Tag Archives: grief

Gathering Ghosts

Some days I feel like a haloed reaper. I carry memories and tears like wings on a gargoyle. Frozen outstretched emotions of guilt that no longer feather air. Just a concrete memory that I wish I could paint back to life.

It’s time that ticks off the emotions. Weather, seasons, darkness all come like lightening. Unexpected flashes of childhood folly or adult dramas playing out as a reminder. I wonder at the places they’ve traveled in spirit; do they know?

I wonder if life in spirit is more colorful than life in body. Does pain dissipate like myst in the spirit, or does it choke you like smoke. Are you smiling down on my naïveté or cynical about my faults. Either way you speak to my understandings in a way I can’t describe and you can’t communicate.

These friends of mine aren’t “up there”. They’re everywhere I remember. Breakfast tables, playgrounds, even the train tracks we romped. I listen to us on the radio and silently hope you would approve, but in the end I am reminded you had your own ghosts.

So to carry these people and places around is an honor. I’m still here creating my ghost. Hoping I can leave the trace of an unknown smile, or a tear in a rear view mirror. I hope I can create a space where yesterday and today come together without the burden of tomorrow. A space where my loved ones can carry with them a moment in the sound of rubber in asphalt. Until then, I’ll carry Ya’all in the summer breeze and winter storm with the same warmth you’ve given me.

Joaquin

I visited an old friend today thinking about life and where he lay. My friend was a giant man, too big for a poem, too humble for an essay, and too real for a bi line. My friend was real and alive within my memories.

I wasn’t as good a friend as he. It came to him naturally. He called me to check in, I called him for advice. He invited me into his family, I visited with him when I could. He genuinely cared for me while I appreciated all his advice. He saved part of me and I admired all of him.

I miss him now instead of then
Now all I have is remember when. From explaining the construction application of the formula for a square to how to deal with displaced children; he always had a sound answer. Now the echoes of his sentiment reverberate through my life.

A friend is someone you don’t see for a while, then hear their voice and suddenly smile. I pass his resting place everyday and know that he has found his way. I’m a better man for knowing my friend and now I have a hand to lend.

He wasn’t a poem, an essay or bi line; he was something bigger, a friend of mine!

Imprints

This memory isn’t mine. It’s from a wonderful person who lost love in a tragedy. I was fortunate enough to share moments with her where we explored each other’s drama, trauma, and loss. Two very different situations that allowed us to work through issues of loss, grief, and all the other situations that arise when we don’t understand what we are going through, and worst of all being alone. I understand friendship now, thanks Babe!!!!

Imprints,
Life was lucid while you were here, but your memory is vivid. I see the imprint of your spirit in every configuration of this living room I attempt. I can move the new couch, move the TV, even readjust the new photos; but I still wait for you to walk down that hallway with a smile and smart ass comment.

I still take sideways glances at where I found you. The couch is gone, like you, but the imprint of you sitting there in the shadows of the TV glow won’t go away. I see myself standing where I expect you to walk through. I see myself talking on the phone that I can’t remember where I got it from. I see myself frustrated at the 911 operator while I pound your chest. Then you’re gone and my last memory of us makes this house a grave site now. I don’t feel you at the cemetery, I feel you here.

The problem is that the house died with you. The silence reminds me of how loud your presence was. How alive we were even when we were just being a family. I can’t look out the window without seeing your memory cutting grass or playing with the boys. That was silent noise that made me smile.

We were supposed to grow old together. Now you left me with why? When you passed it wasn’t the ending, it was a beginning. The beginning of why, the beginning of my dreams, our dreams raining down like ash from a volcano. Now I realized I died that day also. I had to say goodbye to us, and the me I dreamt of for so many years. So who am I now. I’ve tried changing what I’d do and how I think, but all it does is remind me of why I’m changing, you!

Everyone tried to erase you for me, I was confused. I didn’t want you gone and now I was supposed to forget. So I ran. I ran from us, I ran from you, and all the fears and doubts of life without dreams. But I could never run far enough. You stayed with me like an imprint of us that masked every single dream I could muster. I saw you in everyone I saw and everything I did.

