Winging it

The biggest commitment one can make in love is to be parted by death. Now, it is up to me alone – the remainder of our pair – to remember. To remember the way you said 'I love you'. To remember the promises we intended to keep for ourselves and one another. To remember how it felt to dance wrapped in each others arms. To remember how peaceful it was to sleep next to you and wake up nestled in your body. To remember the way my heart felt warm when I was with you. To remember how OK everything always was when you were there. To remember the way your hand danced with mine – the way your fingers explored every ridge of my skin. To remember how it felt to lock our eyes – how our pupils dilated as our souls merged. To remember how we came together when we made love. To remember how safe I felt when you held me. Now, as I question everything, it is up to me to remember how it felt to question nothing.

I'm winging it now. When I keep my gaze down and my mind full, I can fake progress. Maybe it's not always faking. But when I catch my reflection in a mirror and see my own sad eyes staring back at me, I realize that I'm so not OK. Now I wear sunglasses when it's overcast. I wear them not to protect my eyes from the sun, but to protect the world from seeing me and from me seeing me. Loneliness grows like a spreading tumor. I reach out to cope. I reach out in some healthy ways. I reach out in some unhealthy ways. I reach out in some ways that I don't know what the fuck to think about them. But I reach out to try to catch my balance amidst a fall. I reach out to anything that I can cling to as I tumble down this hole. I don't know what's at the bottom. I don't know if there's ground. I don't know if there's light. I don't know if there's love. I don't know if there's peace. I don't know if there's death. I just know that I'm falling, I'm reaching, and I'm alone.

For the first time in my life, I've chosen to truly go inside. I am staying in my broken shell and dissecting the pieces that are left of me. I am not letting very many people in anymore. I'm scared of what I might lose. I'm scared of what they might find. I'm scared of showing that I've lost control. I've lost. My tail is between my legs and I cower, embraced in my own arms. But my arms don't comfort me. No arms comfort me. Only your arms ever made me feel truly safe, truly special, and truly loved. I have to learn to find comfort and safety within the confines of my self. But it's hard. It's like taking an icepick to a glacier. How deep does it go? Where is the root? Hidden so far under the surface. Floating. Cracked. Melting. Buried.

I try to protect myself from further pain, but what used to hurt me now only tingles numbly. I can't tell if the trembles help or hurt. Just more feelings to join in the dance of my despair. Every interaction reminds me that I'm not interacting with you. Every thing I do reminds me of my loneliness. I no longer want to climb in our bed at night. It's too sad. I don't want to sleep because I'll only wake one day farther from the last day I saw you. The void that exists in the space you filled becomes larger – every breath, every hour, every day. Even in the moments when I may smile, I may laugh, I may feel pleasure – the truth is that I am in severe pain. I am missing you indescribably. My love for you remains my guiding light. I am here, powerlessly lonely. Reaching. Praying. Coping. Winging it.

Wherever you are tonight, my love, I hope to God you're having a beautiful adventure. That's the thing about love, I would never want you to feel pain. So, today, despite the clouds covering my universe, I am grateful that you left us peacefully – and that I am the one who has to suffer, not you.


I didn't know what to expect from this weekend. I am in Chicago for the Pink Party, the fundraiser event that your sister Berkley, and her husband Bob, founded to honor their beloved baby Jane who was born asleep 3 years ago. It is the event we met at. It is our two-year anniversary. A year ago, we attended this event arm-in-arm. I wore a European pink, chiffon, and sequin strapless gown. I'd bought it in Vail one day when you went skiing and I stayed at the house to work. I felt like a prima ballerina at the party that night, our one-year anniversary. You coordinated your outfit with my dress, as you always loved to do. We shopped together to find you a tie and a new shirt. Initially, you planned to wear a black suit – you felt it was appropriate for winter – but I convinced you to go with your grey one – a Hugo Boss we bought together for you in Austin. You looked so handsome in a suit. It was you in a suit that caught my eye two-years ago at this same event. But, I don't get to see you in a suit tomorrow. It is not only our two-year anniversary, but also marks three months since your death. I have my pink dress, but I don't have my love. Your sister has the memory of Jane, she has her newborn son, William, but she doesn't have her brother. Anxiety is creeping up into my chest. My skin feels chilled. My throat is raw. My heart beats loudly, a reminder that it is still working even though it's in severe pain. My eyes are cast low. The sound of my own laughter is a shock to my system; it hits like a static shock when you unknowingly touch a charged doorknob or railing. My dreams are cursed. My thoughts feel claustrophobic in the confines of my skull. I feel lost.

