Tag Archive | loss

No one ever said it would be easy



I’ve been alone for four-and-a-half years now. Sometimes, I count each year on my fingers and when I get to the half-a-year, I try to figure out a way to represent that with a whole finger. I wonder if I should cut off the finger or just bend the thumb. The thumb seems to be the most flexible on my left hand. I don’t mind the loneliness anymore—truth is that I don’t even feel it anymore. I’ve worked hard to overcome that most primitive human need for companionship, for affection, for love and now I accept the solitude; I even crave it. It wasn’t easy. No one ever said it would be easy.

During the first year, maybe a little longer, I remained numb. Reality didn’t sink in until I stopped talking to myself. I’ve since resumed talking to myself, my dog, my walls—anything really. I know that the echoes of my horrible voice will simply rise to the ceiling and then crash to the floor. Then I think that is one of the reasons people avoid me—my voice. I was born a girl, and every time I check—I’m still a girl, but my voice sounds like a heavy cable catching on the gears of an elevator. Can you imagine that? A small-framed woman with a booming voice like a faulty elevator cable—ugh. I consider all the nouns used to describe women—princess, angel, chick, babe, diva—and they all have one thing in common—the perfect sound. Stop laughing; they do. Close your eyes, picture each noun, and imagine how they sound when they talk. Heavenly, isn’t it? My husband once told me that was just one of the things that he found attractive about me—my voice. He always thought the raspy voice sounded sexy. He was twitterpated. Without him telling me how much he loved it, it took almost five years to accept my voice with all its deep raspy tones, but I’ve finally realized that it doesn’t matter how I sound; it’s what I have to say that matters. It wasn’t easy. No one ever said it would be easy.

The second year passed; there was still numbness, but it was like when your foot goes to sleep and the feeling starts to return—you know that weird, tingly feeling, sort of like needles pricking your skin all the way to the bone—it was like that. That was the year I had a breakdown because of a milk jug. Seriously—a milk jug. I was getting a glass of milk; I still drank the two percent then, but switched to skim milk since. There I was with the milk jug in my hand and it hit me—I could drink directly from the jug if I wanted. Just like that—BAM—the realization that I was truly—alone. I dropped the milk jug, spilling milk everywhere and fell to my knees. Remember the voice—yes, well; the hysterical cry is not a pretty thing either. It’s not that I wanted to drink from the jug—I didn’t; I just wanted him there to say, “Relinda, don’t drink from the jug.” He would know if the temptation to do so showed in any way. He was good at that. We were always joking with each other. I called him “ass” and he called me “master ass.” We were good like that—always joking and laughing. I miss that. Missing someone so much that you cry for them in your sleep because you don’t want anyone to see you crying is not easy. People said it would get easier—people lie.

The last two years have been the hardest. I’ve spent most of the last year accepting that he’s not coming back—ever. I’ve also been coming to terms with spending the rest of my life alone. I’m getting better. My new motto is “Alone but Strong.” I am strong. Doyle knew how strong I was; he told me countless times. He was amazed at my physical strength, but more amazed at my emotional strength. I carried dead chickens, thirty pounds in each hand; hauled hay; unloaded a ton of 50-pound bags of cow feed every week; carried 100-pound calves around; turned cows over when they couldn’t do it themselves; and pulled calves, of course, I was strong. I don’t think I can do those things anymore. I survived my children’s terrible twos and terrible teens; fought cancer; watched my Mom fight cancer; survived my son’s crisis; dried everyone else’s tears; never shed my own; and nursed everyone else back to health, of course, I was strong. I don’t know if I can do those things anymore. It was never easy. No one said it would be easy.

On December 19, 2014, I’ll be counting to five. At least I won’t have to contemplate removing a finger. I know I’ll still be alone, but I don’t think that will bother me. I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore; I have no desire to do so. He was in the ground for only three days when Christmas came. I buried him on the 22nd, and went to work the next day. Then, I couldn’t go to work for two days because of the stupid holiday. I wanted to work. I wanted to do anything but think. But I was still numb, so mostly I just stared at the wall—holding his shirt—wishing. . It wasn’t easy. No one ever said it would be easy.