Now I’m exhausted to the point of numbness and I realize I just need to face you and take your smiles and smart ass comments with me as an anchor to a new life. A life that is clear of pain and hurt. A life with a new identity, I can’t be your widow anymore, I have to be me. And all those voices in the background that judge me, or know what’s good for me; well I’ve spent a little too much time alone to believe them anymore. This is something I have to do, for me.

I never dealt with you and it took three years to come to that wall. I realize now trying to erase you, get rid of the things that reminded me of you was stupid. You were never stuff, you were real and a part of me and all those folks with their intentions, good or bad, were wrong. Some were also traumatized while others were dramatized, but neither were really capable of helping me.

So there I lay that night with our two boys stunned into a place that no one could understand. I looked at those boys and felt the weight of you being gone not even understanding what that meant till today. People judged me, asked me if I realized my husband just died because of how I acted. Hell yeah I understood, I understood I just failed at life saving measures on a husband that was gone and now I’m mad as hell that no one understands shit and just wants me to be better so things can get back to normal. It seemed some folks were more concerned about my job as a nurse than how I was doing and what my plans were. Nobody hugged me that night that I remember, except my boys who shared tears they didn’t even understand either. I just needed to be hugged but everyone needing me to be someone I would never be again.

I realized right in the very seconds I was performing CPR with all my might and no results, no matter how hard I pumped your chest at attempts to make your heart beat…still nothing…trying to breathe life into your body…no air would pass through to your lungs…Just gurgling sounds…Tried everything I knew…attempted clearing your mouth and throat of fluids with our babies blue bulb syringe that was within hands reach and attempted breathing life into your mouth again…still nothing….All the while I’m yelling and screaming at you and screaming at the EMS lady on the phone and pumping as hard as I could…still nothing!!

EMS arrives and I am still pumping with hope that you would just breathe and wake up…they place pacer pads on and just watched as the flat line goes across the screen…everyone just standing there…not doing anything to save you…This angered me!

When you left everyone seemed to become spectators. Folks may think i distanced myself, but it seemed to me everyone just left me with their ideas of what I should do to forget everything and move on. Everyone gave their opinions on how I should feel when in fact they had no idea and could not even fathom how I felt inside. My best friend, my first and only lover, my husband, my secret keeper, my strength, my protector, my whole world, laying lifeless on the floor cold and blue while my babies at ages 3 yrs and 15 months were sleeping in their beds only to wake up to never seeing, hearing, touching, or feeling love from their daddy again!

This was real for me…damn it…you’re gone…This wasn’t suppose to happen…we were suppose to be old together when this happened….Our family we planned so strategically was lost. Our children were suppose to be grown and off in college doing amazing things with their lives from all we had planned to teach them.

Moving on couldn’t help. I just needed someone to be quiet, hold me, and listen to me think and allow me to process. While everyone saw grief and work scheduling. I saw bills that were behind, daycare costs that I didn’t have and a two little boys who needed mommy to figure it out. I understand the few folks that were close to us were also devastated. But that don’t get rid of a lonely feeling that turns to fear.

Alot of shit happened in a short amount of time. I listened to people and tried to forget, but in the end it turned out to be running. Now I’m here 3 years later staring at the same bowl that sat next to you full of peaches surrounded by the imprints of our life. I haven’t been able to make us a memory yet, cause I tried to forget when and what I should have remembered and remembered what I should have forgotten!

So here I am again at another new horizon. Probably a place I should have been earlier, but i had to take my route here. Others may have taken another road, but this is my life, my journey. I can’t leave you behind. Every smile and smart ass comment your boys make remind that we were once a bundle of love. We had our problems and our faults, but we had our family and my pictures affirm that only death could have taken that.

If you’re reading this and you were traumatized. I’m sorry, I know he was a charismatic character who affected many people when he passed. I appreciate whatever you tried to do, right or wrong. If you were dramatized and found yourself following my healing and enjoying the ups and downs of a widow; well you are gonna be disappointed now that I’m healed enough to move foreword. You’ll have to find someone else’s pain to lift you up. If you didn’t care one way or the other and thought it was just another tragedy, you missed the chance to be part of one hell of a love story that never ends, and I’m traveling with him in my heart to some wonderful places you’re not invited. The love that he had for me and his boys is stamped on my soul and the imprint of us is forever,

Yours Truly,
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