I walked by a store this morning called Material Possessions. I slowed and gazed at the window displays. I thought about all the things in there that people would purchase just so they could take ownership of something. So they could show off what they have. I used to show you off. I thought I had you. But I learned you cannot possess ones heart, not even your own – it can go at any time. I thought about how, over the past few months, material possessions have suddenly seemed so immaterial. And yet, at the same time, I've also felt a need to hold onto what is mine. This is my shoe. This is my car. This is my phone. You cannot take it! It is MINE. I've felt a sort-of deserving (a nasty word that I try to avoid) towards whatever I can possess. I have been robbed of what's most important to me. I am free-falling through life right now. Whatever I can cling to is giving me some sort of stability, some sort of wall to hold. When the lover is ripped from my bed, the career is pulled from before my eyes, and in some sense, the floor from beneath my feet – what am I supposed to hold on to? I wrap myself in my own arms, but I am still cold. I need your arms. But if I can't have your arms, I at least need a really warm, new, fancy blanket.

It's been painful for me to go back and look at photos of us. Seeing the joy in my eyes, the height of my cheekbones due to a smile so big, and the closeness of our bodies pressed together makes my whole being quake with sadness. I'm jealous of past-Sami. But I'm also scared that if I don't look, I'll forget. I'll forget the way I felt when I was with you – complete peacefulness, exuberant joy, unconditional love. I know the words I felt, but will I remember the feeling? When we were together, we didn't need to be anywhere else but with each other. We were just as happy under the covers alone as we were in a crowd of loved ones. We were always smiling together, even when we were grumpy about life. We were always having fun. There was never a lull in joy.

So, to preserve the memories, I looked at the photos of us from this same event, one year ago. I admired the giddyness in my eyes with an envious despair. I looked at how your fingers gripped into my shoulder in one photo, a proud possessiveness. I looked at how your hands interlaced around my waist in another, pulling me close into your hug. I pressed into you with beaming willingness. I looked at a photo of us kissing. We are smiling so big that our lips are too puckered to kiss properly. My cheekbones smash into my eye sockets because of my grin. We look like two frozen goldfish. My eyes are slivers that can't see – but they don't need to because they feel your touch, your caress.  I would happily be blind for the rest of my life if I could just feel you alive, if I could just hear your voice.

As an anniversary gift to us, I plan to listen to the one voice-mail I have from you that I have never checked. You left it for me about a week before you died. It will probably be you asking me to pick up some avocados or you letting me know that you scheduled an appointment to get your tires rotated. But, just maybe, it will be a message I need to hear. Maybe you will tell me you are always around me. Maybe you will tell me that I will be happy again someday. And maybe, hopefully, I will be able to hear you say "I love you" in your voice, one final time, for the first time.


I miss hearing you tell me I am beautiful. You would tell me when I groggily woke up to you bashfully watching me. You would tell me when I got out of the shower and you would steal my towel making me chase you, dripping wet. You would tell me when I was in jeans, a t-shirt, glasses, and a dirty ponytail – stressed out in front of my computer. You would tell me on our walk to the car after a hot yoga class, my clothes seeping in sweat. You would tell me after I spent ninety-minutes getting ready for a date with you – in a new dress, fresh lipstick, high heels, and perfume. You would tell me when I would slip into something silk and lacy for you at the end of a long day. You would whisper it again as you stroke my cheek, playfully smack my behind, and then follow it up with a kiss that said it all over again, but without words. You would tell me when I was asleep and could only hear you through the echo of my dreams.

I didn't know much I wanted to hear the words until I stopped hearing them. You spoiled me. And now I try extra hard to look beautiful so I can say it to my reflection and believe myself. It's not a question of low self-esteem or seeking attention – I had just gotten so used to your compliments, to be stripped of them is a shock to my system. It makes me feel needy. A few nights ago, a friend told me that I looked beautiful. And then she said it again in different words, and then again. It was only on the third iteration that I realized it was because she actually meant it. My skin is so thick that maybe it won't let love in, or maybe it lets it in too easily. Hearing those words made my heart open up a little bit and let some love in and out. It also triggered how much I missed it coming from you, in your voice. It reminded me that while the words were soothing to my mind, my lips ache to be kissed and my skin begs for the weight of your body on top of me.