I don’t mind the loneliness anymore—truth is it’s seeped into my soul and become a part of me. I don’t need affection or love anymore either. I have goals that I’ve worked hard to reach and solitude is my friend. I don’t need anyone to make me feel pretty or special anymore. When Doyle was dying, he made me promise that I would finish college and get my degree. He called me his college girl. I can still hear him, “College girl” in his southern drawl. I don’t need anything but to keep that promise. It’s not easy. No one ever said it would be easy.

©~Relinda R.  22 June 2014broken heart


from “Into the Darkness”

“Alone. Yes, that’s the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.” ~Stephen King


She looked at me with all the compassion she could muster when she told me I had to move on without him. And I longed to whisper, “Be very careful when you wish for my silence, because your wish may come true,” but I only looked at the ground. What could I possibly say—it was over? I was done? Death took my love from me?—there was nothing I could say, there was no way in which to explain how empty I felt or how bleak the future appeared. It didn’t matter what I said—I was alone.

Whether I saw it happen or not—it happened—the day he died, I began dying too. As I watched the light fade from his eyes, it began fading from mine too. All the times we stood gazing into each other’s eyes—all the times I told him I could sink into his blue eyes—all the times he told me that my brown eyes just knew—everything—had seen everything. . . and now the light faded. For nearly five years, the light continued to flicker, but now—the light is dead.

I must have read a thousand pieces telling me how to grieve, but grief has a mind of its own. There is not a manual specific to every case—there is not a set of instructions—each soul is alone in its grief. Some recover; some do not. I’ve faced the inevitable truth of my own grief—I struggle to live without love. I love still—my children, my parents, my family, my friends—there is still love, but I no longer know the love of a man so that he sees the world in my eyes. There is no passion in my life, no one will ever think I am beautiful or that my soul is made of light. The light is dead.

It took a long time for me to realize that there is no way to explain my loss to others. It is impossible for them to understand what life is without passion and love, because they have it. They claim understanding, but they claim it from the embrace of their lover. For me, life is empty without passion, without my love. The light of life is dead.

I have nothing left to give. I grieved through my words, believing they would help me heal, but the wound is so deep that it will not heal. I’ve put all my energy into overcoming human frailty—overcoming the need for affection—overcoming the need to be loved. I think I’ve beat it. I no longer cling to an idea that I have a future; I’ve accepted that I will spend the rest of my days in solitude—alone. Accepting it is the easy part—eliminating the yearning for affection is the most difficult task I’ve undertaken. But I agreed. On some level—I agreed. On some subconscious level beyond my memory—I agreed. I accept my fate, but if only I could move beyond the human shell I inhabit and overcome all the emotion. Mechanical? Perhaps, but it would be so easy to continue. I function in the dark now, so on some level; the transformation is underway.

I’ve read so many articles and papers on what solitude does to the human being, so I accept my plight with full knowledge of the danger. They say it cannot be done, but I am an anomaly to the species—I can do it. I can march through the seasons, alone and cold. For reasons unknown to me—it is my only choice. I surrender to solitude, but I will not surrender to rhetoric. They say it cannot be done; I say that it can be done.


The girl I was once is dead. She battled so hard to stay alive, but defeat was inevitable. No one can look beyond the physical scars to feel attraction to her—no one can reach beyond the emotional scars to save her—she is gone. How upsetting it is that people believe strength comes from solitude. Perhaps it does when solitude is a choice, but when you find yourself alone because of death, your strength only comes from struggling to survive. I’ve given up trying to explain to people that there is a difference in finding moments alone, while someone who loves you is waiting for you and living every moment alone while no one waits.

