Sunday, June 13, 2010

Message to Michael

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My Dearest Michael,

I sit here wondering where you are. Some may think this is an odd thought. "Why of course he's in heaven." Is he? Then where? I don't know what to think anymore. I don't know what I believe anymore. I don't even know what I need to believe. It would be so simple to just use a prior belief, and put my thoughts at rest. That wouldn't satisfy me though. I don't think I'm looking for simple answers anymore. Maybe I'm not really looking for answers at all.

I know that my writing here is likely just for my own benefit. There is nothing in my experience that tells me that you can see, hear or sense what I am going through. I often think that these types of worries are not for the dead. They are only for us who remain.

You often questioned life, and afterlife. Is there a god? Does life just cease to exist when the person dies? I remember clearly the moment that you died. I held your face in my hands. I kissed your mouth, and took in your last breath. Then you were gone. What remained was lacking your spirit. What remained was something tangible, something I could hold onto, if only for a short time. What remained has now changed form. What remains of your body now sits in an urn upon my shelf, our shelf. Some of what remains hangs around my neck. Some of what remains sits with you mother. Some of what remains sits with Craig. Some of what remains is scattered throughout Big Sur. Some of what remains has been rubbed into my hands.

I wonder what you believe now. I wonder if there is a you somewhere else. Just because I've been taught to believe certain things about life and death, doesn't mean that I hold onto that for comfort. I don't allow myself that type of peace of mind comfort.

Tomorrow I am getting another tattoo. I know, you would rather I stopped with all this. You are so funny. You didn't really understand why I did this to my body, and you sometimes wished I would ask you before adding another. Yet you were also quite intrigued by the whole thing. I remember that night when I had taken my sleeping pill, but decided I didn't want to go to sleep. When I say I remember, I have to remind myself that part of that memory was due to you replaying my behavior for me the following day. I started talking to you about getting a tattoo, and got out my pen to draw one on you. You said I was acting very strange, and that I wouldn't take no for an answer. The next day, and for days after, we both had a good laugh about it all.

I have chosen to have a Koi put on my arm, swimming upstream. In Buddhism, the Koi Fish is said to represent courage. Humans ’swim’ through the ‘ocean of suffering’ without fear, just like a fish swims through water with full determination. The word Koi in Japanese also means romantic love. This is why I have chosen to wear this on my arm. It will symbolize my courage to keep swimming upstream, facing my obstacles without fear. I will do this knowing that I have your love. I will do this knowing that I will persevere, that I will get through this. You believed in me, and now I must believe in myself.

Michael, know that I love you, and that I miss you every minute of the day. I have become quite comfortable missing you. It is part of who I am now. I carry your love, and I carry my loss with me wherever I go. They go hand in hand. I am learning that there is no need to separate the two. I am coming into an awareness that I must accept what is. I don't want to try to change it, or even wish for a change. I need to accept it. Some days are harder than others, but you know Michael, more often than not, your love carries me through. I am learning to accept that it is there, even when my human weakness tells me to doubt.

I don't know where you are. I don't know if you have an awareness of what you left behind. I can only trust what you said to me night after night, that you would miss me. That is what I carry. I told you that the dead are not the one's who are supposed to do the missing, and you told me that you didn't care, that you were planning on missing me anyway. That is what I choose to believe. Everything else can be sorted out in time. I am in no hurry.

I will keep swimming upstream. When it becomes unbearably difficult, I will reflect on your love, and remind myself that I am already further along than I expected. I can do this. I can do this because you reminded me that I had already taken so many leaps of faith. I have faith in your words, and they will get me through all of this.

My heart is yours.



  1. I can identify with so much of what you wrote here. I have the same questions. Where is my beloved now? Does he even still exist, still have any awareness of the man he was, the man I loved (and still love)? There are no answers, but I'm working on being OK with not knowing.

    I love this: "I carry your love, and I carry my loss with me wherever I go. They go hand in hand. I am learning that there is no need to separate the two."

    And I love that he told you he would miss you...

  2. after they told me they had been unable to save my Dragon, they took me to the room where he lay. a nurse hovered close in case i - collapsed? he was gone. there was nothing left of the man i love but for the body i craved touching as much as i needed air to breathe. he had never laid so still even when asleep.

    asking myself the questions you posed above, writing about it as you have, started the moment i saw his body laying there so empty of who he was. i do not have answers carved in stone. what i have is a promise. it is all i have to cling to.

    i wish you peace.

  3. The Koi tattoo seems right for this time. I never wonder where Don is. If he is somewhere, I believe he is part of me now.

  4. Questions we have all had. Can they see us. If we think of them, does that thought cause them to turn their gaze toward us? Or are they just gone. Questions we will have the answers to...someday.

  5. when matt first - changed, I needed him to still be around, somewhere. I needed him to know me. The invisible river surrounding all things was, and is, more real to each of us than this physical realm. Anyway - my theory in those first many weeks became known (to me) as the Pie Theory: when you are here in this world, you are one piece of pie. When you leave this realm, you are still that piece, but you are also the whole pie now too. I still need him to be the piece I know, to have awareness and connection, and I know there is so much more to that whole pie than I will understand from here.
    I have had so many tangible evidences of love - before and since - he left. I would like to say that he gives me these events and experiences, but I will say that Something is here, something is showing me tangible evidence of love. Something is here beside me and walking with me, to precise to be random, too tangible to be called "made up" by my very suspicious mind.

    beautiful post dan.

  6. keep swimming upstream.
    that sums up so much.
    the koi is perfect.

    thank you.