Friday, May 9, 2014

Talking to the Echo

I have been incredibly busy the past few months, directing and writing back to back theater shows, teaching, and trying to complete my book by the end of this year. I have been getting home most nights around or after midnight, and then getting up early again the next day to do it all over again. I am exhausted, and my brain cannot possibly come up with anything creative to say or think or write tonight. So, instead, I am going to post a piece that I wrote in my personal blog a few months ago, here. I wrote this a couple months ago, but with my schedule being so busy and so creative lately, I am feeling this exact way right now, so I thought I would share it with you. Hopefully my brain will be back to functioning next week, once this show is over. For now though, I know that some of you can relate to these feelings:

Talking to the Echo
by Kelley Lynn

There is a space where my husband’s voice once lived,
a big empty hole that sits in the center of my hours,
my days,
my years.
It mocks me by following me wherever I go,
And it feeds off of it’s own nothingness,
Sipping on the hollow void,
A cruel silence where there used to be sound.
It follows me everywhere,
But it is most cruel whenever I try to be my creative self.
I can write something,
Perform something,
Shape something,
And in that creative process,
I still look into the air, thin as a wafer,
And ask my husband,
“How does this sound?”,
“What do you think of this, Boo?”
There is a pause that lasts ten thousand years,
And then nothing.
Where he used to help me write,
And add his humor to my scripts,
There is nothing.
Where he used to sit in the crowd,
And clap loudly,
His big and wonderful laugh,
Being heard above all the others,
There is nothing.
Where he met me after the show,
Outside of the club or the theater,
Sometimes with flowers or cards in his hand,
Wearing his pride for me in the pupils of his eye,
Saying, “I’m so proud of you, Boo”,
Twirling and hugging and holding my hand,
There is nothing.
I can fight the nothing
With the opinions of other caring people
In my life.
My parents, my friends, my counselor.
Sometimes that helps.
But most times,
Try as they do,
They do not respond in the way that I am searching for,
In the way that I long for and need,
Or they arent always there,
At the ready,
Waiting to be the response
to words
that I speak.
That is what a partner does.
Partners are there,
And they say the thing that you long to hear,
And they make your ideas shine,
And they put the period on the sentence,
Or they suggest that maybe it needed a comma,
The nothingness where my husband used to be,
Causes me to feel so much jealousy,
When I am forced in a room with couples,
With marriage or long-term partnerships,
And when I hear the literal words
Of a wife saying to her husband,
“Honey, what do you think of this?”
It is like a slow stab,
And it pierces my insides,
While nobody notices.
And it hurts.
Oh boy, does it hurt,
To witness the simple thing,
Of somebody saying words,
And somebody saying words back.
The nothingness where my husband used to be,
Makes me needy,
Much more needy,
than I ever thought I would be,
than I ever wanted to be.
When I write blog posts,
like this one,
I need to hear and read the comments,
Or I feel worthless,
Like I am talking to that thin air,
Or talking to myself
Again and again,
And again.
My constant status updates,
On Facebook,
are a helpless and desperate plea,
to seek out connection,
and fill the gaping wound,
that cries,
in that space,
where my husband used to be.
It is almost like,
I need to fill that space,
With 200 comments,
A thousand voices,
To make up for that one voice,
I can never hear again.
And since none of those voices,
Are his voice,
And none of those people,
Are him,
It does not fulfill,
What I need fulfilled.
It helps.
It helps in the same way,
That throwing a raisin into a manhole
Would help to fill the space
Of that manhole.
But it hurts.
Oh boy, does it hurt,
Because nobody is him,
Nobody ever will be him,
Not ever again.
And I try to remind myself,
Or ask myself,
In those moments,
“What would Don say?”,
Or I will attempt
To hear him
And listen for his voice,
There to complete my sentence.
But there is no sound.
No feeling.
No hint of his essence.
And with each new moment of silence,
The memory of what he might say,
Becomes less certain,
And it drifts away in a rowboat,
Leaving me at the shore.
There is a space,
Where my husband’s voice
Once lived.
I cannot stare at it,
Or find it,
Because it is all around me,
But I feel it.
I feel the nothingness,
And this is why,
I am terrified of finishing things,
Of things ending.
Like when this book is finally written,
And a box of them is sent to my door,
And I open the box,
And it is filled with my dreams.
Books that I can look at,
And touch,
And know that the words inside are mine,
And the stories inside are mine,
And I will look into that thin air,
And say out loud
To the nothing,
“Arent you proud of me, Boo?”
And yes,
I know he is proud,
But that is not the same,
As hearing him say it,
And instead,
Hearing the loud roar of silence,
That comes just seconds,
After my own shallow voice,
In a room filled with people,
Or alone,
Always alone,
Talking to the Echo.