It is impossible to explain what life devoid of passion and love is like after knowing it so thoroughly. Perhaps if I’d never known, the transition would be much easier, but having known it is like having manna from the gods, and then starving without it. There are those of us who fail to present beauty in its societal form. There are those of us who only attract one person. One man loved me completely, regardless of how I looked to the rest of the world. Then fate took him from me, and left me to exist alone. They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” well, he was my “beholder.” He saw past the scars and through the demons to my soul, and loved me anyway.


Words were my vice—I loved to write—but without anyone listening—my words are empty now. They are only words, and they are not reaching anyone. I crave the feedback that he gave to me—and it no longer exists. I am finished. How happy others will be to know that I’ve finally accepted the challenge fate gave to me—I accept my mission wholeheartedly—to embrace the solitude in all its darkness and complete my work in silence. No one will ever love me or hold me again. The long, cold years have hardened me. No one will ever laugh at my silly jokes or hold my hand when I am scared. He is gone, and I walk alone . . . into the darkness. Until I see him again.

©2014 Relinda R.

The Key

My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.

‘Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.

‘What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
‘I never know what you are thinking. Think.”
― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land


I continue to exist. . . breathing, barely so, but existing. They tell me I should be grateful for that—for existing. They tell me many things, but the only one who I truly hear whispers from inside my mind, quietly reminding me that I should go. I argue, of course, I say that I must withstand my punishment, but the whispering says that no one wants me here anymore—not really…did they ever want me here? It’s sad really, so sad that they believe punishment comes after death when in reality, we live our punishment amidst the fires of our hell every day. Empty streaks of blue try to hide the gray shades of my hell. The blue masks the gray skies; it is not really that beautiful shade of blue. Blue—what is blue but a shade of black that we think we see. I saw only the blue before; it was a long, long time ago. I don’t see blue anymore. Eliot’s Waste Land is real. I should know; I possess the key.

©2014 Relinda R.

A Heart’s Drip

what a luxury it was for people to be able to hold their loved ones whenever they wanted.” ~Cecelia Ahern


I am almost certain that I recently broke. I laughed. I did not just emit properly timed laughter; I really laughed, almost hysterically. At some point during mid-laughter, I sobbed. Just like that. My laughter transformed into pitiful wails instantly. I could not stop. I sobbed that way for almost a solid hour, just gasping for air in between gut-wrenching sobs. Oddly enough, I do not remember what was so damn funny in the first place; it was something I saw on the television. It was during the next moments that I woke.

Really. I did. I just felt different, not better or worse, just different. I guess I finished another stage. Following my break, tears just continued to flow down my face. I know because the tears tickled my face and I would have to wipe them away. Sometimes, a tear would quickly make its way down my cheek and fall onto my book. Just like that—drip . . . drip . . . drip. It must be comparable to existing as a leaky faucet. I remember wondering if there was a way to turn the faucet off. (Note to self—there is not an arrow on one’s heart directing which way one should turn for off).

I spent the next day in silence. Total silence. I did not turn on the radio or television. The only sound I heard was the sound of the wind whenever I walked my dog and the occasional drip . . . drip . . . drip . . . of the faucet from my heart.

“When Grandma read me:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall . . .

                            I never

(Lee Bennett Hopkins)

 And there is not one fuckin’ king’s man or horse who can put Humpty Dumpty back together or one fuckin’ plumber who can fix a heart’s drip. Not one.

©Relinda R. 2013

Stains of Life

Once again, as I near the monthly death day anniversary I begin an endless routine of torture. Sleep eluded me during the night and all I managed was a couple of hours of broken and jagged slumber even after two sleeping pills. Approaching three-and-a-half years in hell and I can understand the enormity of the words “eternal damnation.” The moments, in which my mind was lucid, memories of my life before filled it—memories of when I was still adored. Memories of a man who loved me more than I ever deserved filled my lucid moments. It was during those lucid moments that tears ran from my eyes to puddle upon the pillow that I clutched ever so tightly—his pillow. However, during the moments in which my mind hovered somewhere in the twilight land between our world and a realm of chaotic nightmares, this is what emerged from beneath the growing cobwebs within my mind:

red lips

The day Alice Bentley learned that the lump in her breast was benign, she fled the physician’s office to rush home and share the good news with the man she loved. She smiled because she knew that the man whom she had pledged her life to 31 years ago—the man who she promised to love in sickness and in health—the man who fathered her only son—the man whom she had baked bread for would take her into his massive strong embrace and kiss her as though she were his new bride and they were making love for the first time.

