How Else Can They Become?

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“Take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. You need to believe in things that aren’t true. How else can they become?”
~Death, from The Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

I’m not very good at believing in things I can’t touch, but I’m getting better at it.

When I was blasted onto this journey through love and grief, I didn’t have a lot of support, emotional or otherwise. There was Sara, my Chicago friend with her own pain and generous heart, and there were a few others, but for the most part, I was on my own. I was directionless and without focus, my world and heart blown to such pieces that I had no hope of making them whole again.

I had written in The Longest Road about my desire to find something, anything, to help fill the void caused by Dustin’s death. I knew it wouldn’t be a new lover; I was not then and am not now able to pursue that path. But I needed something larger than myself and my grief to believe in; I needed to know that this pain wasn’t all there now was to me, to my life. I needed hope.

Enter Ms. Sarah Fimm. An independent musician and songwriter, she is the leader of a merry band of dreamers, artists and like-minded folk centered around a Facebook group called Inspire Art. There are also companion pages at Tumblr and Pinterest. It’s a global call to thinkers and dreamers, scientists and artists, writers and poets, of all kinds, of all stripes, to band together against human trafficking and modern slavery.

It’s also the group that quite probably saved my life. Although I would not have taken my own life, I would almost certainly have stopped living it, which is basically suicide that doesn’t violate an attendance policy.

Sarah was one of a handful of people encouraging me to begin this blog, to open up the howling wound and let it pour across the internet before it killed me inside. And make no mistake, it was eroding me from the inside out, all that stray dust and pain blowing through me until nothing was left but bare walls and gritty floors. A hollow shell.

At Inspire Art, I found a group of beautiful, caring people who were willing to listen, to hear my words and try to understand. People who offered no criticism, just empathy and unwavering support. They came, they read, and I imagine a few of them even cried along with me. And in return, I came, I saw their artistic efforts, I read their poetry, and they helped ignite a spark in a cold and barren place. I found that some were even encouraged and inspired by my words here, by what I have wrought out of an ageless grief and endless love.

I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in almost 15 years. I began drawing again. I began talking more, reaching out, making an effort to connect I would not have dreamed I had the energy for. I now string together a few mornings in a row that find me excited to get out of bed, excited to try. Something, in other words, that gives me joy amidst the darkness and loneliness. I relearned how to play.

This summer, our merry band will come together at an event dubbed “Powered by Dreaming,” also known as the Sparkle Park. In upstate New York, we will put our collective heads together with scientists, learners, and other inspired thinkers to make this world a better place, to help make ourselves and others better people. We will learn, we will connect, we will grow, and we will share this light with the world. And everyone is welcome to join us.

Because there isn’t enough light in this world. There isn’t enough understanding.

I lost the love of my life. He is gone from me now. So I will make of my life a tribute, a living legacy, so that something beautiful and pure can come from this loss. And I won’t do it alone.

Will you help us?

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Bête Noire

I don’t remember how the road to sleep
became dangerous. Potholed. Treacherous
Afraid to sleep, afraid of what was waiting
He would be coming home drunk and any minute now
Terror
Best to stay awake
But that was then

Now the road to sleep is lined, like a dark parade
attended by the hosts of the dead
waving flags of doubts and could-have-beens
I should have gone to get you, why didn’t I?
Questions unanswered

Tension simmers
Hard to walk the parade when my knees
are drawn to my chest and I
I am relearning how to breathe
Did we have what I thought we had?
Fighting in the street

So much broken glass to get through
I’ll line my feet with pills until I don’t feel a thing
Numbness, the patron saint of the perpetually bleeding
We were going to eat lobster in Maine, we were going to be old together, you promised
I’ll get drunk on ashen wine

I’ll just try his number
there’s no one to call
But I need to know
there’s no one to explain
But I need to hold him
He is gone
I need to see him
Too late
But I need
Doesn’t matter
But I want
What you can’t have

I scrabble and I fight
but the pills do their business
I feel sleep sliding warm up the back of my neck
Ignoring my struggles in the dirt
Pulled under sighing, giving up
Oh love, oh my very dear