lost.

Every day, I walk past, glancing at her spot on the couch. Today it is empty. Steadying myself in her absence, something makes me look, makes me turn around. There. Sitting alone at a table, she looks up just as I look in. My face breaks into a huge-ass grin, the blue of her eyes fills the world. Before I can stop myself, I’m in, through the door, crashing past the glass that keeps her from me. I rush to her, arms extended, hand extended, reaching out. She clears her throat, looks up from her pot of tea. She reaches her hand out to mine and I stutter, stammer my way through hello.

“Intimate strangers,” I say when my tongue calms down to clear. “Sean,” I show her, pointing at the name patch on my jacket. Dork. Oh my god, I’m such a dork. Of course she can see my name. But there’s that smile again, the deep blue eyes alive, I’ve never seen such eyes. Like the sky at mid-day in Spring.

“It’s snowing down south. That’s where I’m from. I mean, everyday. I live in New Hampshire, but my truck is in Mass and it was covered in snow, so it’s coming.” Wow. Brilliant. Crap.
She smiles. Says she’s excited for snow.

“Well,” I hop from one foot to the next. “Uh, it might get slippery, so be careful walking, when you’re walking or wherever.”

How can I not laugh? How can I not lift her up and kiss her, hold her smiling face next to mine? Thank her for the many nights she, herself, has kept me alive, kept me company. Doesn’t she know? She must send herself to me. No one smiles like that except on purpose. She’s smiling at me now, waiting. I’ve been quiet, grinning, no idea how long. What should I say?

Someone has come in behind me, I can tell by the way she moves her head, how she shifts in her seat. She looks just past my ear and smiles again, that splitting searing blue. I flinch and look over my shoulder. Another man, small, non-descript, nothing special. Not like me. But he gets my smile. My twinkling blue. Without changing the look in her eyes, without shifting her smile, she looks back to me. I’ve lost her. How many weeks I have wanted her, longed for her, kept myself warm with her eyes, the secret smile only for me. I thought she knew me. It isn’t true. She isn’t mine. My blue life-line is a lie.

A slithering violence crashes in my chest. Politely I cough goodbye, and maybe even “see you around.” The world goes dark. I have to escape. The boxes. I’ll go back to the boxes. White, clean, square. Solid. Back to the towers I’ve built. It’s all okay it’s all okay it’s all okay. I will speak no more poetry. She beams that same shattering smile as I back out stuttering, pushing past the man who has stolen her, the man who receives her eyes. Outside, the snowstorm has begun. Cold pellets burn out the sun. Stumbling to the truck, I am blinded; there is only white, and there has never been blue.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

2 to 3

I'm not sure where I lost the numbers. I'm not sure if today is the 2 year and ten month mark, or if, by day, that was last sunday. I don't know if it is the sunday before the 13th, or if it is the sunday closest to the 12th or if it matters one bit, which it doesn't.

I know I woke up so many times in the night just wanting you here. Wanting to hear your voice, sleepy and low, wanting to just be f-ing normal and go down to the coffee shop and have tea and toast, to have our feet intertwined under the table, holding hands while our faces are each hidden behind our sections of the newspaper. I just want you back. I miss you. I hate this. I just want you back.


Thursday, May 10, 2012



Noticing this morning how it feels like I have you back. I mean, not literally, though I would love to wake up and find this was all just a dream. But I mean - and there aren't really words for it - but I feel like I used to with us. Lighter. Goofier. And being that, I feel like I know and feel and remember You. You as you were. Our life. Somehow, you don't feel so removed from me.

Walking our dog in the rain this morning, I was singing the zombie love song we were working on. It's a good song. Thought - ha. It would have been a great song to sing at your funeral; very fitting and funny. But then the thought on the heels of that one: I couldn't have done it, of course. I think my comment about being invited to your death was the better one. A sucker punch today, but I keep on singing anyway.

Progress, change, differentness. That I can feel humor and light, and that it brings me even closer to you.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I wish you were here to celebrate with me. To be proud of me. Yes, even to tease me a little, and you totally would. I wish we had visited my friend K in the Before. You two would have had so much to talk about. His wife and I would have been off talking about plants and medicine, and the two of you would have been out in the recording studio. You would have learned so much and loved it.

K is doing the sound mastering on the demo program. We haven't actually spoken in 24 years. But there are some people who are just always your friend, you know? Right. Like your friend who I called the day After, and she answered the phone, "MATTY!" and I had to say no. No. I am so sorry. I am so sorry to have to tell you this. I told her how you'd said that if you didn't see her for ten years, you'd still consider her a good friend, that your relationship was just like that. I'm glad I had something to share with her. For everyone I called, I tried to have some memory to share with them, some time you had mentioned them to me. I don't even really remember that blur, the people I had on my list, your son having the other half of your phonebook to call. I only remember her, and now don't even remember her name. But anyway, I think of this as I am talking to K, when I tell him how we are always friends, even 24 years between hearing the others' voice.

You would have loved him babe, and he, you. But for now, he is the first person I have shared this project with. It is so sweet and so good to feel loved like this, to have such tangible, actual support. So often, I am in my own mind, finding my own way, garnering my own support. It's interesting to hear his feedback about me, about my voice and my words, to hear some things echoed that I heard in the Before. It is weird to know I'm still here, even in this, with this.

Well, now I am just rambling. Normal for me, I know. I wish you were here to celebrate with me, be proud of me, tease. And I wish I could hear the recordings you and K got to make in the recording studio and give you that same pride and celebration. I never was much of a teaser.


Friday, May 4, 2012


I was looking for a little music to use as the intro for the demo I'm working on. I didn't find any music in my computer library, but I did find - when I clicked on the file marked "unknown album" - the audio recording of a session I had with a medium a year ago. I had no idea it was on there, and have no memory of loading it on the computer, though clearly I did. But to find it, to hear it suddenly - well hello there love. Hi. I'm so glad you're here.