Tuesday, August 22, 2017

To my brother, from Angela







brother-


I can't make myself start this letter in a formal manner.
 Maybe it is because I could never imagine a time where we would 
have used words as simple as “Dear -----“ to address anything. 

I thought of just using your name and a comma and that seemed 
much more familiar. Perhaps even too familiar. I let my mind run 
that thought trail to the end and found myself pretending I was 
writing you in jail again and that your absence was due to the bars 
that divided us instead. 

Those Sunday visits through bulletproof glass, the multiple court 
hearings and cigarettes in the court yard, the handcuffs and the 
tears-your tears, how scared you were of jail and the way you chewed 
your nails all the way down your fingertips until they bled; these images 
still sometimes haunt me at night.








You seemed to squint more, the further away into the distance that 
you stared when you were scared. I always wished I could show fear 
and admit weakness and shed tears, the way that you could. I am open,
honest and raw today, because I hated myself for never being those 
things when you were still here.

I sing on stage today, because I was terrified of never being good enough 
to be on one with you. Some things I can never replace, heal or erase, 
but I can recreate and I have, and I will. I think you would enjoy my company 

these days, brother. And how I hate that you are not able to. 

I search your name on YouTube and more and more people are covering your 
songs. The fact that you were never able to see the ripple that you sent through
all of us when you left, is the irony of death I suppose. Such a finality to such a
powerful person and yet such an infinite energy that flows from the words that
you left behind.

I don't think I will ever forgive the circumstance that took you 
from me, and that circumstance was not the one you breathed your last breath in. 
Way back farther than that violent fire that stole your voice; before jail and rehab
across the states, all the way back to when you were in the next room and I was 
still a stranger to you. 

Growing up is always difficult. Most everyone has a story to tell and most aren't pretty. 
Some are so daunting that the only way to share them, is to those who can read our 
unspoken stories in our eyes. You were that person that both carried such a story and 
also read the eyes of those who mutually suffered. Though our own traumas prevented 
us from ever bridging the gap to speak about them to each other, I could look across a 
room at you and not only know that you knew, but also that you understood

I remember listening to you learn to play the guitar to Chet Atkins LP’s that we checked 
out at the library. The way that tiny little guitar of dad’s bore his teeth marks on top of 
the body always amused you. I guess it amused us all. Dad pulled that old thing out the 
other day and played it for a few minutes. The teeth marks were what I recognized 
immediately after 23 years of having not seen it. Your hard hat is still lying in his hallway 
floor where you left it almost seven years ago. Sometimes I wonder if he will ever move it,
or if that will be something that I will end up doing whenever he has left us as well.

The last time I saw you, you were angry. Not necessarily with me particularly, but pieces 
of the agitation were tossed in my direction. Your eyes stayed squinted that entire day and 
your brows never softened once. I am sorry that you were conned into a family moving day 
to help me unload a Budget Rental Truck, when I was so sick. I also am sorry that you felt 
obligated to be at a family dinner; that always overwhelmed you. If I knew that I would 
never see you again I don't know exactly how I would have spent that evening with you, 
but it certainly wouldn't have ended with me looking at our brother and saying that I didn't 
know if I had ever been so relieved to see you leave before. We wouldn't have laughed 
about that and said that hopefully you went somewhere and calmed the hell down. I bet 
I would have even helped you figure out the radio in my car that you were riding home in.

I will never forget the way the tail lights of that car looked as you and dad pulled out of 
mom’s driveway on Winter Solstice in 2010. You were here with us for seven full days 
after that, but I didn't see your face again until it was vacant and beneath a singed beard

Your love is who told me you were gone. You would have wanted it to be that way. As 
much as it unnerved you to think that we may ever possibly flirt with one another, you
knew that we would always take care of each other and no matter how many years passed
by without you, we would die for one another. Perhaps we could even keep each other from 
losing it completely when we said goodbye to you. I let mom and dad and our brother know 
that we had lost you. 

To this day, I don't know which one was the hardest to do. I can still recall every second 
of each exchange. You cannot ever be prepared to make those phone calls. Ever. 