I miss that I could read your mind through the look in your eyes. Our souls shared the sixth sense. And if I couldn't read you, you would tell me what you were thinking without me needing to ask. And you were always thinking about something just so fantastic. You put everything out on the table. No questions. No holding back. No doubts. No games. You allowed yourself to be entirely vulnerable. You allowed yourself to love completely. You allowed yourself to be fully loved. I let you move into my heart. But now, it's been vacated. The love remains, but you aren't there to bask in it. Before, my love was weightless, but now it's heavy. Where does the love end and the baggage begin?

I miss you making me laugh. Laughter is the language of love. It echos across wide open spaces. It bounces across big-city buildings. It sweeps into canyons and valleys, lifting the fog. It defeats hatred. Laughter makes us kind. Kindness breeds love. And love is the triumph. So now I am attempting to juggle all this love. But, I never learned how to juggle. You knew how, but you never had a chance to teach me. I can't drop this ball; it's far too sacred.

I miss empty space with you: the few moments when we had nothing to do except just be. You knew how to dress up boredom in a glittery costume. Now, boredom and loneliness go hand-in-hand. When space isn't filled up with some distraction, it's a reminder that I am without you by my side. I am alone. Distraction overshadows the voices in my head reminding me that I am not OK. So now, I avoid silence. It's a trigger for how different it all is now, how confused I am, how quickly everything has changed, how it will never be like it was, and how happenstance can override all plans.

I miss your love: your unique strain of love. Love is like DNA. There is no carbon copy. There is no love that is the same as another love. That's one of the most beautiful things about love, but it's also one of the most painful. Love is both limitless and irreplaceable at the same time. But damn. Your love was divine. It's as if we were both made of pure love as individuals, but when we came together it became an offering to the Universe. Our love was a beacon.

Just OK

I feel like I'm riding quickly on a stationary bike. Life and time force forward motion and yet I feel stagnant. I ride a wave back and forth between feeling OK, questioning why I feel OK, judging myself, and then not feeling OK. The human body is a powerful, powerful thing when we treat it right. That has been my course of action lately: treat my body well. Feed her. Exercise her. Quiet her. Keep her busy. Rest her. Give her vitamins. I have tricked my physical body into thinking I'm OK, and honestly, it's helping. But then I remember. It hurts to remember.

I took a Kundalini yoga class this morning with a friend. I set my intention: "Remember". At one point the teacher told the class that a true yogi can fall asleep in an instant. She has the power to quiet her mind into stillness in just moments. I was drifting off when she spoke the words. I realized that the yoga I've been doing over the past two and a half months has been the most self-serving and true that my practice has ever been.

Over the past year, I would often tell you I needed a new inspiration for my yoga practice. Yoga had taken a back seat to love, music, travel, and work. I would rather lay in bed with you than jump out of bed to get my practice in. I'd choose dancing to your band's show over an evening class. And when we would get to the studio, I would often practice without much passion. I focused on sticking a handstand, hitting every pose I saw the Instagram celebrity yogis doing, wanting my ass to look hot in yoga pants, or growing my 'fan-base'. I practiced for my ego with a side serving of peace-of-mind.

I searched for new teachers, new styles, new studios. You and I drove to Denver last summer to try out a new style of yoga. "I think I can get on this bandwagon," I told you after the practice. I was slightly inspired, but honestly, hardly. You preferred the tried and true practice that we did at our local studio. You practiced because it made you centered, strong, and energized. You practiced for the right reasons. I was in a rut and searching for something to call me back to my mat.

I was fully invested in the yoga lifestyle career-wise. I taught multiple times a week to a diligent student body. I worked eight to ten hours a day designing a national yoga and conscious-living magazine. I worked on side projects in the yoga industry: yoga apparel, assisting studios, attending workshops, teaching at festivals. But my heart wasn't really committed. My heart was committed to YOU.