  1. Thank you Kelly, this is truly amazing, and oh, I do get it. Especially the part about not knowing I could be so needy. I find pieces of myself on this grief journey that I never imagined were in me, and I would wish them away, but then I would be wishing our whole love away, and I would never want to do that.

  2. Kelley, here is a raisin for your manhole. When I was a child, people moved me around a lot. But I was not a houseplant, or a lamp, I was a human being. Human beings connect with other people. Some think it is because we are made up of energy and our soulmates literally have the right vibe. I don't know. But I do know that there were many people I bonded with, some quickly & intensely. Later, "dating", I would find myself getting attached too fast at times. Homeless, there were some people I also felt instantly close to. When these people were ripped out of my life by fate, I was told it was "no big deal" and that I had problems. Your post proves me right. "200 comments, 1000 voices...does not fulfill". You really nailed it, again, girl! -Snowygirl

  3. Kelley, thank you. You have created one of the best descriptions of loss and grief that I have ever read! I have read this three times; the first time I cried because I felt every word deep in my soul. My husband will be gone three years this June. The pain is still raw and my tears still flow.

    "But it hurts.
    Oh boy, does it hurt,
    Because nobody is him,
    Nobody ever will be him,
    Not ever again..."

    Those lines say it all for me too.

    1. Awww thank you so much Anon. It will be 3 years for me on July 13th. Im with ya:)

    2. Kelley Lynn, the three-year anniversary of my husband's death will be June 21. Rich died of a heart attack at 3:11 a.m. beside me. Like you, there was no goodbye, no last kiss, no closure. I do feel your pain 24/7. Rich was my soul mate; the other half of me. I know in my heart, I will never get over losing the love of my life and missing him. mrsmcgoo

  4. Kelley, I talk to my "echo" all the time, both in my head and aloud. I probably look like a loon. I kiss my mourning ring several times each day. It's a shit substitute, but, it gets me through.

  5. Kelley, I want to show this poem to everyone, and say "See. THIS is what losing my husband was like." It helps that nearly every widow has this love inside them.

    Back, when loss was fresh like yours, I assumed, because Life, God, we are kind, that life will turn up another caring partner. At some mysterious year, 55 or 60?, older women begin to outnumber older men, and another realization dawns, that there may never BE another partner. However, we weave our lives with material we have at hand. You are doing just that. Best wishes for your play, your book, and your love life.

  6. Thank you for that. Im not too concerned or focused at the moment on having a love life - I just miss and want HIM back - and that wont ever happen - so Im just living my life and doing things I love and we'll see what happens in the future. Im open to another great love, but nowhere near looking for that or ready right now. And if you want to show this poem to everyone, go ahead and share it:) Feel free. thanks for the kind words....

  7. My roses

    Thanks for the poem, the deeper thoughts and feelings it describes.
    I have been so blessed to have not heard the empty echo but to have had the echo of his (my beloved's voice). However, I still feel the deep pain, seeing others holding hands, he little tap on the back or hug. There are places I find difficult to go to - seeing couples sitting in church together with their arms around each other. Why oh why do people not see the difference? They refuse to see why we are grieving yet it is so obvioius. We now live without touch, loving words, hugs, kisses, even kindness. Labelling occurs that we are not coping. Would these holding hands lovers do any better than us?? I think not.
    Keep writing poems, keep telling the truth of what it is really like - we have to make a breakthrough for widowed people in whatever way we can. I have been on major radio programs to express the truth of what the widowed are going through here in Australia. I also tell of those on WV. I will love my beloved for ever but here and now in this cold world of avoidance of our suffering I need some companionship. We need love to be able to heal. We must not as a group allow our voices to be silenced. Thank you Kelly Lynn for the part you have played in THE BIG SHOUT - which will overcome the big silence about the life and treatment of widows