Your daughter looks like a carbon copy of me at her age. I wish that I could tell you that 
I knew what her favorite color was, or that we have the best weekends when she visits. 
I would love to tell you what her favorite song is, or about trips that I have taken her on.
I do not have those things to tell you. The times that I have been around her however,
I stand in awe of your expressions and eyes pouring out of her. It isn't something that I 
thought I would ever see again when you left.

Our daughters are close and love each other. If nothing else ever grows from the entire 
situation, that in itself would make you happy. It makes me happy. I know that you were 
terrified of being a parent and I also understand why. Those same reasons were vomited 
into an alleyway the day I realized that I was becoming one. You were going to stay with
me on the weekends that you had your daughter. I actually looked forward to that added 
stressor because I knew that in the end that little girl would be my whole world. 

My daughter was four and a half when yours was born. I imagined those ridiculous family 
get togethers that you despised, and smiled at the thought of our children running around 
the way you and I used to pretend that we would someday. She will be seven in October 
and my daughter is eleven now. She will be here tonight. At my house. For the first time 
in her life, she will wake up in her aunt’s home and have no idea how many times she was 
supposed to have already done that. Her eyes are captivating like yours were but she 
doesn't know that. 

The drugs that stole your spirited core and left a riddled, broken boy, also allowed 
you to process the stories in your head. I know why you needed synthetics to feel and 
also not to feel, when needed as well. I understand why you couldn't be close to me and 
why we have very few stories that are shared. I haven't forgotten any of yours either. 

I hated when you would meet my eyes after that board was used across your back. 
Though we all knew the rules, we also all knew that each person involved felt a very 
different form of pain in each occurrence. I thought you were the strongest person in 
the world and I wanted to be just like you. Even after you were kicked out at seventeen 
years old and I had no idea where you were, I still felt you. Your words and voice played 
over and over in my head and goddamn if they still don't. 

Sitting in the bars at thirteen years old, I heard you scream your pain through the saddest 
lyrics I had ever heard in my life. I felt every single line and wanted everyone to hear your 
songs so they would know how I felt too. You always said it best. My friends adored you too. 
We all played your music and tried to make it to each of your shows. 

I remember holding you in my arms while you broke down and grieved your own 
life in the most innocent and infantile manner I had ever seen from a 28 year old. 
I remember watching you spit and shake and grind your teeth and body after too 
much cocaine when you were 27. I recall driving to Johnson City to Blankenship
Pharmacy at 3am, to look for the phone booth you had called me from an hour earlier. 

All I knew was that you didn't have shoes on, you were drunk and had tried to leap 
off a counter onto the butcher knife, that you still had in your hands when you called me 
crying. I remember taking you home with to detox, several times. Frisbee. Waffle 
House adventures. You teaching me how to drink gas station beer. Bare feet. 
Songs written on a twin bed in the projects. All the times I helped you with your dates 
and/or their children. Those times that you would get tears in your eyes and tell me 
what a good person that I was and what a good sister I was and how you didn't understand 
how I always kept everything together.

 I wanted to tell you that I didn't. I wanted to tell you that I was just as fucked up as 
you, but I never did. You didn't know how many nights I fell asleep drunk, alone. 
You never knew how many times I gave up. You also never knew that I forgave you, 
and I didn't know you even remembered until after you were gone and your friend told 
me about your guilt. I don't know why we never sat down and talked and now I would 
go through every bit of again just to be able to backtrack enough for you to know that 
it was ok and you were ok.





Your house that day was beyond wretched. Enough snow on the ground to make 

a muddy mess out of every where all your friends and fans had traipsed. Family
wasn't there that day, not the blood related ones. They stood across the street and 
watched your people grieve and scream, as the smoke still drifted off the roof. I didn't 
get to the house until after dark. The condemned sign on the door and black soot on 
everything was sickening. They let us go in and get what was left of your stuff and I 
can still close my eyes and smell that horrible poison that killed you. Most of the structure 
of the house was saved and I know you would be happy to know that your favorite place
that you ever lived has finally been restored and another beautiful person now resides there. 

