Daydream

4 Mar

I want a giant iron
to smooth over all the wrinkles
in this wretched system
a psychic microscope
all must pass through
who enter those gates
from any angle
a deflective umbrella
made of Care Bear stare
to hold over those I love
to protect them
when it all falls down
and cupcakes to give
as I sit down beside them
and say wow
it’s bad out there
yet all I can do
is write

I want to tell her
I know how sorry you are
that you never meant
for it to be
this way
for her to know
that I still see light in her eyes
when she looks at that child
that I see she is broken
and I know how it feels
to really know
that life is kind of like that
and then get up
put that in your pocket
and keep moving
because you can
you can
you really can
I promise
and we’re all here
waiting
maybe for truth
and apologies
but mostly for
the woman
you’ve been hiding
but all I can do
is write

I want to tell him
I’m sorry, I’m so sorry
I was such a shitty teenager
that I didn’t check my oil
that I learned integrity
gentleness and generosity
from you
and I can tell
your mother misses you
like I miss my own son
and I hope
in some way
that you two
have some sort of
magnetic soul tag
from how deeply
I will always love you
like a bat signal
on another plane
that brings you
to a place where my love
touches where you are
together
and for you to know
as deeply as I feel
how much
you are loved
and missed here
where all I can do
is write

Fair

4 Feb

Ocean_City_Ferris_Wheel

I took you there
to celebrate the harvest
pumpkins and hayrides
the giant Ferris Wheel
I can still feel you
pressed against my chest
and see your bright eyes
taking it all in

It was your complexion
milky
like your sleepy smile
downy fluff hair
flushed and full cheeks
delicious thighs
and eyes
that hold the stars
and my heart

It’s what is isn’t
that you’re not here
and I’ll never know why
It’s what it’s not when
I sleep alone
when my breasts still long for you
when any baby cries
It’s what it’s not
that I couldn’t
protect you
and still not know
what from
What it is
is exactly
what life
isn’t

Lozenge

30 Jan

There has never been a time
I have been able to keep
myself from leaving
a breadcrumb trail
brightly wrapped pieces
to and of my heart
bat signals
cryptograms and
phrases in languages
only We speak
for you to find
including this one
because I know
you get them
and me

But there has never been a time
where you have followed them
to the source
and built a fire
in the hearth of
the home that exists
where they were born
though the flame
of your gaslighting
has nearly consumed it
a number of times

Instead you find
carefully placed
confetti on the trail
and take the flavor in
your privacy
comfort and time
trinkets for your shelf
never paying mind
to why
or from whence
they came
discarding the wrapping
of conviction and courage
vulnerability and hope
it took for them to
exist at all

I see clearly now
through hindsight goggles
you just want
lozenge drops of me
balm for your
tears and fears
insecurity
and desirability
that my sustenance
all on the table
is too much for your appetite
which is why I am always left
patiently anorexic
digesting your
elective absence

I have given you
privacy
trust
silence and space
a sacred place
in my heart
for a week
for five years
or eighteen
and you’ve never given me
just me
a straight answer
or your hand
to walk with
and I’m smart enough
after so long
not to expect
or wait for
either one

I am not
anyone’s
fucking
emotional
spiritual
or physical
Pez dispenser
dammit
and I can’t fit
into your box
anymore than
I’ll let you into mine
just to find you
back out
then in again
That’s getting fucked
in a way I’m not into
and you no longer have
my consent

All I have left is
a pre-shelled pistachio
after shedding
so many drops
of my sweet
soul for you
So you can
suck on that

The Unrest

2 Jan

Some days
all I do is miss you
it comes out of the blue
like a star fell and burned
straight through my heart
and it’s all I can do
to get through the day
without your arms
reaching for me

and I miss the feel
of each individual finger
of your left hand
upon my chest
the way my left shoulder hurt
because that’s the side
you liked best
and I feel like
I will never rest again
even in my sleep
I’d never dream reality
would hold this type of
nightmare for me
when I wake each day
I never prayed
your soul to take
to anyone
or thing

Some nights
all I do is miss you
I miss the curves along your face
the smell of the triangular shape
between your jaw and ear
when I pulled you near
the way your eyes
were little twinkling sapphires
that I’ll forever chase
and you will always be the name
that’s firmly held between the places
where my heart skips a beat
i carry you with me
laying in the space we shared
how I am suffering
sweet child of mine
without you
in so many more ways than
I thought were possible

Soapboxery for the New Year

2 Jan

It’s been 98 Fridays with a broken heart, 37 days until it’s been two years. I said that on Facebook this morning, and watched my (overall Facebook) likes fall by a handful- the kind comments have followed, but the former always strikes me. It seems like every time I post about losing Patrick I lose people, so let me just get this out of the way:

If you can’t deal with the fact that I occasionally post about being sad because I suddenly lost my 14 month old for no reason, GO THE FUCK AWAY RIGHT NOW.

