“Within each of us there is a silence
—a silence as vast as a universe.
We are afraid of it…and we long for it.”


Gunilla Norris


Image 01-13-16


This feels like an apt portrayal of my current state of being. It is dark and gray and I am standing in the graveyard of my memories. I am alone. I weep for all the things that once stood as bright and shining possibilities and which now reside beneath solemn stones that, in time, will decay and crumble back into the earth from whence they came.


In November I received the message that I needed to stop. To stop doing, to stop pursuing, to just stop and be quiet. My ego told me that this would not be a good thing to do. That I was inviting catastrophe to pay a visit. Despite my misgivings, I realized that I was beyond exhausted and that regardless of the consequences, it was time to stop.


Of course, December is a month of holidays, accompanied by all manner of associated and necessary preparations and so I was able to keep myself busy right on through to the big day of December 25th.


And then I did just stop. Well, it did not take long for the world to collapse in around me. The external grayness of the skies only accelerated a process that was no doubt overdue. I would set the date at December 28th as that day in which the dark clouds rolled in and whatever faint flicker of optimism for my future that I’d been holding onto finally surrendered to the darkness. Indeed, I can almost pinpoint the exact moment – 10:45 AM.


In point of fact, it was a rather inconsequential incident in the larger scheme of things. I was sitting in my car, digesting a bit of disappointing news and waiting to pull out of my parking space. I could sense a certain feeling of chaos in the air – I tried to back out once, only to catch another car pulling out so I pulled back into my spot and let them pass. Certain that things were now clear, I backed out again, successfully this time, and in that one particular moment when my car was still stationary as I was in the process of shifting from reverse into drive, a car parked directly behind mine pulled straight out and I could only sit and watch, frozen, as I knew with a certainty that she was going to hit me and there was nothing I could do about it. It was a microcosmic reflection of that very same moment wherein I understood, just from the look on the doctor’s face, and before he even said a word, that Laureen was going to die and there wasn’t going to be a damn thing I was going to be able to do about it. In fact, it was the very same experience.


Sometimes you just have to give in to the inevitability of a moment and your soul just knows that there is no recourse, there is no other possibility. There is only that one certainty that is staring you right in the face and you just have to sit there and let it be whatever it’s going to be.  So that car accident, as minor as it was, triggered a whole series of emotional events from which I am still reeling. Laureen always said that it is the small things that are the big things.


Earlier tonight I was talking with a good friend (and very talented artist) who suggested that . . .


“. . . perhaps, if you’re at such a low point, it’s a point of transmutation. Going through the worst of it before it transforms… I can’t really put that into words as much as I’d like, but I hope it still makes sense.”


My response to her was:


“. . . it does make sense. I was just sitting here thinking that same thought before I read the last piece you wrote. I am wondering if I am starting a new kind of grieving process as I struggle with the notion of selling my house. This [house] is kind of like my last strong connection to Laureen. This is the center of everything that we dreamed about, and everything that we did together. To let go of this house is a really big, big letting go of her and then I’ll be at the edge of the world… actually I will have stepped off the edge of the world and will be… well, that’s just it – I don’t know where I will be. And I think I’m very afraid of that, and very afraid of letting go of this huge piece of what was our life together.


I am at this point of, like, what am I supposed to do with my life now? I think that the final realization is setting in that she is never coming home again. Like, if she showed up here tomorrow, she would still recognize our house, she would still have clothes to wear, she would still have her nail polish and her brushes…. man, I cannot tell you how much this sucks.


It is a step that I have to take, and I don’t want to take it.  Our 3rd wedding anniversary is coming up on Feb 7th. We only got the chance to celebrate one anniversary together and then she died a month later. I honestly still can’t wrap my head around it all.”




. . . Hello darkness my old friend . . .

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One Response to STOP

  1. Ah, John- like all your friends, I ache for your grieving. There isn’t a one of us who doesn’t wish we had the power to take it away, but we can’t. The pain of loss has to be endured, and there isn’t any way around it. All your friends can do is just BE.

    Yes, I think selling the house is a new grieving process, but it can be part of the healing, as well. You will lose nothing of Lureen by selling the house. Lureen is inside you, with you in your mind. As for what you should do now, what do you think Lureen’s answer IS?

    I wish I had more skill at this.

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