I couldn't tell you how many times I have sat on the porch of that house over the last 
six and a half years and pictured every second of your last morning. Were you scared 
when you realized that she wasn't on the couch? Did you try to call out for her or for help? 
Was Lucy able to at least hear you and were you two able to feel each other and know you 
were not dying alone? Did you even know that Lucy didn't make it either? Both of 
your beautiful faces hang in frames at Machiavelli’s now. Brian’s as well, we lost him 
last year and somehow the universe gave me the ironic duty to not only be the one to 
find him dead in his home, but to also be the one to make another one of those phone calls. 
Telling my sister that she had lost the second love of her life was surreal and tragic in a 
way that no one should understand. But, I do. 

Death- the big scary monster that we hear about our entire lives and yet have no way 
to ever begin to fathom what it really is. No way for us to even dread such a thing 
that we can't describe or depict in any manner until it crawls up from the floor and 
grabs us by the throat. 

I buried my grandma, my father- figure and my baby cousin all before I turned eighteen 
years old. None of which prepared me to what I would feel that morning in Cleveland, 
Tennessee. 

You were at a Jill Andrews show at a house party the night before the fire. 
I was staying the first night in my new apartment that you'd helped me move into 
seven days prior. I was very ill, attempting to dissolve an unhealthy relationship and 
stumbling through the remnants of a pretty deep depression that had attempted to 
smother me yet again.

 I recall seeing you update your status on Facebook to “Amazingness” and smiling,
knowing that you were listening to Jill and how jealous I was. I remember picking up 
my phone to text you and something distracting me. To the best of my knowledge, 
we never talked that night. I silenced my phone before bed because I was hoping to 
sleep in that morning. 

I didn't though, I woke several times and even heard my phone vibrating at some point. 
When I saw that I had three missed calls and two texts from Mitz, my tongue fell to 
the back of my throat. I didn't listen to the voicemail until I had made it all the way past 
my four year old at her desk, my friend and her sixteen year old in the living room, and 
out the front door. I wanted to be somewhere alone and was pretty certain that I needed 
to be sitting down when I heard that message. 

Her voice was quaking and stretched as she said, “It's your sister, and I need you to 
call me back. I am having a hard time swallowing the news that I have just heard.” 
Her texts basically stated the same. My thoughts spun out of control. Overdose. 
Suicide. Car accident. Arrested. All the scenarios were shot through my thoughts 
like epinephrine to my heart as it sped up. Sweat begin to wet my forehead as I called 
her back. She didn't say hello, she just asked me if I was sitting down and when I 
confirmed she said that there was a fire at Greystone. She said there were two casualties 
and one was a female and one was the middle aged male resident of the upstairs apartment. 

32 can't be middle aged, right? She gave me the phone number and name of a detective 
to contact. I numbly called and introduced myself by name. They immediately passed 
me off to the officer on the case. They knew who I was. He told me that they needed 
someone to come in and make a positive ID on the body. You immediately became a 
body. A victim. A case number. I asked again if they knew it was you. They told me 
that they had someone they wanted me to talk to and put Jess on the phone. She was 
too hysterical to tell me much, but her terror and panic told me enough. The detective 
again told me that they had the male resident of the upstairs apartment at 804 Cumberland,
and needed a next of kin to come down. 

I hung up and called your love back. I couldn't call our parents yet. I just couldn't. 
After confirming her worst fear, I again hung up and sat on those stairs outside my 
apartment, holding the heaviest truth I had ever felt, like the biggest secret I hoped 
I would never know. My neighbors passed me in the breezeway and spoke. I wanted to 
scream at them, “don't you dare fucking act like life is still happening, don't pretend 
that everything I ever knew to be, isn't gone. do not act like my brother isn't dead.”

I instead told them good morning and tried to figure out if my intestines were truly 
tying themselves in knots as I sat there. Dead. My oldest brother was dead. It was 
not quite ten AMand I had to call someone and tell them. I couldn't sit there knowing 
you were gone alone, any more. I called dad.

I had to stop writing this and take a break. I still cannot remember our parents during 
this day without turning inside out. I called dad. He answered in the middle of his 
morning routine and muttered something about the phone ringing off the wall.
I asked if he had listened to any of the messages left yet and he told me that he was 
still trying to get ready for the day and get out the door. I told him to sit down and that 
I had to tell him awful news. I told him exactly what had been told to me, like I was 
reading a script and he replied in much the same way. As he was hanging up to head 
out to identify your body, I heard the detective knocking on that old trailer door. 