The day you died I taught a class about nurturing those you love. It was one of my favorite classes I'd ever taught. You had been my inspiration. It was at noon. You died just over twelve hours later. I talked about how you had been under the weather lately. You were heartbroken and ill. I spoke about how it had been the first time I'd ever really, truly been able to take care of you. You often resisted letting others help. You liked to care for yourself. You were always so capable. But, those last couple days, I took care of you in a way I had never taken care of anyone. It was beautiful. It was sacred. I cradled you in my arms those days, the way you usually cradled me. You cried on my shoulder the way I had cried on yours. I made you meals and brought them to you in bed. I held your hand because you needed your hand to be held. Nurturing you felt natural. I felt powerful in that role. I felt needed. I felt loved and loving. I am so grateful I was able to step into that role, even if it was only for a short time. I also will never forget that class I taught. I was so happy, so complete, and so purposeful.

As fucked up as it sounds, your death was the kick in the ass I needed to reinvigorate my commitment to my practice. It has become my life-force. It didn't take a new teacher. It didn't take a new style of yoga. It didn't take being able to stand on my hands. It didn't take new followers on social media. It took loosing the thing that was most important to me. It wasn't worth it. But this is what life has offered. When you take out the largest piece of the puzzle, the other pieces have a new space to fill. My yoga practice – asana, meditation, self-inquiry, breathwork, and way of being – has been crucial in this process. It has saved my life.

In suffering, as in all facets of life, we have options. We can choose avoidance. Running away from our problems, keeping our head down, not confronting our feelings, not talking about it – I have tried this. It's stifling and not my nature. We can choose to numb. Temporarily soothing ourselves with drugs, alcohol, or other agents – I have also tried this. The highs aren't worth the lows. We can sit with the pain. Empty our agenda, be still, wallow, and marinate in loss – I have tried this. At times, it's necessary, but it's also self-harming. Or we can choose creation. Taking what we have learned from the situation, the memories, the love, and building from it with a sense of forward motion – I have tried this. It's exhausting and although I feel like I'm running in place, it serves me.

As I approach the three month mark of your departure from this plane, I no longer wake each morning reaching for you. I know that you are gone before I open my eyes now. I don't have traumatic visions every time I close my eyelids down. I also have a hard time remembering. It's as if my brain has put up a wall preventing me from focusing on the past as a defense mechanism, as a way to keep me safe. So I have to really sit still and set the intention: "Remember". Sometimes I let myself. And it really, really hurts. Other times I sit with the present breath, as my practice has taught me. Just. This. Breath. And I can keep moving and feeling OK.

Not happy. Not joyful. Not loved. Not complete. Not healed. But OK.

Twisted Knife

Our true nature comes out when we having nothing left to offer. Who will I be when things get really, really hard? And then, get even harder and more confusing. Right when I think I might be turning a corner, something else slaps me down. Today I lost my job.  

Quick backstory: I'm the Creative Director of two national yoga magazines. I work incredibly hard and passionately. As I've said time and time again, it is my dream job. After you passed away, I requested three months off and was given the green light with full support. Apparently, I was replaced two months ago and not told until today, when I let my job know I was ready to return after the three months, as agreed upon. Rant, over.

Unfortunately, we can't always rely on other people being honorable. We live in a dog eat dog world. Those who succeed often do so by knocking people down along the way. And that's OK. Such is life. It may not be the method I would choose, but it's none of my business. I am not in control of other people's empires. I only can admire what they created, offer my appreciation, and help when it's accepted. When it's no longer wanted, I move on. I will not fight. If I want to be in control of my own empire, then I will have to build one myself.

I imagine myself like an onion. Layer after layer has been peeled away. Soul mate, best friend, lover, biggest fan: gone. Big, protective layers are peeled away, revealing raw flesh. Plans and security for the future: gone. More layers peeled away. Job: gone. Another layer peeled, leaving the core exposed. My eyes are teary as the delicate center of the root is left vulnerable. When that which makes me who I have become is taken away, what remains? When I dive in head first, give my everything, open my heart – and am robbed – how do I react?

As we arrive into this life we are born pure. Then, we start to pile layers on that shape who we become. But when those layers are ripped off, even at our most shattered, our pureness remains. We may really have to dig for it, beneath dirt and grime, anger and fear, disrepute and sorrow – I have faith that our virtuosity endures. So here I lay, shattered, broken, crying – yet somewhere, beautiful and pure.

