23 November 2009


What it meant today was different than what it meant two weeks ago. This grief changes shape so easily while I feel so unable to move.

Two stones, in our yard. Two markers, covered in flowers picked from all of our tear-stained hands. Two stones, "Peace" and "Love". Two stones, anchoring a part of me that I've yet been able to express adequately. Two lives, loved so very much and gone so very differently.

One ripped from me by a force that still leaves me with one hand tapping my chest or rubbing my neck or twisting my legs somehow. Anything to avoid the still, the quiet, the knowledge that there will no longer be the "one, two, three. pause. one, two, three. pause" drinks from her water dish at night. There will be no more three circles and a black body cradled to me under the covers, just her nose reaching out for air.

Writer Jennifer Barko Serving The Queens

She would sleep like that all night.

I wish I remembered now if I'd turned her three times before she laid to rest. That thought bothers me a lot. A lot more than it should, I know. But there are parts of my brain that don't stop working no matter how loudly I demand them to.

One broken, willing herself to stay, out of the sheer love that she had for me. I never would have thought that I had it within me--to hold the body of my best friend who doesn't want to leave and look into her beautiful brown eyes and know this is it, this is goodbye? I think now that I didn't have it in me, and I will be realizing that slowly, each time my hand reaches for her at my side, for many years.

She took many beautiful photos, but this was one of my favorites:

Constant Companion Jennifer Barko Serving The Queens

I titled it, "Constant Companion".
Wherever I was, she was as well.
Until the day I sent her from me.

What it meant today as I was facing down deadlines and calendars and thinking of the presents that I needed to buy was that for the first time in 16 years, there will be no gifts for The Smoosh and Jessie under our tree.

And there shall be no gifts for my grandfather under a tree hundreds of miles away, but that is another story.

This year meant to me a lot of loss; painful, wounding, sobbing on your knees loss. So much loss at times that I was afraid to face the next day, wondering what it would bring.

But still, I'm here. Not the same; I'll never be the same. But still, I'm here.

I feel that this year has written upon me "grief", over and over. I believe that I will recall this year always and feel cold and wrap my arms around myself.

I feel that this upcoming year, I shall write upon it instead "joy", over and over. I believe that I will recall next year always and tilt my face to the sky to greet the sun when I do.

I am a writer. And it is my turn to write.


jess said...

It's been that kind of year for me too. I hope you find your joy in this coming year.

-Shaken, not stirred said...

eugh damnit. I have to go redo my make up.

I'm glad to hear that you will write "joy" on it.

You'll see that rainbow. After the storm.


Sprout + Bean said...

I am so sorry for all that has happened.

My Max passed away on Sunday, and it has been so, so difficult.

You are such a talented, genuinely kind person. I hope, more than anything, that every moment from this point forward is full of ONLY happiness and wonder. :)

luckyzmom said...

Wishing you "joy", over and over:)

Bon said...

i am sorry about your lovely friends, your dogs. and your grandfather.

i hope the coming year brings joy.

Monica said...

This year has "grief" written on it for me also. My Mom died and it seems that every breath since June 7th has been painful. I hate this year, I want my Mom back and I am just praying and hoping that 2010 brings some peace and joy for me as well.

Kat said...

May your days ahead be nothing but JOY...lots and lots of JOY.