…but don’t go without recognizing the fact that you have that privilege, and what a huge one it is. Don’t go without remembering that SUDC = Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood = no cause, no cure = there’s nothing you can do to protect or prepare yourself for it.

Trust me, you are learning about this the easy way.

Grief is far from my only life or subject matter, but unfortunately for me, it’s become a part of who I am because Patrick is a part of who I am, and nothing will ever change either of those things. If there’s a singular thing I wish to impart on the world for Patrick’s and my stay here, it’s to encourage people to be grateful for every. damn. day, and to be kind to your children and each other.

One of the only things that provides any balm for me about Patrick’s life is that I spent every day loving and appreciating him (and continue to do so with my other children) because I learned that lesson in a lighter way after losing my father to Melanoma in 2010. I’m grateful I left him intact, grateful he was still breastfeeding, cosleeping and being worn every day, grateful that he was close to my heart in every way, every day of his entire life.

Because of my PTSD & SUDC, I evaluate every decision with “If I (or ____) died tonight, would I regret this?“, which is both a blessing and a curse; I get incredibly soaring heights of anxiety, but I also am pushed to find the courage to show up for my life and share my heart with others, even when it’s terrifying… it doesn’t make the latter any easier, but I go to sleep at night knowing I’ve said my piece and done my part. I always think about how need to write more. This is me trying.

Anyhow- if you can’t handle witnessing not made-for-TV grief, the fact that I occasionally say fuck, (and have an album just for swearing, actually- and one on cannabis, too) that I’m a feminist, humanist, science-loving hippie-nerd that writes sporadic, random poetry and posts, and embraces a coffee addiction open-heartedly: peace out. *If those things happen to appeal to you, consider following my blog (via the link on the top right side of the page on desktop and after the comment form on mobile)  if you haven’t already.

I’m here for authenticity, not approval. I’m here to learn and improve myself and the world around me. I’m here to hopefully lend some perspective and to share what helps me with my own, to keep my son’s memory alive, and to promote awareness for the SUDC Foundation- and that means I will never stop talking about them- and the other things that matter to me- ever.

Okay, enough soapbox for awhile. Now, go hug your kids and remind the people that you love in your life how much they mean to you. Dammit.

SUDCLOGO*If you feel like helping SUDC families, please consider participating in the Sing for SUDC Challenge, or donating to the SUDC Program here.

Downhill

31 Dec

Snow-HillI used to think that
all downhill from here
was a good thing
stomach butterflies
the careful letting go
it’s own reward
after the climb
because I let myself forget
now that it’s been some time
about looking over
and realizing
I’m alone
full speed
the mountain still
before me

but now I remember
about how snow balls
and how avalanches fall
a single misstep
the butterfly effect
icy moments collect
colder, bolder and heavier
with each passing minute
and how it feels
to be frozen
from the inside out

and I hate that
every fucking time
I feel the most
myself
or anything else
I think of you
and want to share
because I spent
so
much
time
trying
to cut you out
the X in my chest
clawing and gnawing
at my heartstrings
through the sting
and the burn
only to learn that
you’re always just there
fucking dammit
it hardly seems fair
or possible

Yet here I am again
the very same me
in another orbit around
the very same you
in the very same hue
you’ve always been
through your same outer space
falling about my own thing
in a place
I can’t land
with your head in the sand
submerged in minutia
I don’t understand
I need you to guide me in
’cause I can’t dig you out
of yourself
no matter how much
I dig you

And I can’t
and I won’t
stick around
for you to
maybe
someday
somehow
be brave with me
and decide I’m enough
that I’m worth
seeking
holding onto
and showing up for
because I already have that memo
and so do many others
all I can do is know it
your choices are your own
and they speak
loud and clear
the words you choose
not to say

I’ve already given you
all the time I can take
and so much more
I know too painfully well
we aren’t guaranteed
love or tomorrow
so I’ll take today
in both hands
what so many
are offering
because no matter
how much I love you
and always will
fucking dammit
My heart never goes on sale
my friend
and it doesn’t seem
you’re ready to pay
the price

So let’s just let this go
downhill
and hope for
a clear path
and soft landing
because I can’t do this
if you’re not all in
and I’m all out
of band aids

*
Glitter in the Air is New Years-y, right? Bonus if you recognize the Tori reference just after the 3:00 mark.

