I can’t sleep. I’ve taken my Ambien and yet sleep eludes. Frustrating, not surprising. Last night was like this too, and a few nights before that.
On Monday, we went to the fair, my Grandma and myself. It’s kind of become tradition for us to go to the state fair and walk around, eat junk food and of course get soaked, because we always go on the last day and it rains like the dickens.
When we first arrived at the fair, bright eyed and ready to shove sugar and fried goods down our throats and spend sopping wet bills on things we didn’t need, we didn’t expect to walk across a miracle.
An amazing, incredible, miracle.
Eight years ago and two hours and eight minutes ago, as I’m typing this.
My cousin was murdered. Shot to death on September 9 at 10pm.
And today, right now in this moment, I breathe oxygen into my lungs while he lays beneath the cold dark ground and I can feel my emotions breaking. It’s been eight years since my cousin, who was also my friend, but also a brother in every way that counts died. .he’s dead and gone.
Buried and over. I still breathe and he slumbers. It’s been eight years and yet the pain is still fresh. Still wraps it’s way through my lungs, squeezing the life from them. My tears begin to seep from beneath my lashes and blur the very words that I type.
Eight years. I’m astonished that eight years could blink and be gone, and yet they have and all I have to do is blink and I’m standing there watching while they lower him into the cold dark ground.
After he died, we each dealt with our pain in different ways. Some of us cared, some of us became apathetic and annoyed, others became angry. There is no right way to grieve. And when it’s murder and it’s sudden and it screams in your face while it rips it’s talons through your chest to rip out this person that you’ve loved – it hurts.
It hurts. That doesn’t even cover it. It’s excruciating. the worst mind numbing, gut churning, steal the oxygen from my lungs, my heart is aching and breaking with bone deep devastation of losing, of having a part of my very heart and soul stolen from me in such a vicious way.
We’ve each, my family and myself, dealt with this differently like I said. I myself found myself going down the sobbing,
breaking BROKEN, destroyed and pissed off path. It’s taken me years, absolute gut churning years to speak about him and not sob through my words, to not want to scream myself bloody.
I still struggle. I’ll always struggle.
It’s like that quote by E.E. Cummings in the platonic sense of the quote,
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)
I carry those I’ve lost within my heart, they reside there, with me. Though death has attempted to painfully rip them from my chest. I fight back.
I will always remember them and never forget. Never forget that I loved them, that they mattered and that they were mine and I was theirs.
My miracle on Monday was a kind of woman sitting in a tent surrounded by tombstones, while she sniffled away in a corner against the chill that had the ability to seep into your bones and steal all of your warmth.
My miracle was that even though we were surrounded by cotton candy, kids screaming on rides and people splashing through puddles, like a guided gut instinct I chose to take a path at the Fair that I NEVER take and there to my left and one of the first tents, she sat.
My miracle is that eight years later, I watched someone I love get placed deep within the ground, I threw a rose atop his coffin that seemed as if the hand of death itself was swallowing him whole, my rose joined the roses thrown before it and I cried.
I wasn’t breaking, I was broken.
When I walked away from that hole, I vowed that I would be back. To see him, talk to him. To heal.
To heal my brokenness and realize that death may have valiantly attempted to rip him from my heart, death had failed. He may be gone from this life, but he still resides within the recesses of my heart and soul and I guard what’s mine ferociously.
For eight years I went back, I sobbed, and I sat on his grave and raged and I questioned and I healed. Even dead, he was and is still there for me.
Each time I made an appearance I saw that same plastic placed.
No stone. No memory etched deeply within granite and cemented atop so that not even time itself could forget him.
For eight years I struggled with my anger over this, over him not being remembered the way I thought he should have been. I struggled.
My finances were and still are tight, I’m a starving artist who pens words upon paper, watching while others pick said paper up and blow their nose with it.
So on Monday, after eight years and a defeat so great, I stepped into a miracle. On the spot, in the most unlikely place, I found a granite stone for my cousin’s grave. Finally.
And tomorrow, or today rather, the day that I found out he was gone forever, we’re going to go and say hello and cry and grieve and heal as we finally place stone, physical proof that a piece of our love and family lies beneath and within our hearts.
Finally this place that I cherish, where this person I loved rests eternal, he finally has more than a piece of plastic that can blow away on the wind.
Cotton candy & miracles & late night musings. . .
Find the ones you love, and hold them tightly, build as many memories as you can stuff into this living breathing life, for one day, those you love will pass and for awhile you’ll forget that they’re with you, you’ll rage and you’ll cry, and you’ll fall beneath the weight of a loss so deep it paralyzes.
And then, when you least expect it, you’ll feel them, you’ll remember all of the memories you hid within your heart, that not even death can steal and you’ll truly begin to heal.
Love them. Love each other. Platonic. Non-Platonic. Hoard your memories and when death comes knocking to steal that love away, never forget that death can’t take what it doesn’t own and it doesn’t own you for you still breathe.
Tell others these memories and maybe then bits and baubles and pieces and parts of us can stay alive in the hearts of those who loved us and those who love them as death cycles through.
“We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” DW