Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ghost of Art

I read one of his journals today.
I read it because
I sold
our bed,
in three hours.

I had to empty out his bedside table (they went too) before the guy came to pick it up.

Later, as I try to decide where
a mattress
on a floor would look best,
in MY room,
I get side tracked
and sift through
the box of stuff from the bedside tables. I sit down, pick up a journal and read.

It starts in June 1995, 6 months after we had been married.

I recognize his early fear of not being strong enough for us. I recognize my young self, but from his eyes. It is a refreshing and slightly embarrassing view. I am soften. I want to reach in and back and hug him and tell him it will all be ok.

The journal gives me a memory of things I had forgotten. He records our bike trips, the time he got fired from his job as a basketball coach. He records his fear and excitement about my pregnancy…and his amazement at how I just want to eat all the time. He records our trip to Paris and every single place we visit. He records his disappointment at work and his deep disappointment for his parent’s reactions. He records his love for me.

He records the good advice I gave him, calling it “another good thing Kim said..”

When I open his journal
I did not expect to see him,
Rising, like a ghost.
But he is no longer clear.
He is like mist.
I can see him if I stand still or far enough away from this life.
But up close, he looses his definition.

Reading that journal brought him back to me but not in a full form.

My life is past him, and here in this life 702 days away from loss,
I can only see traces of him.

It’s strange because I see
the idea of him, of Art,
doesn’t fit in this new place,
in this bedroom with no bed.

I could not be who I have become if he were here.

It’s almost like another death. A quieter
More gentle death
As I move forward, I leave him behind
In the mist
As a ghost.

I will lie on the mattress,
on the floor and cry,
for him, for me
for how I am leaving him,
and for all the good things I have
become since he has gone.

That is what needs to happen
So I can find a new bed.


  1. So beautiful Kim, so well said....

  2. This kind of describes what I am going through and my thoughts, as I try to figure out my new way. I am trying to prepare my way for dating. It is a back and forth struggle letting go and holding on. But at the same time thinking of how proud he would be of me doing some of the things I am doing now, but also wondering if the changes would have kept me from wanting to be with him and his flaws.

  3. Kim, Thank you for posting such a beautiful and open hearted piece. You write with such honesty that it makes it easy to find the path you are on and to see the truth of the way.

    This morning, Sunday morning, I got up to start the day. It has been five months since my husband died and weekends are some of the hardest days. I make myself exercise, it is at least something worthwhile. While I opened the blinds to let the sun in my barefoot felt an indent and I looked down momentarily surprised. My foot had touched one of the indentations that his hospital bed had left on the carpet. . . and the vision of all of that came roaring back - the day they came to deliver the bed, my son and I making the bed with clean white sheets and new comfortable pillows, a warm wool blanket. How I put the birdfeeder outside the window so he could watch them come and go. How I still had some crazy hope that a brain tumour would not be the end of him, the end of us. 19 months later. . .
    He is gone.
    The bed too.
    Our bedroom is a slightly different version of what it was when he lived.
    His dresser is filled to the brim with the things I want to keep that all remind me of him, his favourite sweater, his watches, all the notes and cards he left me and in there a journal.
    He wrote very little because of his brain tumour but the words he wrote are so precious. I didn't know he had written anything at all.
    I found it in my nightstand a month after he died. . . he said "if you are looking for me- look in the eyes of our children. I love you so much. If there is a way to find you again. . . in another life, I will".

    Thank you for sharing Kim and for saying so honestly that the woman you have become is different than she would have been and better in some important ways. I really believe, they came and lived and loved us for that very reason - to help us become who we were meant to be.

    I will think of you and send our peace.
    May the new bedroom be a sanctuary for you.

  4. Beautiful post. Thank you.

  5. I always come back and check the comments...I must say today I read an amazing thought, " I really believe, they came and lived and loved us for that very reason - to help us become who we were meant to be." That for me says what my heart has been trying to say these past months since my husband died.

  6. That was really nice Kim. Wishing you the best in this painful journey (And the 3 kids too!) love from Sachi & Gopala

  7. Amazing. How special that you have journals to read through; to get see that part of him again. I wish I had something like that. I sometimes read old emails - albeit extremely short that my Michael wrote to me. Always bittersweet moments.

  8. Absolutely beautiful post. I too sometimes look at the old cards and letters and the memories come roaring back.
    Wishing you peace on your journey