Friday, April 12, 2013

What Remains ....

I am not really sure where my husband went off to. He died. Yes. But it never feels that way. It feels as if he were part of some horrible magic trick in some terrible, cheesy Vegas act. One second – here. The next second –POOF!!  All gone! Magic!
It feels as though I took a nap, and then woke up and he went missing, never to be seen again. He died while I was asleep. Asleep. Im not sure that I will ever know how to process that. Im not sure that I want to. I am sure that there is no such thing as “closure.”
I am not really sure where I went off to. I’m alive. Yes. But it never feels that way. It feels as if I am part of some horrific magic trick in some awful, cheesy cruiseship act. That same hack trick where they pretend to cut the woman in half, as she lay inside the box. Except it’s not a trick at all. Every second that I’m here, living in this world, I am being severed in half. Over and over and over again. He died while I was asleep, and when I woke up, he was dead. He was already dead. Im not sure that I will ever know how to process that. Im not sure that I want to. I am sure that there is no such thing as “better.”

Where is that girl? That girl that my husband fell in love with. That girl that he believed in. That girl that he kissed for the first time on that NYC ferryboat, when our smiles for each other lit up the nightsky, when our futures were dancing with promise. I once knew that girl who was hopeful and dreamy, quirky and warm, energetic and fun. She laughed with abandon. She loved her birthday. She lived for Christmas, and all things family, and dinner-parties and music and baseball. She had dreams, and after years of heartbreak, she had finally found love. The true, amazing, rare, once-in-a-lifetime kind of love.

But we didnt get the lifetime, and so that girl lost her hope and her dreams. She isnt really much fun anymore. She tries, but she is very tired, because this new life is exhausting and hard and long. Her big brown eyes feel gray and colorless. She feels guilty on her birthday, lonely and empty on Christmas, and baseball games don’t seem to have the same impact without hearing her husband’s ongoing commentary. That girl went to sleep one night, just like any other night. Except it wasn’t. Because on that night, that girl went to sleep, and woke up dead.

Im not really sure where my husband’s remains are, or what remains of my husband. In that gray-looking canister they gave me, all filled with dirt? In the sand and in the water, where I tossed some of him on those meaningful days? In my heart – the way everyone is always telling me? In the universe, the clouds, the air? In the harmonies of a song so beautiful, you can hear your heart skipping? Maybe. But it never feels that way. People will feed you meals made up of the phrase: “He is always with you”, but actually knowing his touch is like trying to hug a butterfly.

Im not really sure where my remains are, or what remains of me. The pieces that were severed, came off little by little, second by second, hurt by mindnumbing hurt. Maybe I lost an arm while running into the ER that morning. Maybe a leg was chopped off when the nurses surrounded me and said “massive heart-attack. He didnt make it.” Maybe my soul disappeared while staring into that casket at my husband’s eyes that were no longer his eyes, or his face that was no longer his face. Perhaps my heart leapt out of my body and fell onto the wet ground, when I got that autopsy report in the mail. When I saw his name on that death certificate. When my 6 foot 4 husband, was handed to me, in a can. Remains.

So what remains of that girl, who died that day, on that day that she woke up? Many things, and nothing at all really. Everything that she was – she is not. Everything that she is – she was not. Her laugh is broken. Her smile is weak. She has no time for petty shit. She feels compassion for those in pain. She feels connected to those who hurt. She feels jealous of those with long lives and long marriages, and angry at the ones who dont ever seem to appreciate what they have. She panics easily, cries effortlessly, and feels deep emotion with abandon. She doesnt sleep enough, she writes too much, and she eats too much. She doesnt know yet how to take care of herself. She doesnt know yet how to care. About life. About being alive. She doesnt understand this new life – this weird future without her husband. This universe where she doesn’t grow old with him or spend decades with him or have children with him or retire with him. She doesnt understand yet, all that there is to understand.

Not yet. Not ever. Not yet.

So much was lost. So much is gone. He is gone. I am gone. Some things stay, but they dont look the same. They arent the same. But they stay anyway. Our love stays. The grief stays. Today stays. All of that stays, and it makes a great big pile of clusterfuck, in the wreckage. The pieces that lie there in that dirt, will somehow form a life. If I keep trying to figure it out, how they all go together, they will mold into my tomorrow. And all of the hope and the loss and the love and the fight and the hurt and the pain and the light – they will crash into one another, if I let them, and they will be the tools that I use to create, whatever the something is that I create.

