{Excerpt} Love You Like the Sky: In Between Worlds

August 16, 2010

Here’s an excerpt I’ve been editing and I feel moved to post it. As always, I welcome comments and feedback! (*just a note – it’s brutally honest and might be triggering. So please read with self-care*)

Date: November 28th, 2009

Subject: in between worlds

Dear John,

I don’t know if being in New York right now is good for me. I’m falling back into that in between state, not wanting to be here anymore, searching for you, longing for you. It’s dark and cold again. I can’t type, I’m going to write by hand. I miss you.

I don’t feel well. I don’t look well. I look pale, dark circles under my eyes. My eyelids are puffy. My muscles feel weak and slack. I feel I am losing my strength, losing my grip again, losing the joy and the drive that I found recently to go on. Life just doesn’t feel worth living without you in it, and what am I supposed to do. I can’t go to where you are. I couldn’t deliberately take my life and yet I don’t want to be here. Don’t want to go on. I suck smoke into my body, slowly poisoning myself with a hard edged glee. And I don’t care.

What would it feel like to be with you again? To run into your arms and race into your chest and feel you alive in my arms? For you to be real again. I would squeeze you so tightly the air would evacuate. You might not be able to withstand my ferociousness. The tears stream and fall down out of my eyes every day. Love and kindness are what bring me to tears. When I see it in life or in the movies I feel you and my heart aches with pain and with love. It fills me with emotions that I can’t describe but they take the form of tears. Grieving is a form of loving.

As time passes it can sometimes seem as if you never existed at all, like I made you up and you are a figment of my imagination. You came and went and the evidence of your life now lives only in my memories. But as time moves on, will I be able to remember you anymore? Some of it has faded. Like I can’t remember exactly what you sounded like and I can’t remember exactly the kind of words you used when you spoke. You were real though right? Too good for this world. And I was lucky enough to have known you like I did, to have shared a piece of your body with you, and to have taken care of you as best as I could.

You haven’t been in my dreams for a while now. I remember when you had first passed, the electricity in my kitchen would go out and a candle exploded mysteriously. I had dreams of you often. Dreams where you were still alive but also dead at the same time and you were going to kill yourself. But this time you were going to kill yourself in different ways, with needles or with a gun. And I wanted to save you. I tried to save you in my dreams but I got there to late, too damn late, and I couldn’t save you. Ah the frustration and rage burns me up. I want to rage the world in a howling lightning storm and smash it all to pieces, smash myself to pieces for getting there too late. My heart is shattered and oozes out love in fragmented ways. It will never be whole again and I don’t know if I can ever love anyone again. I’m growing old and haggard. I see it clearly in the mirror. And it’s ok. The older I get the closer I get to death and the closer I get to you. My smoking helps. I can’t wait to be old. I’m jealous of old people I see walking in the street or wheeling around in wheelchairs. I’m envious of how much closer to death they are than me. I have a good eight to ten grey hairs now in the front. I’m sure they have sprung up in this year of mourning. So be it. I welcome them. I have a feeling though that I’m going to live a long life, like into my eighties. That’s at least fifty years from now- more than what I’ve already lived so far. I can’t fathom it. I don’t know if I can bear all that time ahead of me without you, waiting to see you again. In heaven I want to see you play football. I’ve never seen you play. I want to hear you singing in a concert hall. That would be my version of heaven right now. I never knew you in high school as a football star but I feel like I did. Like somehow I did know you when we were teenagers and I can feel it in a weird way that I can’t describe. I would have loved you and recognized you anywhere, anytime, in any place in history.

I dream of us being kindergarten sweethearts. You chase me around the playground trying to peck my cheek with kisses. I savor each one. I tell all my friends, my teachers, and my parents that one day when I grow up I’m going to marry you.

Oh, I’m not well. I’m really not doing so well right now. But who is there to tell. What is there to say even? My sister Eden is in the next room, pregnant and asleep. I know I should be happy about the things that I have to live for, but deep down, I’m not.

I have to keep believing, keep trusting that things will work out for the best- that everything happens for a reason, that there is some reason for this loss in my life, some reason that you are not here anymore. Its got to work out better than this. It’s got to have a good ending some way, some how. What kind of good ending could possibly make up for the loss of you? I doubt it could be anything that could make up for your death. If there was a way to bring you back, I’d trade all of this, my lot in life, my purpose in life to be together with you again. If only I could.

Sad eyes. You had sad eyes. Sad eyes and a big heart that was so beautiful to me.

I would do anything to be with you again.  Ha. Anything but suicide. Have I said that enough? How nice to be like Romeo and Juliet and have the freedom to die for each other. I don’t have that freedom, I’m trapped in this body and trapped here on this Earth to serve out the rest of my days until I can be with you and die my natural or accidental death. Oh my god. How I wait for the day where I can be back with you and never ever leave your side again.

Everybody has somebody it seems. Loving someone who isn’t actually here is a strange thing. It moves forces in me that I never knew I had. It’s sickly and melancholy and challenges my faith every day when I wake up and I renew it anew. I feel you everywhere. I want to believe it’s you. No. I know it’s you. Am I getting weirder to people because I’m still holding on to you. You the love of my life that abandoned me to suicide. Why does she even still care about him? What is she so hung up on? I can hear them say in their minds. How can I explain all that you mean to me? I can hardly explain it to myself. All I know is that it is love. A love that makes me whimper in the dark with the pain of missing for you and the knowledge that you will never be found.