I thank the universe daily that I made that call when I did and that our father at least
heard that you were gone, from me. 

I called our brother incessantly, but as you know, if he's asleep, it's impossible to 
wake him. Remember when we used to say that we hoped he was never in a fire 
because he wouldn't wake to the fire alarm? Yeah, we don't say that anymore. It 
was two in the afternoon before I was able to get ahold of him. In the meantime, 
I decided to drive to mom’s to tell her. The friend that was driving me made the 
call to give them a heads up and I ended up having to tell her on the phone as well. 

When I did get there, I heard her. Her grief that day is forever engrained into my brain. 
When our brother called me back, he asked what was going on because he too had 
so many missed calls and messages and figured he should call me first. I was not as
 diplomatic with him. My voice shook. I vomited. He was unable to speak and decided 
to hang up, process and talk to me after the shock wore off enough to breathe. I do not 
know why I was asked to be the one to tell each of our family members the devastation, 
but I also am grateful that they didn't hear about it any other way. 

We saw you before they cremated your body. Dad and the brother didn't want to, 
but I couldn't let mom go in there alone. I will never forget staring at your face and 
waiting for it to flinch. Almost as angry that I even expected it to, as I was that it 
never would again. 

They had your hair combed back and you would have been terribly 
bothered by how much it displayed your receding hairline. I cut curls from the back 
of your head and was almost sure you would sit up any second and ask me what the 
hell I was doing. Mom wanted to touch your skin and pulled the sheet back from your 
chest. I don't think she thought about the autopsy they had performed, but I will never 
forget that horrifying image. I vomited in the parking lot that day and knew that a part 
of my soul was gone and I would never, ever get it back. 

It took them a few days to complete the cremation and prepare your ashes. We picked
them up in a little, gray container that our mother carried in her lap all the way to 
the river from the funeral home. The most defining moment in my existence was the 
moment that I took a shot glass full of your remains, and poured them into your favorite 
river. 

I walked away that day, half dead and half unwilling to ever be anything more. 
After losing you, I moved out of that haunted apartment and went back home. I couldn't 
stop taking the pills to drown my agony, and my agony was too painful to be around a 
five year old, so I self medicated. I moved to the Midwest for five years and straightened 
myself out. I worked my way up from minimum wage to a salary case manager position 
for the county out there. I helped so many juveniles and healed myself a whole lot during. 

It was the best thing that I ever did for myself or my child, and it is still hard for me to 
wrap my head around the entire segment of my life, occurring without your existence. 

I moved back home last year and have created a little world to take root in. I finally 
finished my Associate of Science degree and have a pretty stable existence. I think about 
you every day. Especially now that I live in your old hometown. All the old buildings and 
street corners that you lived in or on, catch my eye. 

I think of all the gigs at Buc’s Pizza, DownHome, The Otter, Apex, and Numan’s 
and it shreds my guts. You shouldn't have died in that house, brother. I will never 
be able to express that enough. I needed you to stay here and get to know me and 
get over our cursed childhood together. 

You were supposed to be here to see your eleven year old niece get up in front 
of over 500 people and sing a solo a capella, and absolutely wear it out with 
that music in our bones. You are supposed to be here tonight, when your daughter 
gets to my house, and you are supposed to help me finish this six pack and kiss me 
on the forehead and call me “baby” one more time. 

I will never get over losing you, but I have pledged my life to surviving no matter what
it looks like. I won't let your words die and I will never let your daughter not know them 
either. I will hold her extra tight for you tonight, and I hope that when she looks at me 
with those eyes of wonder, that I can but for a second, see you looking back.

-ang








Saturday, April 8, 2017

To Steve, from Lauren

Dear Steven,

It was only a few days ago that we sat together in my kitchen. I made you your coffee with a cube of ice in it. I kissed you goodbye for the day not knowing I would never see you again. For only two months I thought I found the right man. I thought that even through your divorce you were standing on your own two feet and you loved your son so much. You were smart and you made me laugh. We laughed a lot. We obsessed over space theories and the stars. You loved the way I smelled and you were always playing with my hair. 