But as Alice neared the home they shared, an eerie feeling crept up her spine and she shuddered as chills made her whole body shiver. She opened the door that once displayed the prettiest Christmas wreath, but had long since stood empty without any sign of joviality. Alice threw her 1950s-style purse onto the counter where she had cooked and baked chocolate chip cookies for her husband and son. She carelessly slung her car keys atop the yellow 1960s dining room table where the three of them had eaten together every night of the week but they stopped cold when they slid and sank into the spot where Bob Jr. had dropped a screwdriver after his team had won a football game. Elated, he had grabbed the screwdriver from the hall table where he had left it earlier. He had been working to restore the 1948 Ford F-1 pickup that he had bought with money saved from mowing lawns and carrying groceries to cars that belonged to little old ladies who had no qualms about presenting him with tips and patting him on the arm for being such a good boy. He carried many groceries and shared many smiles to earn enough money to paint the pickup a flat hunter green. The pickup was so old, but to Bob Jr., it was brand spanking new. But Alice did not think of any of this as she called her husband’s name.

She saw the top of her husband’s balding scalp as he leaned back in his La-Z-Boy recliner that she had bought for him on Father’s Day 13 years ago. On the television set, a sultry young woman rambled loudly about how Clearasil had changed her life. Thinking Bob Sr. must have dozed off while mindlessly watching Archie Bunker insult his son-in-law, Alice quietly tiptoed to the back of the treasured recliner and kissed the top of her husband’s scalp, leaving a stain of ruby red lipstick on his skin, something he never seemed to mind. As Alice leaned down to lovingly stroke Bob Sr.’s shoulders, she opened her eyes. Bob Sr. was cold. His fingers still clutched the 1978 Ruger Single Six Convertible pistol he had bought at Smith’s Pawn Shop on the corner of Bellview and Basin streets. Alice looked intently at the way Bob Sr.’s mouth hung open as though he was only sleeping. She half-expected a ground-shaking snore to emerge, but there was no sound but that of Michael Landon’s voice explaining to little Laura why Bandit had to die. Oddly, as Alice studied the blood staining Bob Sr.’s beloved recliner, she wondered whether she would be able to remove the stain from the fabric. She noticed some gray colored clumps too. She wondered what it was.

Alice did not scream nor did she cry. She simply took the afghan throw she had crocheted years ago from the arm of the La-Z-Boy and covered Bob Sr. with it, carefully pulling the edge up to his nipple line and tucking the sides under the enormous belly that 31 years of good cooking and good loving had nurtured. She put her hands on his temples and leaned down to kiss his forehead just the way she had done countless times, again leaving a ruby red stain on his now pale skin.

Alice calmly walked to her bedroom closet and removed the knee-length pastel yellow dress covered in a ghastly array of every colored flower known to man. She thoughtlessly used her fingers to swipe at a stain near the hem. She recalled that she had dropped a mug of coffee to the floor and it splattered near her feet, soaking the hem of her Sunday dress. Alice was not a clumsy woman, but Bob Sr. had innocently allowed a police officer into the front door of their home. After all, Alice had hanged a welcome sign adorned with straw-colored flowers and a little bluebird perched on the “em” in “Welcome.” How could the police officer know that he would not be welcome in the little two-bedroom home that Bob Sr. and Alice Bentley shared for 31 years? When the uniformed police officer told them that there had been an accident involving a hunter green 1948 Ford F-1 pickup and a brand new 1980 Chevrolet Camaro and there were no survivors, Alice had dropped the coffee mug she was holding. She screamed at the officer to get out of her home while Bob Sr. tried to harness his own anguish and instead console his hysterical wife. The police officer quietly left the little house that seeped with love.

