Several weeks ago, I was at our little hole in the wall bar with a girlfriend of mine.  We were sitting at the bar and had had a few drinks.  Some guy came up to me on my right side trying to flirt with me or something and he commented on my boots.  I didn’t miss a beat, I just threw my foot up on the bar and said, “Thanks, they represent my dead husband,” and took a shot of whiskey.  I didn’t look at the guy, but my friend said the look on his face was priceless.  Apparently I shocked the shit out of him and he just backed away from the crazy lady.

A week or so ago, I was on Twitter with another friend. His mother died several years ago and he was telling me that when people tell him they are sorry, his response is always, “Why?  Did you kill her?”  I mentioned to him that people find out about Brian and they ask me, “What happened?”  I always say, “He died.  That’s what happened.”  So then we got all caught up in this morbid hilarious exchange of possible responses. “He got tired of the shitty food, so he went somewhere he didn’t have to eat.”  “He just decided to live in a box on my night stand.”  “His contract with the witness protection program ran out.” “He emerged from his cocoon and flew away.”  “Aliens, man.  Fucking aliens!”

I’ve lost a lot of weight since Brian died.  I don’t know how much because I don’t much pay attention to scales, but enough that all my clothes are big and the pants I couldn’t even wear in September fall off of me.   People ask me what I’m doing to lose the weight.  I look them dead in the eye and say, “Dead husband diet.  Works 100% of the time and all it costs is the loss of your best friend, your lover, your husband, your playmate, and your life.”

While I was sitting in the waiting room this afternoon as my youngest son was in therapy, I was texting back and forth with one of my oldest and dearest friends.  We’ve known each other nearly for 18 years and nothing is off limits.  We’ve seen each other through good times and bad.  One of the great things about our friendship is that we are often incredibly inappropriate with each other.  We all need a friend like that.  Anyway, we were texting and he said something about a sandwich shop chain that I particularly loath because they always slather everything with mayonnaise and I really hate with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.

He was poking at me and he said, “That’s how I hope to go: covered in mayo!”

I replied to him, “Gross.  They’d better hose you off.”

He remarked, “Well, that’s probably gonna have to happen regardless.”

“They don’t hose you down when you burn to death because the water pressure just sends what’s left of your skin flying,” I said.

I’ve not said it here before now, but Brian burned to death.  It was horrible and traumatic and so complete that I identified him by his wedding ring that they had in a plastic bag at the funeral home. I didn’t get to see him.  Not even one fingernail, not one earlobe, not one toe.  I have spent countless hours at the place he died scavenging for anything I can find: zipper teeth, buttons, scraps of burned fabric, buckles, grommets, blood. The state still has all of his stuff. Every single thing that survived had to be tested in the investigation for everything under the sun and I don’t have a damn thing.  I asked them weeks ago for it to be returned to me, regardless of condition, because it was Brian’s and I want it.  I want it ALL.  I was supposed to get it two weeks ago.  When I called today to see what the hell the holdup is, I found out that the investigator, the only one who can release this stuff to me, is gone until March 3.  Are you fucking kidding me?  I’m tempted to go light a fire under his ass.

Yeah.  I said it.  I say a lot of things these days.  I have always had a sharp, quick, dry wit.  In fact, it’s one of the first things that Brian loved about me.  I very rarely miss a beat, I very rarely miss an opportunity to make a comment.  I love words and I use them well, but I never ever try to hurt anyone.  These words that I say now come from a very dark place.  I’m in some sort of endless hole of inky blackness and my words can’t help but reflect that.  For me, I think it’s part of the anger and acceptance of this fucking grief thing.  I don’t mean to worry people, I don’t mean to make people feel uncomfortable, I don’t mean to shock.  It’s just that I am worried, I am uncomfortable, I am shocked.  I have no patience for flowery language and imagery because when I close my eyes, I see fire.  When I close my ears, I hear screams, and often they are my own.