The hardest part for me today, was that I needed you. You were the one who would know exactly what to say to make me feel better. You would give me the best, longest hug. You would kiss my forehead in a way that breathed peace into my chest. You would tell me you were sorry that this happened. You would take my side and talk a bit of shit. Then, you would explore the other side, being reasonable and fair. Together, we would discover that there is no right or wrong, there is simply what is and what is not. You would say something that gave me hope for the future. Then, you would hug me again - an even better hug than the first one. You would kiss my lips and love my body tenderly. You would hold me while I cried, not saying a single thing for a very long time except "It will be OK. I love you." As the knife that resides in my chest was twisted in deeper today, I really needed you. But you were not there. There was no you. There was no bear. There was no fox. There were no blinking lights. There were no visitors from the other side. There were no dreams. There was no hug. There was just me. I had to look at myself – raw, confused, hurt – and choose to be righteous, to be healthy, and to have faith.

You once told me about scream therapy. You had an ex-girlfriend who made you incredibly angry. You told me when she really pissed you off, you would get in your car and turn on Pantera or Marilyn Manson and scream at the top of your lungs. You would scream and scream and scream. When you told me this, I think my eyes were as big as my face. I never once saw you angry, so the whole scenario was beyond me. I couldn't believe someone made you angry enough that you would even want to raise your voice. You were always so gentle. But, we all go through shit and at the time, it had helped you.

So today, when confronted with what could be anger I decided to give scream therapy a try. As I drove home from yoga and up the long hill to our house, I gripped the steering wheel so tightly my knuckles turned white. I opened my mouth to scream... but nothing came out. I tried again. I gripped. I opened my mouth to scream. All that came out was a choked sob. And then another sob. And another. I pulled over because my eyes needed windshield wipers and they don't make those yet. I crumpled my head into my hands as I gasped sadness to the universe, 'Well I'm down, so you may as well just keep kicking me.' In that moment, I remembered times when I used to tell you, "I don't get angry, I just get sad."

The universe has me on my knees. She's stripped me of some of the most important things to me. Love. Security. Career. But she hasn't taken everything. In my practice tonight, I tapped into my strength. She can take my love, she can take my security, but for now, I still have my body. So I danced with my body on my mat. I practiced grace as I played, breathed, loved, and balanced. Also today, I reached out to my loved ones. She can take you, she can take my job, but I still have support. And friends helped to soothe my weariness. And now, I sit here and I write. She can take my best friend, she can take my stability, but she can't take my words. She can't take my freedom. So I kneel. I am naked, I am raw, and I am crying. But I am still here. And, dammit, I will not loose faith. And as my true nature is forced to be revealed, I will discover my identity.

Uncontainable Love

Over the past week, I've learned that, surprisingly, I can live without you. It's a painful thing to type and a painful thing to feel. When you walked this earth as my counterpart, as my soul mate in the flesh, I did not think that I would be able to survive without you. I thought that if you left, I would crumple into a pile of dirt. Gone. Though I feel like a puddle, when I look in the mirror, my reflection looks back at me. I am still here. I am the same. I don't know how it is possible, but it is so.

When we were together, you were the air I breathed. And when you left, I felt as though I could not breathe any longer and I no longer wanted to if you were not here with me. Yet, despite a fight between my body and spirit, I've learned how to breathe air again. My body won. Air is not as good to breathe as you were. I want to breathe breaths of you. You were pure and sacred to inhale, and exhaling you left me feeling as though my insides sparkled. Every breath of you filled me with vitality, love, and effervescent joy. Now, I still breathe, but I breathe reprocessed, tormented, and brokenhearted air. Every inhale leaves me wanting more and every exhale drains energy from my weary body.

My life these days feels like a facade. I am going through the motions that I always have: Get proper rest. Feed myself. Exercise my body. Meditate my brain. Give myself pleasure. Seek passion. Exhibit love to others. Be grateful. Let music sooth my soul. Write and create. Stay busy. Call my mother... But it all feels dull, like scratched facets of a fake diamond. And the main element is missing: you. Give you love. Be there for you. Listen to you. Be listened to by you. Laugh with you. Smile with you. Plan the future with you. Help you. Teach you. Be taught by you. Hear you. Kiss you. Offer my everything to you.