I keep thinking of the night we went out for pizza, you loved good pizza, you sat across from me and I admired the scruff on your face. You kept growing it out for me. I loved nuzzling my face into yours. I’d burry myself into that scruff and just smell you. I know its weird but I ache for that smell again. Your touch made me feel safe and the way you held my hands. Laying on your chest even though you were a hot box in bed. You once fell asleep in my hair. I was heating up so fast and sweating but I didn’t want to move because you were right there. You were right there and now you aren’t. 

I keep going over everything we said to each other in my mind. I know your childhood was hard. I can still see your eyes turning red when you told me about your mother. Or how much you were missing Chase and how you cried when he was born. I know you were in pain. I am too. We all are at times. After your DUI you got darker. I should’ve been more supportive about it. I know you were mad at yourself. You kept saying you didn’t want to burden me with your problems but I wanted to listen. You listened to me. You felt alone inside and so do I. You said you felt better when you were with me. Why couldn’t you have been with me on Thursday? I wasn’t mad at your texts that morning. I know you were warning me and you didn’t want me to get hurt. I was afraid but I still wanted to hold you and encourage you to get help. All I can think about now is the last few things you said to me, “I wish I never said the things I did last night. I don’t want to breakup. Are you still my girlfriend?” Then you said you were going to Chicago. That’s it. I’ll never know if you crashed by accident or you did it on purpose. I have no closure and it will haunt me forever. It will haunt your family forever. 

I didn’t want to breakup either, Steven. I wanted you to see a doctor. I will miss driving around looking at all your favorite spots and homes. I know you never got to live out west but you could have some day. Your dreams weren’t ruined. I will miss giggling at Youtube videos with you and talking all night like teenagers. We were excited about each other. We never got enough sleep. I realize now that there were more layers to you I just didn’t know about. I never thought you would go through with it or be that destructive. You must have been in so much pain and I’ll never understand the full magnitude of it. You were a good man and a perfect example of someone who could have turned it all around. You supported me and you were compassionate to my weaknesses. I would give anything to go back in time. I just want to run to my closet and smell you on my sheets and cry and cry for you.

I will always love who you were and I will never forget you






Friday, March 10, 2017

To Mom, from Irene

Mom,

I miss you every day. I never knew the depth of grief you felt when you lost your mom,
until I lost you. I feel like the last year prepared me but also took me away from you way
too early. We knew you were dying, but I don't know how much I realized that it was
coming so fast and how it would feel after.  I didn't know how much I'd miss all the little
things. First it was your voice I missed, and now it's every thing.

We shared a sense of humour and love of life. You gave me many gifts over the years.
The gift of laughter and appreciation for humour. The gift of loving animals and nature.
The gift of learning about myself and being proud to be a strong woman. I wish many 
times I were stronger, but you always were my #1 supporter and cheerleader. And now 
don't have that. I never knew how much I would miss that!

I wish I had a better chance to say goodbye to you. To say "mom, you lived a beautiful
life and I hope you saw that. I hope you saw how many people you touched. I hope you
saw the lasting legacy you left behind. Your grandchildren's smiles and laughter. Your 
adult children who despite our differences turned out okay and in one piece! The 
countless people you counselled and were a friend to. Your husband who you were
partners with for over 40 years and had a lovely life.

I hope you don't have regrets. I hope you are still out there somewhere. Maybe 
reincarnated or an angel or something. I hope you can hear me when I whisper to
you and tell you I miss you.

I love you mom and I miss you every day. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

To Linda, from Bridget




Dear Linda,
This isn’t the first message I’ve written to you. I penned out a couple of pages
right after you died, and sent another short one to you online. I’m compelled
to write again today because I saw you last night. It was just a dream, and I
know it wasn’t really you, but you were there anyway. You were already sick,
with papery skin and a crochet hat to cover your bare head. It was just last
night and I already forget most of it. I think you were trying to warn me about
your sickness, to give me more time with you. I missed almost all of your last
year of life. It was kind of your fault, because you kept turning me away when
I asked to visit, but I could have pushed harder. Instead, I got to see you twice
shortly before you died. I’m so thankful for that, but I wanted more.

