“Oh Wow”

Bodhi & Me

Trace went at the height of Summer,  his most favorite season. Verdant morning-glories climbed the fences, extending out their energetic tendrils and sky blue petals to fill empty space and catch hold of—–something, anything, on which to define a new direction.  Entwined were red-runners, his sister’s favorite, her presence still vibrant after all these years gone bye. The ‘why’ of her loss never settled well, if at all for him. Still, every season her image arose as bright red blossoms  growing in chaos on the fences in the heat of Summer.

Tall stands of evening primrose, bright yellow and full in July moonlight greeted the dawn with a cry of dew—–a sad delight to the eye, which  embraced the transience of them.  In spite of the Summer’s heat, they presented cool and hinted at a distant  Spring to bring relief to those somnabulant days. There was no escaping the ways of stepping into the space between life and death, even the most natural beauty seemed a dream. So it remains these days when the living haunt their own life and cannot let go of the whole.

The large open window brought in the luxurious scent of old world roses, honey-wafts of Buddleia  and the lingering traces of honeysuckle. His first words on arriving home for the last time,  looking out that window, taking in all that wonder was  saying, “Oh wow.” Did he know he was home at last? Did he realize it was his garden that brought such delight? His last words still fill the room, which once radiated  larger-than-life energy and merged with that of a little, old Cocker  named Bodhi, whose gentle steadfastness matched his own and whose death preceded him by only a few weeks.  Terribly painful is the toll of absolute absence. There is nothing, no one, on which to define a new direction, when a broken heart has no vision.


It is Autumn now, the end of September, and the garden goes fallow. The blooms are gone, pruning leaves branches exposed and barren. Trace disliked this time of year, the loss of hot sunny days and Summer delights. For me Autumn has always been a favorite season, but now it is filled with sadness and the analogies my tiresome mind creates to torture loss and piquant regrets.

It doesn’t seem possible that only two months or so have passed since his death. I go into his empty room and expect to see him and Bodhi asleep on the bed, or hear him in the kitchen making coffee for breakfast, or returning home from the dawn trail walk and finding Bodhi at the door to greet me and Trace not far behind. Sometimes I can see them at the top of the hill  waiting for me to climb up after a long walk. I wait for the nightmare to end, to wake up and find that all is well. But it’s not.

Friends, neighbors and acquaintances ask me how I am doing. I say “OK, one day at a time.” I say that because people want me to be well, care about the sorrow and truly hope I am OK. I’m not OK and wonder if that will ever happen. Every day is a challenge. There are small, simple pleasures to embrace such as the beautiful light at dawn that rakes at an angle through the garden and sparkles the dew. Kind words and gentle people appear here and there to assuage the pain and convince me that while the spirit is gone, love persists. A good cup of strong coffee, a ginger scone convince me that the senses can still delight. But, it is true for now that joy is gone and a future irrelevant.

After twenty four years together, the break of death is almost unbearable, challenges sanity and gives full meaning to a broken heart. Millions of shared moments, growing two as one, the complexity of it, the merging of brother spirits—–gone forever. Living as a singularity has no attraction, lost is its richness, purpose, and meaning now. From all accounts this terrible pain is perfectly normal and for that, I weep for the world. I still cannot accept it, will not let go, and keep my tears at home where they nurture the past. I am one with he who said, ” all those moments are like tears in rain.” It was time for Trace and Bodhi to die. I was caught by surprise of such absolute extinction.

I see the event horizon and embrace my time. The ashes of my love will nurture the future so, meanwhile, I will plant hundreds of tulips for a Spring that may yet come.

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3 Responses to “Oh Wow”

  1. Fumon says:

    Those we love remain, in our heart and memories, of course, but also as someone our mind will turn to, again, and again. There are still moments you can share. Whether or not it’s just an illusion, I’ll leave for those much smarter than I to decide. I just know that everyone with whom I’ve ever shared my heart, are still with me. They provide both comfort and guidance and I can still feel their love.

    There will come a time when you recognize that Trace, who became so much a part of you when alive, will remain a part of you now that his body has gone. You will start to talk to him in your mind, and when you do, you will find your burden eased a little.

    The more you talk to Trace, the easier it will be to know what he would have said, and before too long, there will be actual conversations, once you forgive him for leaving, and yourself for not going with him.

  2. robin andrea says:

    You walk this path we all will walk, as someone who has loved and still loves the partner of his heart. Your footsteps go into the garden where you will plant tulips. And your heart already knows that it will hear “Oh wow” at the sight of the first bloom in spring.

    Thinking of you and sending love.

  3. rainnnn says:

    Have you found some kindred souls who know what you are experiencing and can commiserate with you with more than platitudes? I know of several women who lost their spouses years ago and they still grieve the loss. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone like that.

    to be honest, I felt a little jump of my heart when I saw the picture of Trace and thought of his loss and that was as of nothing when I only knew him through your relationship and the internet. I know the consolation has to be that you had that beautiful relationship and so many never do. Still the loss is huge. I hope you will feel free to write about it when that helps as sharing sometimes does help.

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