Saturday, April 16, 2011

730 Days

Written on April 15, 2011

729 days and 22 hours ago…

we were dancing in his room.

We were drinking beer, watching American Idol

and eating.

I can’t remember what.

We were laughing together,

his sister, his best childhood friend, my friend and I.

And then one of us would look at him,

and cry.

I tried to forget all of that today.

I told myself that I will “ignore” tomorrow.

I had decided that I would ignore this anniversary.

The 730th day.

730 days since my life


became Jell-O under my feet,

since it ended up on a different life plane.

And those memories of the last hours of his life

can’t be stopped.

I tried eating my way into ignorance.

I tried drinking my way past them.

And yet, there they are,

those pointy edges,

those fragments of memory,

pricking me,

making me bleed tiny little droplets


as I bleed out,

in comes the physical response to the grief.

My spine aches,

my eyes feel prickly.

I feel fuzzy, unclear and surreal.

Just like I did 729 days ago.

I am filled with the same joy too. It was us, the four of us there, in our cocoon. The world stopped at the hospital door. Those three were there with me, we were there to help him leave this life. It was beautiful those last hours.

His leaving so black, so unknowing. Sarah McGloughlin reminding me to:

“Hold on.

Hold on to yourself.

This is gonna hurt like hell.”

I remember the nurse telling me that I wasn’t cooping well.

And I yelling at her, “I know I’m not cooping. My husband is dying! Now get him more morphine!”

I remember all of it

It pours into me.

There is no stopping it, no deciding to ignore it.

So I sit still

Let the tears come in their sporadic, unpredictable rhythm,

dropping down my cheek and onto my shirt.

I use my hands to swipe at them, smearing the wetness onto the back of my hands then onto my cheeks and then my pants or the bed duvet cover. Tissues …I can’t. Placing something clean and white under my eye to safely contain the grief feels absurd.

Grief is messy and wet and unpredictable.

I want these tears to represent all of it.

And then I want to cry not just to honor what has been lost,

but what




I can’t be one without the other.

730 days.

730 days.

730 days.

730 days.

To be followed by 731.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Sex, Sensuality and Sadness

Sex. I’ve been thinking about it lately.
And I really miss it. I miss the animal-ness of having another sweaty body pressed down against mine, the sounds, the smell.

I miss being openly desired, I miss teasing, I miss all the foreplay that comes before. I miss being sexy. I miss being a sensual woman.

And I find myself unsure if I even know how to be sensual outside of him.

I know I don’t have to be. After all I’m a widow. Good widows don’t crave sex. Good widows don’t take about that need. Good widows move forward but do so looking back and sighing. Good widows leave their best years behind them, and walk bravely into the future. Good widows don’t talk about their “toys” either.

Sometime when people ask me how I’m doing I want to say, in a pleasant soft voice with a sweet smile, “I’m horny as hell and really want to get laid.”

I’m a shitty “good” widow.

But it’s not just about the sex. It’s about the desire to be desirable. It’s about having a man openly want me, it’s about my wanting him back.

It’s about being sensual and here is where I struggle. For all of our sex, for all the times we made love, I can’t say that I was ever sensual, I mean really, really comfortable enough to be sensual with Art.

And I’m scared.
Art’s death has splayed me open…. I am raw to the touch, to any emotional breeze. And in a weird way I feel the fool. Foolish for laying there letting anyone see me.

And yet in the fear strangely comes courage and the desire to use my second chance to embrace what I have always wanted to be but been too afraid to try.

It’s the bravery I turn into Sensuality here in Cancun. I love the word, it captures it’s meaning in its pronunciation.

I have dared myself to practice being sensual this whole trip. And in doing so I try to see my body the way Art did: beautiful, soft, curvy and expressive. It’s difficult to ignore the familiar, mean, internal messages. “Your thighs are too big. You have too much cellulite. And good Lord, whatever you do don’t lean over! Your three child stomach skin will hang down like elephant ears.”

My sensuality fights to stay present, in front of me.

On the beach, I study other woman from other places like Brazil and Atlanta. I watch them move in tiny bathing suits with bellies and thighs and bosoms that are the complete opposite of the waif thin I think I should be. And I watch the sensuality float around them, magnifying their sexiness.

I want that. I want to dip myself in it. I want to be amplified. I want to see what Art saw in my body. He didn’t see the stretch marks, cellulite, the wrinkled belly, or the saggy small breasts.

All he saw in that single minded male way was a woman, who he loved with breast that were just right, with a belly that was curvy in all the right places, soft, expressive and holy delicious to look at, to kiss, to stroke.

With those thoughts, Sadness creeps in. There is a man on this trip that I’m interested in. It will be a one night stand. And suddenly standing next to this man, I am lost, not sure how to do this or even if I want to. I am scared I will do something “wrong.” I am still splayed open. I feel unattractive and needy and fuck….vulnerable.

It is here that I see for now, I am trapped between my dead husband and a world that is out there. A world I see and occasionally venture into but for most of the time it waits for me to figure out how I want to engage in it.

And with that, the sensuality is gone. I am a widow. A scared, lost, confused widow. Not sure what to do or how to do it.

I've been here before. I'll figure it out.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ugly and Forgiveness

This is post from March 26, 2010
I've been going back to find myself, to ground this experience, to find a way to mark the growth, the good changes and all the challenges I have overcome.
I'm been going back to find courage.

This is what the post said.

“He’s in our thoughts and prayers.”

“We are sending a blanket of love.”

Those are words I read today about a boy, who like Art is

battling his second round of cancer.

He’s doing a better job than Art did

and I’m NOT doing a better job at begin gracious.

Instead, when I read those words of love

And support

Ms. Cynic thinks

“Save your breath!”

“Those good thoughts and prayers

Don’t work.

If they did,

I wouldn’t be writing this column.”

Silly, stupid, people.


That boy died earlier morning on Friday, March 26.

The grief sucked me down its whirlpool, shame followed

And anger was fast on its heels.

Only this time, I bobbed to the surface

Before I got too much water up my nose.

The whirlpool didn’t take me down as far and I am not as disoriented.

I cry because I know where his mom will go.

I know the journey of loss

and the idea of someone I know walking it

Makes me scream myself raw

and punch trees

and crumble to the floor and say

“Why her? Why her?”

Brooks….I’m sorry.

I wanted those silly, stupid people to be right.

I really wish they had been right.


I re-read these words and at first, I feel shame

and then oddly

it is followed by forgiveness.

In the wake of the last few months

I have learned to forgive myself.

To forgive myself for:

not calling his doctor sooner,

for not convincing him to try alternative treatments

for not singing to him the moment he died

for not being too tired on Saturday to visit him so I could have alerted the doctors sooner

for not waiting to hold the memorial service so our friends from across the country could attend

for not kissing him on the lips after he died

for not staying in bed for days and days and days like I really think I should have

for not playing the widow part good enough

for not being more loving to him when he was around the last few months

for not being kinder to stupid people

for trying so hard to please all those around because somehow I felt their attention was unworthy

for it all

for crying too much or not crying enough

for my anger


the list goes on.

In his death, I found my humanity and my imperfections.

In his death, I have discovered that it's not my fault.

In his death, I have discovered myself.