What remains, is what I create. And what I create, is what remains ….


  1. WOW. So well done! I love the back and forth between how your husband died and how you died. I feel the same way! And we have so many similarities dealing with "sudden death". Yuck! Tragedy changes someone. We have been changed. Thus why we don't know who we are. I long to know who I am. I am 57 years old figuring that out - didn't I already do that in my 20's? I find myself saying to a friend outloud - "I'll be there, whoever she is that day!" I hate losing him, I hate losing who I was. I can't even fill out a simple questionnaire that was given as part of a group exercise, bc I don't know how to fill in the blanks, do I fill in my responses of who I was, or who I am today - and I can't even fill in who I am today bc I don't know who that is.
    This post is so good for me, I can't even figure out what paragraph I like best. I struggle with "creating a life for me". I have worked to move through my grief so hard, that there is little energy left. And my life has never been about me. It's always been about him, or us, or the the heck would I ever know "what do I want?"
    A friend shared early after my Marty's death that she didn't think it was necessarily finding my new life; but rather, to keep on doing what I'm doing and trying new things and one day I will look around and see that my life has found me! I liked that. It brings me comfort to just be still and quit striving. At times, I can find pieces of "rest" there.
    I really, really like what you've wrote. Thank you.

  2. You are a wonderful writer. Thank you for this. It is so beautiful, and so devastating.

  3. Wow is right, I love this. You describe how I feel most of the time. Like I died and don't know who or where I am. You are a very talented writer. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Kelley, you blow me away. Absolutely amazing. Thank you.

  5. I must echo the statements of others! This is a moving piece and sums up my feelings and my current state of being perfectly. Thank you for sharing and God Bless.

  6. Your words touch me deeply, and all of us who read this I'm sure.

    It strikes me that when this girl that you once were was here, she just was there. You didn't create her by will, you didn't plan how she would be or with whom, you didn't try to find her. You had no idea she would come into existence. Nobody did.

    It strikes me that when you experienced the magic of meeting your husband it came out of the unknown in a similar way.

    You cannot find your way back to that girl. And you cannot find your way back to him, or the two of you. The impossibility of it is unbearable.

    And yet, in living with that impossibility, something else becomes possible. A different kind of joy, a different kind of freedom. Something that you cannot create, cannot plan, cannot know beforehand, cannot imagine yet.

  7. Utterly honest is how you will always find Kelly Lynn. I feel privileged to read what she writes, it is how I feel but am afraid to say out loud to people. Even after several years. I just want to get out of here with as little pain as possible.

    1. I too feel this but am afraid to say it out loud. I try to stay positive, but this is the way I feel. Thank you for being so honest and forthcoming. It is hard to see in print what I feel

  8. Perfectly said. I also died and am still dead. The walking dead - just like that tv show. A zombie. It is 4 and 1/2 years and I still feel this way. I go to work, come home, exercise, go to bed, wake up - reluctantly, and do it again. No one wants to spend time with me except my 3 year old grandson. He keeps me going. And my son who is in grad school in NC - I keep going for him cuz he needs one normal parents ( my ex is his dad). I am 53 now. Can't find anyone to date or even go to a movie with. I do everything by myself. It's ok, I guess. I have no alternative. Life goes on? Not for me. This is not a life - it is only an existence. A recent study I read said that no matter how much one exercises or how sensibly one eats, that person can still die of loneliness. And death would be due to cardiac problems. Sounds like a broken heart to me.....

  9. How did you do this? Put into word all that I am feeling! SAD, profound and beautiful!

  10. Dear girl,
    Your openness took my breath away and your ravishing pain leapt from the (proverbial) page.

  11. Kelley,
    This is heartbreakingly familiar. I am sorry for your loss (x 2). Thank you for sharing so I can know I am not alone.

  12. Dear Girl, thank you for one of the most wonderful things I have ever read. Thank you for your photo. I hope you feel better. And I LOVED how you used 'clusterfuck', it was perfect.
    I hope you feel better. I will pray for you. I hope that doesn't sound condescending, but there was a time that people prayed for me and I made it through, not on my time but on His, I guess.
    Keep on going, keep writing and eating and using words like 'clusterfuck' when they fit.