Alice donned her pastel yellow dress with the flower explosion and coffee stain because it was so appropriate for the occasion. She had never worn the dress since that awful day. She gazed into the full-length oval mirror that had belonged to her grandmother and reapplied her ruby red lipstick to lips that would never again leave stains on Bob Sr.’s scalp. Alice still did not cry. She went to the bathroom where tile once sparkled and pencil marks revealing Bob Jr.’s height each year adorned the hollow wood-panel door. She closed the door and drew some water in the claw-style footed bath, not caring whether it was warm or cold. Alice reached to open the medicine chest and thought about how Bob Sr. had built a little stool so that their son could reach the sink to brush his teeth every night before they both tucked him into his twin-sized bed. She took a single blade from her husband’s cache of blades for the razor that he used to shave whiskers to avoid irritating his wife’s delicate ivory skin. Alice turned off the water, which was ice-cold. She removed her black shoes that seemed to be from her grandmother’s childhood and carefully placed them in the shoe rack that still held Bob Jr.’s cleats from when he ran track and won the hundred-yard dash during his sophomore year of high school.

Alice stepped into the ice-cold water without even flinching as she sat and leaned back as though she were going to nap. She ran the single razor up the length of her right arm from her palm to her elbow and watched numbly as crimson blood began to pour. Before the water could turn ruby red like the lipstick she wore, she ran the razor up her left arm much like the right, just numbly staring as the clear water turned the same ruby shade of the lipstick stain on Bob Sr.’s forehead. And she thought—“I just don’t know if this stain will come out of the fabric.” Alice went to sleep.

©2013 Relinda R.




The Flood

Darkness envelops those chosen in its grasp

As the element of life gathers its powers.

All the human strength begins to collapse

As the water begins its deadly shower.

Shattered dreams washed downstream

As those left begin to pick up the pieces.


Lives lost, lives changed forever.

And we are reminded that we are only men

Once again.

Hearts ache, hearts may never heal

As the power of nature is revealed.

Why…why…why is what we ask

As rescuers continue their task.

Some claim to understand and to know the pain

Only those who heard the cries really know.

Their lives will never be the same

As the loss settles in and begins to grow.

Scattered fragments of what remains

Reminds us all that we are only men.

All that we can do is wonder why

As we pray for understanding.

All that we can do is cry

And keep these victims of nature’s wrath

In our hearts as we pray

And as we move on day to day.

The waters recede and reveal the tragedy

And we are reminded that we are merely men.

Nature is still more powerful than we,

…but we also witness humanity.

The flood is at an end…

But the aftermath just begins

For the victims, for our friends.

May God comfort and hold them all tight

When darkness envelops them in the night.

…and in the day.

Nature’s flood is done,

…but for those left, the flood has only just begun.


©2010 Relinda R.


     I often think about the pain people endure. Physical pain…emotional pain…it all hurts. For some, it becomes a pissing contest to see who hurts worse. What a sad reflection of humanity. There are days that I pray to God to allow me to go home, but I know in my soul that there are others hurting so deeply that I cannot begin to fathom their pain. We all hurt. It stems from our free will. As I walked my little schnauzer this evening, I talked to God. My feet are hurting so badly from plantar fasciitis that sometimes I do not think I can take another step, but I keep stepping because I must. I agreed to this path long, long ago. I know that deep within my soul, but it does not prevent me from begging God to let me go home. As the schnauzer and I walked, I announced to God that I have accepted the fact that I will never again be loved, but what is so difficult is accepting that I cannot see my love ever again in this life. I asked God how much longer I must suffer. There was only silence. Not even the wind dared to whisper.

©2012 Relinda R.