It’s a year after your death. I have tried to move on. I make a commitment to be happy every day. I am in New York, in bed, writing this to you in the dark. I am in the room that I slept in every night as a child. I am in the room where I lay on my turquoise carpet in despair from my own frustration of not being able to live up to my own potential. I am back in my own familiar darkness and loneliness. The bare trees, sepia sunlight, abstract city lights, cozy interiors, family I feel separate from, and the old familiar ache of something missing. Always looking for love. It’s sixteen years later. Most people’s lives have changed. And somehow mine still feels the same. Almost everyone I know is married, engaged, pregnant, successful, or famous. I am neither of those things. I still lie here alone crying privately with a broken heart. Waiting for you my dear. Waiting right here because there is nowhere else to go.

Nothing compares to your likeness and nothing ever will. Football and wheat fields, the forever golden boy who dies by train. Farm boy superman. The weight of the world on your shoulders. Bitter beauty and sadness everywhere. Down the first road to your farm, down the dirt road to your pond, under the thunderclouds in the rain. The sky is so big I could lose my mind with love. Love that has nowhere to go.

I get sucked down over and over again in endless cycles and waves of grief. I go up for air and I feel I’m starting to reemerge into the world of the living – feeling some joy, vitality, appreciation for life’s gifts and miracles. Finding myself enjoying commercials, consumerism, romantic comedies, trivial conversations, and celebrity gossip. I feel driven to work, to finish this book,  get the PhD and serve others who feel suicidal, help them find the will to live; the will to love. Things seem to be going well and then I get sucked under by a wave of grief that seems to come out of nowhere and the riptide pulls me back into that place where death is near. I am pulled back into hell. Things that might have brought me brief joy are no longer interesting, no longer happy. I don’t care. My pain is too great and all I want is you.  There is nothing in the world that will bring you back and so there is nothing that can help me.

I pray to see you in my dreams tonight. Give me some relief.



4 Responses to “{Excerpt} Love You Like the Sky: In Between Worlds”

  1. nyla said

    I’m back- catching up on more of your posts that I didn’t have time to read earlier. I love your excerpts for two reasons. 1) it INSPIRES me to see you putting your writing out into the world and 2) because I’m blown away by the descriptions of your grief in all of its brutal, raw, bleeding honesty. When I read your words, I can’t help but feel devastated for you and for all of those who have gone through this particular kind of torment. Yet, at the same time, I’m cheering you on and feeling this intense excitement because I know your book is being born to the world. It’s a bittersweet, totally paradoxical feeling!

    • Thank you Nyla. it means a whole lot. its a bittersweet and paradoxical feeling for me also and if it helps others out there in some way, then maybe just maybe it will all have been worth while. my eyes are open and we shall see… thanx for your cheer!!!!

  2. John said

    Sarah…. I don’t know what to say. I typed in “hold hope find freedom” into the google. I was looking for a t-shirt… lol.. Anyway, I read the title “Taking the Long Way Home” and my jaw dropped. Then I read the subtitle and my heart sank. Then I read the opening “Dear John,” and just about fainted.

    I don’t know if I will ever be able to relay how powerful that moment was and still is as I type this to you. I am sure you will be able to relate to the absolute humility and awe of Grace. When Grace shows itself, it is impossible to deny. That is what happened.. is happening for me. I am John and I am the one writing to John. I said those words “longing for home” literally ten minutes before I found this.

    I have been experiencing a deep and profound sense of loss for 3 years. Your words were written as if for my very soul…. from my very soul. Your pain, your process. Interestingly, I feel that this letter was written to me as well. My name is John and I have contemplated suicide and various times of my life and almost constantly for the last three years.

    I was scared when I first began to read the letter, for I felt this might be a sign of things to come… my destiny and I had to pause before going further. I had to ask myself if I was truly ready to face this moment… I am not kidding when I say this has been a cathartic experience for me.

    I had just typed “craving chaos” in my Facebook page… so I continued to read. I found myself feeling intense pain. I cried (still am). But the tears of pain have begun to turn into tears of hope. “I am not alone. Someone can actually feel the kind of pain that I truly felt no one ever could” – or at least I couldn’t understand how they could and go on…

    I just don’t know how the emptiness will ever become filled. The greatest love of my life is gone and my innocence and trust in life and love went with them. What’s left? What do I have to look forward to?


    I wonder if I had typed "find hope, hold freedom" if I would have still found this?

    Thank you with all my love, all my compassion and all my gratitude. You have given me something I have been rarely been able go feel these last few years.

    • John John John John! (I have an affinity for people named John- as you may well imagine) Hi! I’m so glad and grateful that you found this blog at the perfect time and in the perfect way that you did. it sounds like it was truly intervened by Grace. I love it when a string of synchronicities blows our minds and opens up the floodgates of tears reminding us of the unseen, loving forces at work.

      Yes you are John, the one writing, the one receiving, and the one being written to some time ago. Somehow it’s all connected ( and I have a whole book of letters to John in the works, waiting for you). I am so sorry for your loss and heartbreak and that you have been in such pain and loneliness for so long. Losing the love of your life is an existential nightmare and takes tremendous tolerance to pain. I hope you hold on. There is clearly a reason for you being here. Why abort the plan too soon before you find out the reason, find out the middle and end to your life story? You have you to look forward to and the possibility of becoming the greatest you you could ever imagine. Then, anyone you love or date ever again will just be like the cherry on top. I know this may be hard to imagine….i have found that the only thing to fill up my emptiness is with love and dedication to myself and to John (in spirit). Everything I do is motivated by my loss of him and by his guidance, from all I’ve learned from him. And as I’ve continued to heal, I can never forget the darkness that I was in; the excruciating pain. that cannot be minimized or spiritualized away- it’s part of our beautiful humanness.

      I am deeply humbled by your praise and by the impact that this site has had on you thus far. It is no accident and therefore I can’t take the credit. I’m not working by myself 🙂

      I hope this site aids you as it will, in the ways it can, and you know there are others who feel as you do.
      with kindness,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: