A Fighting Chance

She has struggled to breathe.

Suffocating, choking on air.

Beating herself up for so long.

Her body has weathered the storm that has hovered over her for the past few years.

She has pushed people away to save them the heartache of stepping into her world.

She is still learning how to love and forgive herself.

What has happened to me and how can I get back to what I once was, she asks herself.

Or should I continue down this path?

Is it leading me to something greater?

She sits and examines herself. She is drained.

She often looks at the destination as the goal and forgets to realize that the journey is more important.

She has tried and failed. Failed again.

The girl she once knew lays in the coffin, in the graveyard, locked away.

There is no bringing her back.

Will you still love her when she exposes you to the inner workings of her mind, the darkest side of her?

You’re getting deeper and deeper.

Can you handle it?

Ongoing Battle With Loss

You were rotting away in the hospital, and what were we doing?

Celebrating Christmas Eve.

What type of people were we?

He stood with you as the ventilators breathed for you. He was bone tired. You could see it in his face. The lack of food and sleep had gotten to him. He refused to leave the hospital as much as we begged him to. He did not want to leave your side. He wanted to be there when you finally took your last gasp. You did not look like you.

I remember my mom asking me if I wanted to go into the hospital room to see you. I do not like hospitals. It’s the same aura of sadness in each one. The same overwhelming smell of Clorox. I had seen the insides of too many during my childhood, as I had to sit there helpless watching certain family members wither away. You were one of my favorite people on this planet and I did not want to see you in that state. My mom took my hand and led me toward the room. Before we entered, she said, “This may be the last time you see her, so say your goodbyes.”

How many times did I need to go through this? How many people did I need to lose?

I did not even know what to say at that point because I felt like I was talking to a stranger. That was not you.


How could a family even celebrate a holiday when someone was in the hospital fighting for their life?

I was angry. Everyone went on about their evening like nothing was happening. It was like two different worlds. Everyone gathered around the tree to exchange gifts. Every fiber in my body wanted to scream. I did not want to be there. It was like we were pretending. Pretending to be this happy family when we were all in fact broken.

The tree was situated in the living room and surrounded by the sofas you all sat on. The dining room table was full of food. I thought to myself how can anyone even eat right now? People were laughing. Telling jokes.

Are you all mad?

I would have traded all those gifts under the tree for your recovery. But that isn’t how it works right? People are taken from us when God thinks it’s their time and we must accept it? For someone who grew up in a Catholic family and attended Catholic school, I always felt like I could not decide for myself what I wanted to believe in. It was kind of forced upon me. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God. But I’ve been angry. I’ve wanted to yell and ask why he had to take my loved ones from me. One of the people who showered me in love since the day I was born.


People went in for second and third plates of food. Kids ran around the house playing hide and seek. The adults were on glass number 5 of wine. Christmas music played in the background. I felt like my body was there, but my mind was not. I was floating around this house. I wanted to yell and break something.

How could you celebrate and drink and laugh? Was I the only one who loved her?

My head was spinning; my mind cloudy. My disappointment was boiling to the surface. My legs managed to carry me to and from, but I did not feel like myself. I felt like my soul was back in that hospital room with you.

The host of the party gathered everyone around the table, asked everyone to raise a glass, and made a toast. I thought, this is insanity.

Then the phone rang.

I stood there by the foot of the mahogany table and watched the expression on her face shift from a smile to something serious.

She did not even have to say anything. I knew it.

You had passed away.

I was mad at the world. Mad at all of you. You all stood here pretending to care. I had spent most of my childhood days with her. Where were you guys then? You gathered around at this god forsaken party to celebrate a holiday without her here. If you loved her, you would not have indulged yourself in alcohol and plates of food.

Why didn’t you spend time with her when she was still herself? Why didn’t you call or come visit? Life is hard enough already, don’t make it harder by being phony. I was angry. I felt like no one cared. Not one single person.

That’s how it works right? People do not care about you when you are alive and well but will gather around your casket at the funeral and speak about how loved you were.

Bullshit.

Where was the time to grieve? Where were the tears? The sadness?

This was supposed to be family?

I went outside. I needed air and to rid myself of all of you.

Fragile

I sat by his bedside as he clung to life by a thread.

His hands were cold and wrinkled.

His breaths were sporadic and long when he inhaled.

The silence in between gasps is what frightened me most. I looked over each time to make sure he was still alive for a moment more.

The tubes and machines connected to him were overwhelming.

I sat there in the chair which messed up my back from hours of being still.

I held his fragile hand in mine.

I would rub my thumb over his to let him know I was there.

I wanted so badly for him to squeeze my hand.

The hospital floor always reeked of a gut-wrenching lemon smell.

I would stare at the black screech marks on the white tiles until the nurse would come in for her hourly checkups.

She would check the IV, ensure the machines were reading properly, and told me for the 100th time that if I needed something, she would be right out front.

I knew she was doing her job, but I did not want to hear it anymore.

Sometimes I sat in silence and other times I left the tv on in the background for some noise distraction.

I barely ate, slept, or left the room to join the outside world.

Damaged

The roof on the house was broken.

When it rained, it would seep through the ceiling in the dining room. Her mother would have to place buckets on the floor to stop puddles from forming.

It was a bone chilling cold that would find it’s way into the apartment. The weather outside always represented the mood of the house, cloudy and depressing.

The daughter often wore piles of clothing to keep warm or she would make herself a cup of tea. The parents fought constantly.

The daughter would let the heat from the tea wash over her, warming every limb in her body. She would close her eyes and wish she was anywhere but there.

She would try to focus her attention on the dripping noise of the water seeping through the ceiling.

So much water would come through that it would cause a bubble to form. It was like the water was trying to make its way through to them.

Now that she’s older, she thinks back to that leaky roof. It was a representation of everything wrong in her life.

The broken roof was a symbol of the broken household she lived in. The water bubble in the ceiling, with all the cracks of paint chipping off, represented her emotions.

Something was coming to the surface and she did not quite know what it was when she was just a kid.

As an adult, she looks back and realizes that the thing that was bubbling to the surface was her anger. Her depression. Her need to escape that house.

Rise


spring brings new beginnings

you learn to bloom again

despite being stepped on and mistreated

you rise


each time we stand tall, we come back stronger

do not fear the change of the seasons

something may be in store for us that we did not even expect

this photo is my own.
Central Park, NYC.

Resilience

~ for anyone needing a little pick me up

when we are in the moment

feeling everything so very deeply

being consumed by this sadness and our thoughts that will not shut off

completely hopeless feeling like we cannot take one more step forward

this is when we need to fight like we’ve never fought before

as hard as it may be, take your time

time heals all wounds

let yourself feel, but always try and keep fighting

as cliche as this may sound, it is the truth

as much as it may hurt right now, that pain will end

your heart is still beating

you are resilient

you will overcome this and find something so much more

just hold on a little longer

this I promise you

this photo is not my own.

~ if you have made it this far, you can make it through this

Colorful

You have brought vivacity to my world

I no longer see the world as black and white, it is no longer colorless

You are my sunrise, sunset, and everything in between

You have so many infinities within you

You are vulnerable and share them with me

–is this love?


this photo is my own.
5am Sunrise in Charleston, South Carolina.

Alone



There is beauty in learning how to be on your own, like sitting alone in a coffee shop

Endings lead to new beginnings

And they can be better than we ever expected

Being able to go somewhere new

Being able to breathe again without the baggage of the past lurking among you

You can start fresh, start over

If something is meant for you, it will come

Do not rush the process

–breakdowns often lead to breakthroughs.


this photo is my own.
Restaurant in Costa Rica.

Sanctuary


Home was always wherever you were

I found sanctuary within the four walls of your apartment

I felt safe, protected, and loved

I would lay in bed as the sunlight would seep through the peach colored curtains

The breeze would sweep across the room

There was a certain beauty within the stillness I felt when I was home with you

You were such a light in this darkness

When you were taken from us so suddenly

I could no longer find that light

I know you are here with me in spirit

I carry you in my heart

What I would give to be in that apartment with you once more

–this is the broken heart of losing a loved one


this photo is my own.

Breathe



you are a breath of fresh air

to me that means everything

you ignite every fiber of my being

you make me feel alive again

this photo is my own.
Cape May, New Jersey.