You said goodbye to me on the last visit that I had with you when you were coherent.
That might have been a week or so before you died. You were in and out a little bit
then, and you knew the end was near. How heartbreaking to have my dying friend
know that she was leaving soon, and to tell me that she’d miss me and would see
me in Heaven. I’m fighting tears at the thought. You told me to tell my husband that
you loved him, and I never did. I never managed to form the words.
I had to take a little break there. Kept crying. I’m going to try not to for the rest of this. 

It’s been 6 and a half months. I think about you most days in some way. I couldn’t
talk about you without crying at first. That’s gotten better. I don’t miss you less,
but I can function more easily. You were one of my very best friends, despite the
30 years between our ages. I’ll forever miss our easy lunches, our silly shopping trips,
your quick meals that you’d always throw together for me so I would never leave your
house hungry. You truly were a second mother to me, often kinder than my own mother.
Certainly more understanding, at least. Not that I don’t love her, but she raised me.
She had to be firm and you never did.
My husband and I have been trying to have a baby since right after you died. Years ago
you told me you had babysitting dibs and wanted to be an adopted grandma for my baby.
I’m heartbroken that you never will. I had a miscarriage in August and I hope that you’re
looking after that baby. 

Even after all this time, it’s still unreal. I often expect to bump into you at the store on accident,
like I used to. Or I’ll see you behind the wheel of some car on the road. You’re everywhere.
And nowhere.

This has taken on a major rambling quality. No poetry here, huh? But there’s not much
poetic about cancer and dying, is there? Just know that I love you and miss you as much
as ever and that there’s little I wouldn’t give for another lunch with you. We’d pack a
lifetime’s worth of visiting into those couple of hours. I’ll see you in Heaven.

So much love,
Bridget

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

To Sammy, From Isabelle

Dear Sammy,
It's the four year anniversary of your death. I miss you so much, I
can't even describe it.

I never got to meet you but you saved my life,

and I never got to thank you.

We have the same birthday. I am now

exactly the same age you were when you died.

You once told me that the 
iron in our blood can only
be found in dying stars, that we're being
kept alive by stardust. That really helped me. I'm getting a star
tattoo on my wrist for our birthday.

I wrote a "letter" to you for

English and my teacher said it was one of the best things
she had ever 
read. It was basically a watered-down version of this,
but God, I just 
have so much to say that I couldn't let a teacher read.

I don't know 
if I can say how much you meant to me, how much 
you still mean to me. I'll never get to hug you, or thank you for pulling
me out of that dark place I was in during 9th grade, or say goodbye, 
and nobody will ever know who they guy that hit you was, 
or what he was thinking when he just drove away after hitting another person 
with his car, or what your last words were. 

There are so many thibgs I wish we could have
done, and now none of that is possible. I'm really sorry it took me
this long to try to talk to you, but I honestly haven't been able to
even think about it.

 I thought of the idea of writing to you a few

days ago, and to be honest, I'm not sue if this will work but even if
it doesn't, I'll be able to get all my feelings out, and if it does
work, then you'll know how much you impacted my life.
I love you and I miss you and I hope you're happy wherever you are,
Isabelle

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

To: Fryderyk Chopin. From: A person you might or might not know, a person which admires you






Dear Fryderyk, I've heard a lot about Your suffering through your life.
I feel very close to you, alttough we both are from different centuries.

Sometimes you appear in my dreams, and your great music too.
Those dreams kind of work as if they were my memories. Sleeping to your
music gives me very intense feelings such as my muscles jumping around, 
and all the things. It's because I have great empathy to what it must've feel 
like having rhe nightmares you had. You know which nightmares.

Your music is a reflection of your deep feelings. For me it works as if you're
telling me the story. I admire your music because It's my pleasure knowing
all this sorrow, beauty, all of this power lies in your music, knowing you were
able to write it all down in letters and your music.  which travels trough my
muscles when I fall asleep to your great art. You'd be surprised how much I
know about you. Some things I get from studies, but the rest comes to my
head as an information with an unknown source.

Yes, I know you had nightmares. Your muscles did the same those nights right?
And when you started coughing up blood, it all got worse. All this traumatic
memories from your illness, when you were a child. I get homesick for Poland
every time I hear your music. Those days in Paris...Yes...I know. I wasn't born
 in Poland, but I guess your music transfers it all to my veins. I was born in Prague.

