“…this empty cathedral, where your face stains the windows.”
The absurdity of loss. The uninterrupted moment of a physical ache in the abdomen, like the wound it is. Sometimes all you can do is take a breath in, and hold it. Count to five, and hope to God you can’t let it go.
Choices, choices, choices. Excuses, a day without meaning. Into the void. There’s nothing like the knowledge that another day has gone by, with no words, no calls, no little kisses. The guilt stacks up, the pain ravages another good memory. Your face is everywhere. Your scent is still wrapped in tear-soaked fabric, a door I can’t open and stays bitter. Eventually, everything beautiful lets go.
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I had a dream the other night, of my daughter coming home with me. It was so real and so detailed, I’d lay my hand on a Bible and swear to its actuality. I woke up with a broken heart, yet again.
There is nothing I can do, nothing I can throw myself into, to fill the huge gaping void of her absence. I think about her constantly – especially at work, when it’s just a lonely monotonous routine and I have no other way to occupy my mind. The last time I saw my baby girl, I was putting her down for a nap at her father’s house, on her second birthday. I kissed her chipmunk cheeks, ran my fingers through her golden brown hair, and told her I loved her and to have sweet dreams. She curled up on her side and closed her eyes, content to have Mommy help her drift off to sleep, like was our former routine.
I miss her so badly that it’s killing me every day. I feel like I’m swimming against a current of grief and I’m losing. I’m trying to hold on; I’m trying like hell to get up every day and keep going. To keep smiling, acting like everything’s okay when really, I’m losing my mind every day that I don’t get to see her, hug her, kiss her, laugh at her funny little ways of saying things. I’m so very, very sick of always losing.
My own mother isn’t worth honoring on Mother’s Day. She was/is cold, abusive, and uncaring. She gave me life; but the only other thing I will ever give her credit for, is teaching me what kind of mother I DON’T want to be. My child is my heart and soul; the very most precious part of me. She is what I will honor on Mother’s Day; for making me a mother. I’d do anything, ANYTHING to get her back. I just have to find a way to hold on to life until that day comes.
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She likes to play in the empty spaces.
The bare half of the closet, the empty painted spare bedroom, behind the kitchen table where extra boxes used to be hidden away.
If only I could find the same delight in places devoid of personality, preference, or creativity.
But instead…all I feel is an ache.
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Boxes of letters have been shredded, but I won’t wipe your handprints from the sliding glass door. “Fine,” you said, “Leave. But I know who you see when you close your eyes at night.”
All our lost potential, our sorry scars. In the post office of star-crossed lovers, you wink from the sheriff’s posters, fugitive. Come home. Where is my twin ruin, my holy solace? Nothing kneels down in my tiny life – this cathedral where your face stains the windows.
– Eireann Corrigan
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Written by Sue Goyette, based off of Jack Gilbert’s poem “Divorce”.
Imagine waking up and hearing crying,
that quiet sob of despair and rushing through
the house, then remembering. Looking out
the window to see only moonlight and concrete.
Imagine his hand and his paper, later. He’s at his desk,
the whole house behind him, looking over his shoulder,
the door frames, the radiators. Imagine in the middle
of an empty house, the haunting of that quiet despair,
her name like a newly-winged insect searching
for light and some kind of heat, fluttering near his mouth,
the memory of a kiss he still can taste. Imagine
the details of his loss as he shifts through the rubble
of marriage for a poem, something he can manage
to bury again in four lines, bury or somehow illuminate. Imagine him
at his desk choosing where to end the line, after crying,
he decides, after house. Where else could it have ended?
If he were an architect, he would sketch a small cabin
with high ceilings well suited for the acoustics of the low sounds
of sorrow that waft sometimes like smoke. If he were a teacher
with a grade ten class in front of him, he would try reading
a love sonnet out loud, stopping at the word true, his heart groaning
under the weight of it, breaking, a little shift in his chest. He’d conduct
all trains home, make the soupe du jour a good chicken noodle to soothe
the tired shoulders of hunched regret, he would only sign out books
with long indexes and black and white photographs and deliver post cards
from tropical islands, throwing the heating bills down the sewer.
He would agree to the construction of a new bridge, cleaning up
the harbour, expanding the city, but he is a poet who sits up in the middle
of the night, thinking he heard her cry. He gets up, looks out
the window and then remembers that she has left and left so hard; the moon,
the concrete coaxing each other out. He sits down at his desk, chooses a pen
and slowly writes Divorce at the top of the long blank page of all that is left.
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Today, and another day previously, I saw someone on Twitter get jumped on for simply tweeting about an upcoming trip to Target. I’m sick to death of this, and I’m not going to stay quiet about it anymore.
Look, the person Target donated to sounds like a pretty lousy person, I’ll give you that. He’d never in a million years get my vote. And yes, Target thoroughly apologized for this “error in judgment” and have vowed to take a closer look at where their donation money goes. Maybe that’s not enough, maybe it is. Who are we to decide?
But what really tans my hide is this: taking something that’s supposed to be this pure, clean thing – this community of writers, parents, non-writers, non-parents, PEOPLE, CONNECTING, which results in us helping absolve this all-too-common feeling of loneliness, especially with parents – and tarnishing it with their hatefulness. Do you really think that spewing your hatred and vitriol at someone is REALLY going to do anything but make you look like a jackass?
So what if this person shops at Target? Maybe they are uninformed. Maybe they don’t understand. Maybe they just prefer Target to W*lmart. Or, God forbid, THEY JUST DON’T CARE. Why can’t we just keep our nastiness and high-horses to ourselves?
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Three hundred and sixty five days. That’s how long it’s been since my entire life, our entire life, changed forever.
I’m not certain when things started to go wrong. I’ve searched in my memories, in old journals and blog posts and conversations with close friends, and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive time of “THAT! Yes, that. That is when you should have left him.”
Regardless, one year has brought us to an entirely different place. A different state, a different relationship, a different and deeper love for someone else. A different heart, a different mindset. My child is different, and sometimes I wonder what she would have turned out to be had her father been the one to be by my side for the rest of her life to raise her. If my someone and I eventually married, she still would have a different life than what I had planned for her. How will this affect who she becomes?
How has it affected who I’ve become? I’m certainly nowhere near the same person I was. I love my child deeper, but it’s taken a lot longer to trust my someone the way he deserves. Somedays, I still question. I’ve tried to push him away again and again. But he loves me, wholeheartedly, baggage and all.
I had absolutely no intentions of getting into a relationship for months, possibly years after my husband and I split up. But this incredible person, this heart-shaped gem, this rare gift, found me. Chose me. Loved me. Inspired me to be better, to get better, and to continue getting better. I still have a long way to go, but with his guidance and support, as well as the love of the God I know in my heart, and the incredible friends I have in real-life and in the online world, I will not just survive: my daughter and I will thrive and be something, do something great.
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