The morning of my last day in the US a week ago, I was in Starbucks with my father.

We had been talking about Albert – how much he wanted to take my dad on a motorcycle ride, what my dad would have liked about him. I had shed a few tears talking with dad and was still teary as he left me behind to spend some time writing and thinking.

A man came over and sat down next to me.

His eyes were bright, sparkling blue and his hair was white. He said that he and his wife had been observing me for a little while and he felt compelled to approach me.

He very gently told me how beautiful they thought I was. His arms moved around his head as he told me I appeared to be glowing.

He said he felt a tug to come over to tell me these things, and didn’t know where where came from. I teared up and told him the timing was right, that I was going through very tough time.

He then added that I am a very special person and loved by many. And asked if he could give me a hug. Then he introduced his wife as she approached, and they left.

I have no idea who this person was. But there have been two other occasions in my life where someone said I was glowing.

My sister-in-law, at John-Mark’s memorial service, told me in the middle of the memorial evening that I appeared to be glowing.

And Albert, the first week were we dating, told me one night that I appeared to have a halo around me. Like I was glowing.

I think I’d rather not wear this particular halo.



You are everywhere.

In every restaurant we went, where you’d sit or kneel beside my chair, take my hands and tell me I am your everything. Every single time we dined.

Among the pages of my notebook, where I wrote our story as it happened and poems that came out of me when I thought my heart would explode for you. Poems you teared up over when I read them aloud.

Below my balcony where you would whistle for me, and I would exit to see your broad smile and shining eyes. Sometimes with your bicycle, sometimes with your moto helmet, sometimes with roses in your hands.

At the airport arrival where you waited with signs for me, again and again. Where we fell into each other with kisses and laughs of joy to be together once more.

The beaches where we would picnic at night, music playing on our phones. Or sometimes swim naked by the light of the moon.

My bathroom mirror where you’d be at my shoulder as I readied myself for our evening out.

The pillow you would hide chocolate bars under so you could feed me bits at a time.

Every cafe we sat shoulder to shoulder  in, hands entwined.

Every street we walked down arm in arm.

My closet where your shirts hang slack.

Your final entries in our calendar.

The vacant airplane seat beside me.

My unread messages.

My empty bed.


I do not recognize this

I don’t want to do this. I don’t know how.

When I am in deepest despair–which is often, daily–Friends and others remind me that I know how to do this, that I’ve gotten through this once before and I should be able to see that while it hurts now, I will make it through and incorporate loss and the memory of Albert into my life.

But this is not the same. I have to tell you – it is not. The the loss of John-Mark and the loss of Albert are ridiculously, insultingly similar, and yet they are totally, entirely different. I do not recognize this as anything I have experienced before.

It’s two times now that I’ve lost all my sense of safety, order and continuity in life – that much is true. But it stops there. Nine years ago, John-Mark’s death was traumatic and extremely painful and I was in shock, but I still felt I had a sense of direction and the power to make decisions about my life.

I do not feel I have that now. It is a terrifying, dark, powerless place that I am in. Albert was my confidant, my friend, my lover, my protector, my security, my life partner, my future. I have no desire for the future that lies ahead of me now. Nor do I want today. I don’t want to remember anything. I sleep at night easily, because that is where (for the most part) I can forget.

I do not have a blueprint for how to accept this. I don’t know how to incorporate this loss into my life, I have no idea. This cannot be forever. I will not survive.


Your little family

Coming home is lonely. It’s just me and Kitty cat now.

When one of us was away, Kitty was with whomever stayed home. When I was gone you always told me that you and Kitty missed me. You sent me photos of the two of you. I did the same for you when you were gone.

You told me how happy you were the day you heard me ask the cat if she missed Papa, referring to your return from being away.  You loved that I referred to you as her Papa. You used to smile at the three of us cuddled together of the sofa or bed and say, “We are all here, our little family.” I couldn’t have wanted anything more. I didn’t. You commented once on how rich we were, rich with joy and love and contentment and anticipation for a long and wonderful future together. I agreed.