I don’t mean to shock and scare and freak people out, but I have always spoken my mind.  I have always spoken my truth.  The fact is that my truth right now is dark.  People hear me say these things and remind me to be compassionate with the people I’m talking to.  Believe me, I have compassion.  I know that they have no idea what to say.  I’m not sure what to say, either, so I do what I have always done.  I tell the truth and the truth is helping me.  It is exhausting to pretend to be something I am not.  In fact, my therapist agrees with me, these dark comments are kind of healing for me because they get it out and into the light.  Light.  What a concept!  I remember light.  Right now I am a creature of the night, most comfortable in the dark, and that is okay.  I won’t be here forever, but I’m here now and there is no point in pretending I’m not.  I’m okay with it. After all, the jokes down here are pretty damn good.


Backyard bonfire.


13 responses »

  1. Dearest Sara – there is light and then there is the hydrogen bomb. You were bombed. Keep saying it: just please, please try not pass between the shadows yet – in order to be that thin you also have to be dead. I would like to have the chance to meet you in person some day. So eat some ice cream in between the words …please. Connie

    • Oh dear Connie, thank you for your concern. I’m not going anywhere and I won’t get lost here, but I have learned that it’s important to be aware of where I am and even accept it. It won’t be forever and I know that. It seemed logical to me, however, to document this stage as I have documented everything else.

  2. Sarah, I don’t know you, but I read your blog. The expression of your grief is such a gift to me. It gives permission to be with what is, especially to those loss feelings that stay, and stay, and stay. Thank you for sharing yourself.

    • Wow, Alouette, thank YOU! Yes. We must just be and be and be with what stays and stays and stays. I don’t know you nor do I know your story, but I send you hope for peace.

  3. Totally. Just get it all out. That’s the only way to heal. I don’t think what you’re writing is shocking, it’s just real. Good lord, we all need more REAL in our lives. As much as it sucks, its easier and healthier to deal with than faking your way through grief and pain. x

      • Sister, I, too, have a dry wit and a talent for the dark humor. 🙂 We can only be who we are, no more, no less. But there is so much to us. The trick is to know when we are being too much of one and need to be more of another. Unfortunately, that knowledge is usually only hindsight.

        I’m stunned to hear that Brian burned up. That can only make your pain even greater, not knowing what his last minutes were. If I had some majik, I would use it for you. I don’t, so many hugs and keep talking.

  4. Someone told me once, “The only way out is through.” I didn’t want to face past trauma and hid behind smiles, living up to what I thought was expected of me, and making everyone else “comfortable.” For much too long of a time. That is more destructive than truth, and I admire your courage to go through. You are strong. So strong. Wishing you peace in every and any moment you can find it, lovely.

  5. It’s always shocking to me but it is true: nothing lasts forever,. When I went through a horrible time, I got out a fresh, brand new soap. I knew that no matter what happened, when that soap was gone, I’d feel at least a tiny itty bit different. And I did. Yes, I did have to rant and rave until I was done, but I did and after a long time, I did feel differently and even better. That is my experience, strength and hope.

  6. Ok, I totally agree, but perhaps because I too
    am reigning the night… For now. I really felt this post because of what follows- I was diagnosed w a curable cancer three days ago. I’m 39 years old, have 4 kids and I’ve been here before. Ok? Ok. What burns me (today anyway) is my best friends (say 3, I’m pretty fucking picky) just can’t believe how cool I am w this. That it just can’t be happening and why you? Omg omg omg. Would they be happier if I cried until I couldn’t take it any longer and slit my wrists? It is NOT the job of the most directly affected, to make you feel better about about what THEY are going through. Reticent to tell anyone else bc they treat you as you’re contagious then show up for the funeral. Forgive me for stealing your forum and firing off my own soapbox– just really want to say BE YOU, whoever that is today or next week… BE YOU.

  7. Sara- wow. Just wow. Your words are powerful and your ability to use raw, witty, incredibly vivid words and imagery in your blog is really incredible. This is no doubt a difficult and yet important part of your process, and I hope you know that there are likely many people out there who are finding kinship and support through your ability to articulate what many can’t. Thank you.

  8. your remark about the boots is just something some times I think we just have to say, for some one to acknowledge, about what’s happened and the grief and shock that follows. My daughter was picking out balloons, blue and white, and wanted a mylar frog balloon as well. The lady asked if they were for her son’s birthday party and my daughter said, “No, they’re for his grave.” The rest of the transaction was silent. But my daughter, well my daughter said it gave her a strange sense of relief.
    I’m so sorry for what’s happened and how your lives have been transformed. I have no words of solace, only the words, “I’m sorry.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s