"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

16 July 2013

With Sympathy

It is a horrible thing to watch someone die. Even and especially by slow degrees; chronic illness, terminal disease-one and the same?-mechanical pantomimes. It is a slow torture for all the parties involved, and anyone who would say different is either daft or selling something.

She's gone now, and, as the worst kind of bastard with the morals-ha!-of an alley cat, as your friend, I can only speak in truths...

You are not going to get over this. Ever. Sure, after a while you reach a point where the void where that person was is not so cold and bottomless, but it'll always be there. Something, anything, will reach out of the nowhere and remind you of what you've lost. What was once there and can never be recovered.

There will be regrets. All the memories and stories and little moments. Gone now. You will wish you listened more. Took more note. Relished those small times. Shown more gratitude for what was soft and warm and unspoken.

You might not sleep much at first. Your dreams will be haunted by that phantasm. Then, one day, you will just crash; entering into a dreamless sleep that seems to last for days. That may just be the day the psychic scab starts to form.

Cry. Be angry. Shout and scream and punch something. Purge the ire, do not let it fester and poison you. Mourn. Allow yourself that.

Watch the sun rise. Watch it set. Snuggle with your daughter and your boyfriend, perhaps at the same time. Tell stories and smile. Walk. Breathe. Live. Allow yourself that.

It's not going to be easy. How the fuck could it be? This is Hell and cobwebs and gravedust and razorblades and maggots. It'd be an outright lie to say otherwise.

But, you're a fighter. You will survive this. If for no other reason than it is not in your nature to just up and quit.

It's a horrible thing to watch someone die. I know this. You know this. We've both been here before and we'll be here again. That's just the way of it. Just know, I can only speak to you in truths and I've got your shadow.

My sympathies...


  1. Damn Robbie this was super-powerful. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said to ALLOW ourselves to feel the grief and to mourn. Those feelings need an outlet. Well-said.

    1. The other option is psychic toxicity. My best friend's husband's going through that presently and is finally agreed to seek help.

  2. Great post, Robbie, though a painful reminder that I've also been there, done that, and try not to wear the tee shirt so much these days.

    Loved the last line...

    1. I've mentioned before how I used to dance with the dead for money; triaging potential organ and tissue donors. There were those who thought I was good at what I did and encouraged me to move further, but to do so, I'd have to deal with grieving next of kin. What i said here is precisely why I never did; I couldn't sugar-coat the loss enough to then proselytize the benefits of transplant.

  3. Wow....all the way around. And triaging potential organ doners? Wow again. This was agonizing and amazing in the same moment. I've got the chills. (and as I just tucked my 97 year-old grandmother in for a morning nap....so, so real)

    1. It was a rewarding, albeit psychically taxing gig. If there was ever any doubt as to the fragility of life, the capacity for altruism, but also selfishness, doing that cleared it up for me.