Dear Michael

Dear Michael,

Since you have died, I have tried to “do what you have to do”… one of the last things you said to me before I flew back home for eye surgery. The same thing you said to your brothers before they left.

I could have foregone eye surgery to stay with you, but, my heart told me that you wanted me to go.

I don’t think you wanted us there for mourning.

I don’t know that you wanted us there at all.

From the time I was young, I always thought that I wanted to die alone – never wanting to be surrounded by tears and sadness – pulled by the strings of love which I imagined to be so hard to break. I always thought it would be a betrayal to those who loved me and wanted me to stay.

I wasn’t the one to hold your hand when you called the nurse to tell her, “…I feel weird…” and she held your hand and your final words were, “I’m scared.”

I talked to your brother, about what it’s like to see soldiers die next to him. Mike, he has PTSD. You know how strong he is, but I know that no matter how many casualties he has seen, your death is the ultimate loss. 

When I cried to him about your final words, he told me, “Ma, everyone is scared of the unknown, no matter what they believe.”

I know you are there, somewhere – beyond what this simple life, in this simple plane, can comprehend. I know you exist, somewhere.

I survived Summer, Fall, Christmas and now, St. Pat’s Day is coming up…. the day you sent your email about your diagnosis – your death sentence.

I’m so tired of living.

Memories that fill my heart cannot replace the presence of you.

I wake up, and before I even put my slippers on, I make the bed because Joe told me that that’s what they are taught in the Military – “fix your fuc*ikng bed – it’s a symbol of being ready for the day!”

I make my bed, no matter what, before I feed the cat, before I give the dog her insulin, before I even have a coffee and fix my husband breakfast.

And then I fix my coffee and go to the patio, no matter how cold it is outside, and have two cigarettes. Yes, I started smoking again – after nearly … I don’t know how many years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter.

I think, sometimes, that I’m a weakling, that I’m using your death as an excuse to kill myself with “wrong” living…. but I don’t have a taste for sweets like I used to. It was hard to want to eat anything after watching you starve to death.

Of course, I won’t admit that to myself nor anyone else, but I wonder if that is in my subconscious – to hurry death.

No one who ‘knows’ me, not even my husband, knows these feelings I have. I’m like you, keep it close to the vest (the internet doesn’t count because none of my friends read my blog, so I’m safe.)

I remember how devastated you were when you were training Ethan (or whatever his name was) on the high lines and he did something wrong and you had to carry him down from the lines and try to do CPR on his already dead body.

You called me, cried to me, your friend, your younger friend, was dead in your arms.

I tried to console you but failed. There were no words to comfort what you experienced. All I could say was that, “you did what you could!”

I don’t think you ever recovered from that. For some reason, your mind kept wondering what you could have done to keep him from making the mistake that took his life.

I’m growing so tired.

I’m doing what my degenerating body will allow me to do. I’m typing. I’m transcribing from home.

Before I lost you, I probably would have been judgmental about people that seek jobs from home. Man oh man, I have given up my gavel.

Just the other day, I wrote something for a blog, for a few dollars. The douch**ag didn’t accept my offer, after I sent him the entire transcript that he said he liked! You know what’s funny? I don’t care. I have no judgment about him/them, other than they are the scum of the earth and I was reminded of a lesson that there are cheaters and liars.

Mikey, my baby, my son that was the only child “planned,” I miss you. I love you. I hope this Universe allows us to meet again. Oh, what a thing that would be.

I don’t know what I believe in, insofar as afterlife, but, I will end this with a poem that a friend shared with me by Henry VanDyke:

Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

A special song that Mikey shared with mbe before he died:


8 responses to “Dear Michael

  1. I am sure that you have friends reading your blog, even if they are not the old friends you were thinking about when you wrote this blog. That poem is reassuring and the fact that he shared it with you shows that he felt some of that reassurance, even though he was frightened.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Judy. He didn’t share it with me, it was an old friend.

      On one of our short walks, while I was there, when he was dying. I told him that I believed that we go on… I spoke about the possibility of reincarnation, but we never got deep into any subject.

      I still haven’t read your book – it’s on my Kindle. Maybe I’ll be ready after I pass the one-year mark of Mike’s passing.

      Thanks for staying in touch.


  2. Do you know about fiverr? You might advertise your writing services there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dear! Yes. I have just unsubscribed from Fiverr after being burned by (I shall refrain from using the term) scumbag buyers. I had one successful sale for product descriptions – 100% satisfaction. This last buyer just turned me off and I will concentrate on transcribing.

      I missed two requests for photo restoration, but, that’s okay.


  3. I received the same poem from a Muslim friend after a loss like yours. I don’t remember the poem doing much for me except to make me cry more, but what pierced my grief was that this terribly busy, all-over-the-place person, not given to much emotion, would go to so much trouble to try to be there for me.

    Strangely, although I was myself struggling with grief and coping, all I wanted was to be there for this person, to try and care for her. It was a powerful surge of love for someone not family, and it came when I was in pain and in need of comfort myself.

    I saw this happen several times since the death. Bleeding inside, yet wanting to reach out and love others. I didn’t think much of it then, but it’s been almost 10 years since my loss sparked a journey of prayers, work projects and now my blog – all with the intention of reaching out and touching a pain.

    Maybe, just maybe, issues cropping up in your home, life, etc. indicate that it’s time to use your pain to touch another’s pain. There might be slip-ups in the areas or people we extend our love to – some just don’t need us as much as we think they do – but it’s a learning process, we’ll come through.

    I’m sorry if this has hurt you in any way. I just wanted to try and help ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Caitlynn. I learned the same lesson, that the best healing, during devastating loss, is to give, reach out to others in need. Still, at less than a year of losing my son, moments, like tidal waves, crash over my spirit without warning. But, I get up and start over again. Thank you again for your beautiful spirit!


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