I used to walk in the door and be greeted by your smile and then your arms. Now Kitty greets me and looks for you. Sometimes I cry so hard my knees buckle and I don’t even make it to the sofa to lay down, where I grip a pillow so hard I think I will tear it.

It’s just me and Kitty cat now – your little family misses you.

Photo 27-02-2017, 21 14 41

Photo 18-04-2017, 23 58 41

I miss…

I miss your hands, the way your wrapped your fingers in mine. I miss hooking my arm into yours as we walk down the street. I miss our long chats at dinner every night, talking about everything under the sun. I miss your excitement when we solidified a travel plan. I miss your “bon dia” texts every morning, without fail, when you arrived at work, and all the long spontaneous outbursts of love and commitment you would send over text as the feelings grabbed you.

You told me often that you thought your heart would burst with love and happiness. I miss your gaze as we sat across from each other at a table, stood in the sea together with our arms around each other, sat on a bench or the sand somewhere, lay side by side.  You would hold my eyes with yours and look so deeply into them. You once said you could see my soul, who I really am through my eyes. I gave them to you, I let you in.

I miss that connection, miss how we didn’t even have to say a word to know what the other was thinking. I miss surprising you with notes or meals left in the fridge or little purchases of favorite things or a chore done for you. I miss your deep gratitude at every surprise. I miss your surprises for me, you made such efforts to arrange surprise excursions- I loved all of them.

I miss how you were always singing and making up funny lyrics to popular songs, or just humming a tune to whatever activity we were doing. I miss teaching each other about our respective popular culture, like the time I showed you where the Sanford and Son tune you were singing originally came from, even though you heard it on the Simpsons. I miss your clever responses and super quick wit. I miss your desire to make others laugh, to feel good, to feel loved.

I miss our  slow and steady approach to our future together, I miss how the ideas crept into our daily life, and how we both welcomed them like lovely pets when they arrived. Like the time shopping in Bauhuas when I commented on a gorgeous bathtub. I said, “I want to have one of those in the house we will have together some day.” And you turned to me and smiled so big. And from then on we spoke of “our house.” And then we started to look for it. We had just gone to see the first one 4 days before you died.

I miss our conversations. We never ran out of things to say.  Every conversation opened more doors and more possibilities and created more and deeper connections between us and between the world and us (or US as you would emphasize.) I miss your excitement over US and how you admired me, because I so admired you -your drive, your mind, your love of life and your love for your friends and family.

Being together was enough. I miss how we didn’t have to do anything to be content and enjoy our time. But we also delighted in doing things together, new and old. We couldn’t wait to experience new things together. Watching you in situations I had not experienced with you yet was always a gift, because they showed me new parts of you and it was always wonderful. You were so resourceful. You loved my practicality and I loved your decisiveness.

I miss looking at you when you didn’t know I was. I miss observing how you carried yourself in different situations, the way your voice and posture changed, which language you chose to speak, if you squared your shoulders or relaxed them. If you spoke softly or directly. I miss catching you looking at me. I miss the butterflies I would still get in my stomach when I saw you after being away. I miss you telling me about your butterflies too. I miss you asking me to repeat something just so you could watch my lips form the words again. I miss you interrupting me to tell me you loved me.

I miss you.

I miss you.

I miss you.

You are worth it

This pain. The waves of it that wrack me at night until I can no longer take a breath and my body shakes. That makes my knees buckle. That stops my tongue in my mouth and the thoughts in my head. That makes a future seem impossible. That feels like it will kill me. That I thought would actually kill me, and maybe almost did.

You were worth every single moment of it.




It hurts to breathe. I can barely put one foot in front of the other, and then when I do, I ask: to what end? Where will this take me?

The answer is unbearable: it will take me the only direction there is. Further from where I want to be. Further from my life with him. Further from the future we had planned. Further from the dreams we were forming together with so much joy and excitement.  Further from the happiest time in my life.

Every night, when we climbed into bed and held each other, one of us asked, “What’s this?”  and the other answered “This is the best part of my life.” These steps are taking me further from the best part of my life.

I have no signs of him. I beg for them every day. I am looking for him. He is not here.