95

13 Dec

95 Fridays
and I still keep count
ever increasing numbers
they’ll still never surmount
or even touch
the aching vacancy
the numbness
that I hold
it’s just a silly way
to find some sense
within my soul
because your ab-sense
is exactly that
away from logic
fact or study
away from any truth
except goddamn
I miss you, buddy
and that’s the truest verbage
I can craft around that bubble
the shining fact
that I can excavate
from all the rubble
of the world
that I once knew
that I held dear
where I could hold you
not this one
where it’s all that I can do
just to uphold the who
you might have been
and who you’ll never even
get the chance to be
where the only way I hold you
is in silly poetry
where I can wrap my
words around you
instead of loving arms
carving verbal shapes
that hold the sillage of your charms
it’s still alarming
every morning
when I wake
without your face
without your breath
and the smell of your sweet head
here in my bed
and in it’s place
I just have
95 Fridays
in growing amount
665 days
and I still keep count
because
you do

The Other Woman

23 Nov

I know you loved him first
and that like mine
your heart has been full of intent
even when deeply sequestered
to give him the best that you have
to have loved him the longest
the best, and the most
and I know all too well
that I can’t compete with time

the lack of you
sits on the back of whom
my heart is tied to
a hole that’s  never filled
yours by accident or will
and I know because
and it takes one to see one

and I thank you
with all of my broken heart
for your part
in the man who makes us
the us that we are
it’s so special to me
and it’s so plain to see
how much he fucking loves you

and don’t think I don’t know
how it feels to be years
and a short drive away
feeling so chained
to what you wish had been
and even more afraid of what
actually exists

but what you don’t understand is
how close you really are
to conversations with the one I love
conversing with most
to planting seeds in the parts of him
nothing else grows

and how far you really are
from understanding
how far sons can truly be
and I’m so glad you don’t
because from that
my heart would never recover

if we ever meet
and I hope we do
I hope you know
how proud you should be
of the man that he’s raised
himself to be
and how much I wish
things were better for you
both

Kintsukuroi

10 Nov

What I meant to say
when I said all those words
is that I’ll keep choosing you
and time’s proven it true
and I’m not going to be the one
who couldn’t ask
or couldn’t tell

This won’t slip through the cracks
because it’s in the centers
of who I am
nuclei to some of my favorite
positive and atomic states
and though my heart’s fractured
and missing some pieces
you are the kintsukuroi
in all but my most broken spaces

Even the times I fall apart
when the saturation
of my heart and mind
comes streaming from my eyes or lips
moments I wish never existed
and am forever bound to have
I am still more
centered, peaceful, and capable
for knowing you
and the me I am
when you are near

Some parts of of my heart
will always be
broken and aching
and can’t be filled
because that space
and whom it belongs to
is part of that person I am
have fought to become
and am fiercely protective of
I am grateful and honored
you not only help me
hold that space
but make room in yours, too

Though I’m not yet
steady on my feet
I’ll keep practicing
all of the steps to be
and if you can wait for me
to climb out of my cocoon
and not pull me too soon
when I am done flying through
where the missing part of
my heart is
you will be
the first place I land

- kintsukuroi

Forboding Joy

23 Oct

Yin Yang ClockTrigger warning: child loss

When my father died,  there came a cold, permanent reminder that sometimes, life is too short, and that death can come far too unpredictably, too soon. With Patrick’s death came the reality that my best, most difficult, lengthy, impassioned efforts that I couldn’t possibly care more about or pour more of myself into can be spirited away- without warning or reason. Watching something slowly crumble, be it a life, a relationship or situation, is different entirely than flicking on a light switch and taking in the fact that it’s vanished, and the life that was happening in my head and heart did just that, all in a single moment.

Yes, my gratitude for the little things in life that come about has compounded after his death, too- being hyper aware of this new reality means taking extra time and love to invest in my children’s lives, and in the lives of my friends. But it also means that every time I say good bye to anyone, I’m saying it forever. To my children when they play outside, when my sister or friends when we part company- I’m hyper aware that today may be their last, or mine.

Serendipitously, I came across this video today where Brene Brown explains this strange paradox I seem to be living in, where I’m in love with every moment, but because I know they’re fleeting and I end up grieving for the present that I’m loving, too.  It’s as exhausting as it sounds, if not moreso.


Oprah’s holding the book I’m currently reading, Daring Greatly.

