Sunday, January 29, 2017


In the tormented weather of the USAFA, there is always an eye of stillness over the cemetery, as if God is holding her breath

(Or at least there is every time I've been there.)

Eight years ago tonight you watched your final sunset – or maybe you missed it – maybe you were watching cable or still at work. Did you know that you would soon join the darkness that was rolling in around you?

Tonight I watched my shadow hold vigil above your grave. I watched it get taller and merge with the shadows of the forest around the artificial clearing. The memorial section forbids flowers and flags – any visible token of memory, as these service members died in service, and in uniform they remain. Forever, together, separated only by the thin whispers of time between the dates on their headstones. Their weapons and likenesses etched and cast in stone. It is comforting to know that they are with you each night, the trees and dwellers within them, your fellow men at arms – that you will never again face alone the darkness who drowned you.

I snuck in an espresso for you, poured it into the earth, hoping that the flavor might somehow trickle into your ashes – knowing full well that it won't. But maybe it will mix with my tears, the deer droppings and the wind and some day a molecule that was once you – that became me - will rejoin the surface of the earth. Maybe it will rise from the roots of the trees who surround you.

Maybe I will live to see it.

As I struggle to sleep at night, to pull myself out of bed each morning, to rest peacefully, I occasionally think of you. I'm grateful you don't have to work in support of this administration – or live with us beneath it's oppression. Your spirit is with the deer people now, which is, perhaps, the safest place to be.

Hearts are funny things. Mine seems to be well-tethered to the men I've loved, keenly aware of their movements and subtleties. The cords that tie me drag me down and lift me up, while also pulling my attention to the four directions – the four chambers of my heart.


I have a name for each of you – a need for each of you. An unanswered question in each chamber that keeps my love alive, even when I wish it would simply fade so that it would not keep me up at night. I don't have room for any more – my heart is full of stone - relics – stuffy emptiness - shrines to those departed through death or choice. Those dwelling in caves and tombs.

You died eight years ago tonight, dear Jon, and by now it must be time to rest. There is irony in knowing I can never call you, never hear your voice, never feel the warmth of your presence, and yet I know exactly where to find you. You've done all the leaving you can do, and the rest is up to me.

I'm taking the reigns of this cord, in this section of my life, and asking you to become an inspiration – to lift me up – to guide me in matters of life and heart. To guard me against the darkness that calls to me, that engulfs me each time the earth leans away from the sun.

Because I am not done living yet.

Because there is work to do.

Become the air I breathe – the words I speak.

The wind.

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