The energy of this week is a whirling mass of movement and quiet.
On the one hand, I am a busy little bee. Lamentations of the Sea is due out next Wednesday, and in preparation, I have created a goodreads author’s page, cued 7 different excerpts from the book ready to go out to various publications upon its release to help spread the word, and I want to send my publisher flowers for responding to all the thoughts and questions I have bombarded her with in the past 24 hours.
This one feels different than the others: my first two books were poetry books, beautiful in their own right, but this is the unvarnished truth of my loss, and there is nothing to hide behind. It’s a different kind of writing, a different format, an achingly honest excavation of self, and I am about to sit exposed for whoever comes to see.
I feel like I’m poised to cross a threshold- writing wise, spiritually, and emotionally with its release- and I can feel that energy of metamorphosis tingling around me.
At the same time, part of me is absolutely still today. Standing in salute, standing in sorrow, standing in resolute stance that honors what has come to pass this past year.
Today is the day my brother passed away a year ago. We were all in Kauai, while he was in Alaska. We didn’t find out until two days later after sending the police up to look for him- so the official day my family found out was the 18th, which is also the day listed on his death certificate.
But the real day was today.
These dates have created a bizarre trilogy of days where I don’t know what or how to feel. And I don’t know when to feel it.
I sit writing this morning, trying to get everything set for next week’s launch, all while holding space inside of me, as I wonder if my brother was still alive at this time last year? We know from the friends who last texted him that he stopped responding to texts around mid-morning, so I know that by the time I write these words this afternoon, he was gone 365 days ago.
What is it about 365 days that somehow feels so different from 345 days or 375 days?
And yet my reality is that I didn’t know he was gone this time last year, having just arrived in Kauai and spending the day sunning and beaching and hiking. And I didn’t know tomorrow, the 17th, having spent another beautiful day on the island running and palming and breezing.
By this Wednesday, the 18th, I would know this time last year- except not until late in the afternoon, because we were hiking with no cell reception all day. One moment things were normal, then back into cell range and they’ve been the new normal sense.
Life changed in 1 second.
I remember bits and pieces about that day- it’s like a terrible scene from a terrible movie. I remember racing across the island to get to my parent’s after receiving the news. I remember trying to be strong and help my parent’s organize their grief. My husband remembers holding me all night while I kept sobbing, “I don’t want my brother to be dead,“ over and over again. But I don’t remember any of that part.
I remember bits and pieces of what was to come and how it felt, some with absolute clarity, some with a surreal sense that I survived somebody else’s surreality and surely the things I experienced were not mine to experience, mine to hold onto.
Except I wrote a book that says I did. And I do. And I hold.
The girl in that book is me, she lived through all these things, survived all these things, found a way to thrive in these things despite the part of her inside that still sits still in shock, horror, and nonacceptance.
And today that girl swirls.
I swirl around the energy of what can change in 1 second and what can change in 1 year.
I swirl around this book that is an extension of this tough and tender piece of me. And I continue to diligently work on the marketing side, because seeing it through to completion means seeing it beyond publishing to getting the word out. Why light a candle of comfort, then shyly hide it so no one can see?
I swirl with the changes coming down the pike- I am ripping up the roots of life in Alaska and transplanting all of it to Kauai, and there is so much letting go that will be taking place over the next 5 months, I can’t quite fathom it.
And I also stand still.
I stand still in attention for the younger me who was 2 days away from being hit with the worst news of her life- she was never going to see it coming, and things were about to feel terribly dark and alone.
I stand still for the me of the past 12 months who chose to write my way through the pain. Take death and make it into living art.
And I stand still for my brother. Part of me will remain standing still over the next 3 days in observance, sadness, and celebration of life. The memory of a spark who crossed over too soon and ripped a chunk out of the heart of my family.
And somewhere deep inside of me, is a holy altar I have built to revere and honor everything that walks through the hallways of these days, the hallways of my days. It is lit by an enduring light that reminds me how brief and precious is this wisp of life, and all that matter is how we are living and loving.
I step up to it in quiet solitude-
And I kneel in remembrance.