Dear Departure,

My world doesn’t make as much sense without you in it, like I’ve been left to finish a game without knowing the rules. Death is so many things, but mostly it feels unfair and impossible. A reality in which you don’t exist to love us as fiercely as you did, doesn’t feel like reality at all. There was so much more for you to show me, wisdom you so readily imparted on me throughout my life. You have left me to navigate the winding unchartered paths alone – without the light of your wisdom.  All of our worlds were being held together with bricks you laid so carefully, gently, with purpose and love. These walls are quickly crumbling and I don’t know how to get a grasp on a proper adhesive to hold them up.

You would know. You could have told me.

You’ve taken a piece of my heart with you. It beats differently now in the absence of your voice, your warmth, your embrace. I just wish you’d known it was already yours – because you loved me, because you loved others who loved me. Your love transcends and transfers from one life to the next. I want so desperately to be present with you, sipping coffee on your porch looking out across the California or Texas sky.  One last bear hug or cup of coffee or kiss in my ear. I wish to feel your love wash over me again for even a moment, knowing full well it would never be enough.

What will I do when your footprints wash away and scent fades from your sweaters? For now my sleep is stalked by vivid dreams of you and me together again, as if you had never left my side; the memory of you bursting with all the colors I always saw you in. I will hold onto the memory I’ve constructed of you in my mind, for as long as I can, because it’s all that I have. But when the day comes, when the vibrancy of you has drifted and the imprint fades – well, I dread that day with all the heart that I have left.

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Proof

Dragging cold graphite across balmy skin

never leaving its mark, too light to be seen with any contrast

Oh how the fine point curls and crawls

as it struggles to make an indent

Applying pressure, looking for a kind of proof

that will carry on

Showing, without a shadow of a doubt —

something was there.

A Natural State

An acquaintance with nature and the outside world is something so easily taken for granted. Surrounded by trees towering at seemingly boundless heights, I am reminded of my childhood and the time I spent every moment possible exploring the natural world. There is still so much of that in me now. Where I once found imagination and playful adventure, I now discover peace and wonder at the world around me that simply exists, without the tampering or meddling of the many chaotic complexities we apply to our lives. A kind of worship unfolds under the canopies of trees, on the shores of lakes and oceans, in the quiet of a meadow hidden away – far from the constructed noise that surrounds us day in and day out.

I feel an immense gratitude for simplicity; for the gift of being able to step outside my thoughts, the loudness of worry, insecurity, uncertainty – and just be. There is no room for judgement here, just the open arms of the breeze, the sun coming up over the mountains, sweet songs of birds echoing from all directions. A part of me comes from this place, is born here and desires to surrender for however long I’m welcome.

The After

Someday –

I will find you here, in the place where
you now stay and will remain forever.

The after, and the before.
the accessible and the invisible.
You appear to me
and I am reminded that you
are a figment of my heart
willing your presence to be
as tangible as you always were.

This is the after.
I’ve yet to become acquainted with it,
still feeling the vacancy
of the before.
The place I can never again visit.
I will not find you there
no matter how desperately I long to.

I would like to stay awhile in
the memory of you.
So that I might take with me
all we once were able to see
in that place.
You’re here now,
but I think I choose not to see you.

My heart breaks a thousand times
in just one moment spent
here – in the after.
You have moved on.
I am struggling to join you.
You have departed this world,
and yet it is me who feels like a ghost
unable to embrace
the reality
of a life that goes on
after you.

To Know You

Your eyes sweep impatiently
across my face,
as if you are searching
for me in my features –
hoping that the curve
of my cheek will open a
door into the past, telling
of pain I have endured.
The pink in my lips may
betray me, showing you
all the words I dare not
speak, but wish to hear
out loud. Studying shadows
that linger beneath my
eyes – eyes that are
staring straight back to
you, working tirelessly to
not be found out, by a
swift blink or downward
glance.
I feel you not speaking –
fearful, perhaps, of
missing a moment when
the light may fall upon
my lashes, communicating
all the ways the world
has left them damp or
rubbed raw.
I do not ask you what
you are thinking
I too am searching –
waiting. For any sign
that you want me to
know you,
the way you are endeavoring
to know me.
Faces turned inward,
cascades of silence
flow through gazes
speaking volumes of love;
deafeningly loud and impossibly
clear.

Soaked in Sorrow

Moments encroach upon us in which the peace slips away. Just as swiftly as the quiet engulfed the senses – like a rush of fresh, crisp air – it escapes our consciousness, leaving behind the stale shadows that follow us around so adamantly.

These bouts of lament are not welcome, yet are ever so comfortable to sit with – like a loyal old friend. As if this is the state in which we were born; aching to the core, soaked in sorrow, drifting in and out of contentment like a dream we are unsure we have woken from.

Moments pass, and we are again consumed by a sense of serenity as the calm returns and the sorrow sleeps for a spell. We can only hope the darkness will keep away for just one moment more than it chose to stay. Standing still, we watch as the moments swirl around us, the coming and going of shadows and peace – passing before our sleepy eyes.