So there’s a flip side to all of this extra love, passion and gratitude I have in my life… I pour it out 100% because I know for a fact I’ll never have the same chance to again, and what it feels like to look back on the times I kept my love to myself because I was hurting or afraid. But this outpouring of love still contains a level of disconnect for me- I send it without expectation or attachment so that nothing and no one can hurt me again.

Except I’m finding some ties I can’t help, and those terrify me the most. The first and foremost of those attachments is to my earth-walking children. I hate to say it, but part of the reaction that, especially initially, happened in my grieving process was to pull away from everyone, my children included. Loving each of them so incredibly much, I realized, means that I am at three more times the potential for the ache I will never stop feeling in every quiet moment of my life- and that type of heartbreak can just break a person all the way down, six feet under.

SUDC can happen in children up to nineteen. NINE-FUCKING-TEEN. (My oldest just turned 13 last weekend, but that’s for another post entirely.) For all I know, when my children go to sleep, they’re not going to wake up, that I have some cootie-infested gene that makes my babies drop dead. Unfortunately, you can’t say, “What are the odds?” or “That couldn’t happen to you!” or anything of the like because it can, because it has.

I can count the number of times I’ve slept through the night since the earthquake on one hand. It’s not that the earthquake itself was terribly frightening, but when my 10′ picture fell off the wall and I realized that the windows and floor were really shaking, I panicked. The thing is, the logical part of me that tries to rationalize with statements like the ones I’ve listed above doesn’t count anymore. When you’re sitting in an ambulance passenger seat, rocking yourself to the mantra of  “Please don’t take my baby, please don’t take my baby, please don’t take my baby, my baby… my baby…” and then someone looks you in the damn eye and says, “I’m sorry. There’s nothing we can do.” across an operating room table, all that sunshine and fluff goes up in smoke. It can happen. It just did.

I’m sorry if that’s rough to hear, but that’s my reality- and my reality found me thinking, “Please don’t take my babies.” again during the earthquake, with the coupled reality of remembering all too well how it turned out the last time those words were repeated in my head. And so I can’t sleep. And probably have some form of PTSD, really. I realized in my overthinking hours of the morning that I was lying there at the ready, trying to somehow protect my children with my love, with my vigilance, with my preparation for disaster… and all of it is futile, imagination put to it’s worst use. Yes, California is actually due for a massive earthquake soon, (which in NO WAY helps me to know) but I can’t limit my kid’s childhood because I’m beyond anxious that I’m going to lose them during it.

I have ties to friends that I can’t (and don’t want to) help that terrify me, too. Most of the friends I have that are closest to my heart live states away, where I can only see them on occasion. I love them fiercely and fear that bond nearly as much, sometimes more, because it means part of me is vested in both caring about their happiness and their happiness with me, and that I know firsthand how it feels to be separated from that bond. I’ve even caused that hurt on purpose to myself because of that knowledge, to try and, as Brene puts it, “beat vulnerability to the punch”, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

There have only been a couple of friends I have ever consciously separated myself from, and they are both people whom I have known for years and am deeply connected to- and ones I felt I couldn’t live through hurting me.  So, I hurt myself first by keeping myself at an unreachable distance, until I realized years later each time that those deep connections can’t be severed, that I was hurting us both in denying our attachment to each other. Though I felt safe(r) at a distance, I had a hole in my insides in exactly their shapes, and even after my silence, they were both still willing and wanting to be there, because it turns out they had Julie-sized puzzle pieces missing from their insides, too. Some people walk into your heart and just fit, and I’ve found that it’s worth stepping beyond old boundaries into vulnerability to let them.

And so I’m desperately trying to work myself through the absolute mind-bending freak out it is for me to try and form attachments again. Kaya is with me constantly and is the best form of constant, (mostly) quiet companionship that I could ask for. She helps ease my anxiety tremendously, as do many of my friends both locally and online; not the least of which is Amy of Zen Parenting, who has put together an online auction ending tomorrow, 10/24 to help raise funds for me to have a car- because even my car recently, suddenly and unexpectedly died, and while I was on the same freeway to Sacramento that I took on Patrick’s last day, to boot. (Do you see why part of me is just waiting for the other shoe to drop?)

The thing is, I can look at losing my car and see something I’ve lost, or I can look at the amount of love that has been sent my way because of it- it’s a choice… I would give up everything I have now and more for Patrick back, for even an allotted amount of time- I’m open, Universe- but in smaller scale situations, even ones like being stranded in the middle of nowhere with a steaming car, (which is absolutely a first world problem) because of friends like Amy, (and Megan, Ruthie, Jes, Genery, Matt, Laura, and Spencer) today, when it comes to looking at the loss or the love, I can choose the latter.

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