 I'm not a psychic medium, but I'd love to meet you closer. I know we have a lot to
tell to each other. But how? Letters? Send them where? The world you're at is made
from spirit. Altrough there's a barrier between two of us, I think we would find a way
how could I have a talk with you. A talk from mine world, and you from yours.

Please send me a letter, I believe spirits have such abilities. Please talk to me,
please at least just try. Your music brings an empathy with your sorrows to me,
it makes me happy that this letter is a hope that you might read it. Thank you
and sending you much love from the material world for all of those who mourn
for you and to those who like your music and like you too. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

To Doug from Debbie.

To: Doug  From: Debbie


I always thought that I'd see you again.

I never imagined that time would be so short, that you'd just drop dead at 52. 
Shopping for a toaster on New Years Eve. How ridiculously mundane. 
You'd be so embarrassed if you knew.

I never ever stopped loving you, you know. Well no, no, I guess you
didn't know. You didn't know that that was why I couldn't see you.
It could have spoiled everything. Our lives had already been ripped
to shreds once. I couldn't do that again, couldn't risk what I'd made
out of the ashes. It was never your fault, you tried so damned
hard to do the right thing, but my parents wouldn't let you and we
were both too young and naive to know how to make things turn out
differently. And then after, after,I just couldn't stay with you and keep
on living. I just couldn't imagine how to keep looking into your eyes
and not see hers, forever and ever and ever, and I couldn't
figure out how to leave you without being cruel. I'm sure you never 
knew how much I hated myself for that.

When I found her I thought my heart would just stop beating, or that it would 
beat its way out of my chest. The first time I talked to her on the phone I 
kept holding my breath, so anxious to hear her every word, every movement, 
every breath, so anxious to say only the right things, to be what she needed 
me to be and not to say anything that might spook her or scare her or claim 
anything at all. I told her, that very first time, that I knew where you were,
 that I had all your information and could give it to her when she wanted. 
She wasn't ready. She hadn't even yet thought about finding a father, at all,
 she was looking for her mother, looking for me, looking for ME, 
how amazing, looking for me. 

And so I waited, and then, of course, of course, it shattered us once again. 
Christmas day, early, you called me out of the blue, so unexpected after so 
many years, you called me to give me the exciting news, you'd found her,
 found our daughter, she'd been looking for me, posted online looking for me, 
you'd found her. You'd found her. You were so happy to give me this gift. 
I had just moments, a breath, a heartbeat, to think, to decide... and then I 
told you the truth, that I'd found her too, just months ago, that we'd talked, 
that I'd given her your information but she wasn't ready yet to talk to you...
 I could hear your heart breaking over the phone.  I told you I was sure she'd 
contact you, maybe not soon, she had a new baby and all, but she would 
contact you, certainly, sometime, absolutely. I wrote down your email address 
for her, your new phone number. You said goodbye. I sat quietly with my 
husband watching me cry as my heart broke once more. 

Twenty four years on, and the pain still fresh and raw as the day I let her 
be taken from my arms.

We never spoke again. Nine more years, and we never spoke again. 

I guess you never forgave me for not letting you know I'd found her right away,
 for choosing to honor her wishes. Even after she'd contacted you, you never 
forgave me, I guess. But I'll never know, will I? I'll never ever know. I thought 
there was plenty of time.  I kept thinking I'd call you again someday. Someday,
 someday. Or you'd call me. Or she'd get us together. Something. Someday.
 I never ever imagined that that call was the end, forever. I'd have kept you 
on the line longer, had I known.

I hadn't heard from her in many months when she called to tell me you were 
dead, that your sister had found information about her in your belongings 
and had contacted her to let her know. She wanted to be the one to tell me. 
She knew I'd want to know. Your death brought us closer together once again. 
One last little irony.  

I always thought that I'd see you again. 

Damn it Doug. 

I always thought I'd see you again, when we were old and gray and it 
couldn't hurt any more. People in your family didn't die young, after all. 
Your much older sisters are both still alive, 10 years after your death. 

Damn it, Doug. 

Damn it. 

I always thought that I'd see you again.