Life after you will never be like life was before you.

Seeing life continue without the main actor is a very confusing process to witness and be a part of. The show goes on. The clock ticks. Hair grows. Seasons change. Laughter still sounds. Often I want to shake people or even slap them, and say, "How the fuck are we living without him!? This is not OK!" Often, I want to slap myself and yell the same thing. Sometimes I do. It was not supposed to be like this: shaking and slapping. It was supposed to be a fairy tale.

As I see life continue it's as though we're all on a moving sidewalk and you are stuck way behind us on the unmoving road. We can't turn around and walk backwards – and you are still, no longer trying to catch up. One of my biggest fears is that I will move so far away from you that you will be forgotten. My moving sidewalk could be very long. It could continue on well over sixty more years. And I'm scared that you will blend in with all the other things in my past – that you will somehow become a dull and blurred memory, a chapter in a book. Our love and your memory deserves more than that. It makes me fear, am I even worthy of the love you gave me?

Our love deserves churches, altars, skyscrapers, and memorials that will keep reminding me and all of the man that was you. You, the man whose name appears in lights and whose silhouette is drawn by the clouds. You chose me. And now I watch you slip through my fingers and away into dust as life goes on, even though I'm backwards with my arms outstretched, crying on my knees. I'm scared I'll forget you and everything you taught me. I'm scared I'll forget what love is. I'm scared I'll forget that love is the only thing worth anything.

I don't know this path. The body and mind's capacity for healing is shocking to me. I did not think that I would be able to survive. But I am surviving. So I go through the motions of life. But it is not how it was with you. There is no color. It's all grey.

You were my container for love. The love I offered is floating somewhere, not contained. It was housed in your body, in your heart. And now, poof! It's escaped. I feel like I'm scampering around trying to capture it. I scream at the space around me, "Hey, give me back my love! That's for Teddy, not you! That love is sacred. That love is too righteous to be mixed in with the plethora of other shit out there! Give me back my love, damnit!" But it's too late. My love that was for only you lost its container. It has slipped away and mixed in with recycled breath and untethered souls. And the love you gave me, the love that is housed in my being, I'm trying to treasure it. I'm trying to keep it clean and pure. But it's mixing with confusion, loneliness, anger, and unworthiness – and they are really trying hard to dirty the love, just like the oil in my car.

So I'm surviving. I'm putting one foot in front of the other and stringing words together to form poetic messages, sarcastic comments, and dirty jokes. But I'm not enjoying it. I can't hear you laughing. I can't feel your hand on the small of my back supporting me. I'm treading water. I'm gasping for the air that I became addicted to – you. Your love is my drug.

Supple Beings

The human mindbody is profound. Our capacity for growth, connection, love, pleasure, joy, grief, and a plethora of other human experiences can occur simultaneously and often without us even being aware of them.

The mind. Yesterday, an incredible woman guided me through a past-life regression. I didn't think I would succumb to hypnosis. The left side of my brain is bossy. And yet, easily, I dropped into a channel of higher intuition. I regressed through a doorway and into a past life. I was able to speak and see my way through powerful and memorable events in the life I visited from five-hundred years ago. My body and soul, craving healing, knew I needed to see you. So when I accessed my past life, I saw you. You were my true love and my partner. I got to see your eyes. I got to see your soul. I saw that indeed we had experienced one another's love in the past. Through the power of the mind, I preserved the moment I recalled yesterday for centuries. It was written into the highlight reel of my soul. And when I needed hope, when I needed faith, when I needed answers, when I needed to see you – my mind offered it.

The body. Nine years ago, I was riding on the back of a motorcycle in flip flops, a mini-skirt, and a helmet with no chip strap. It was dusk and began to rain. As we took a sharp left turn, the driver lost control of the bike and swerved into oncoming traffic. We struck a Chevy Silverado head on. Both vehicles were traveling about 45 mph. Upon impact, I flew into the air and over the truck. I recall those three seconds in flight as if they lasted a lifetime. I saw what was in the bed of the truck as I flew over it. I realized I was upside-down. I felt the helmet fly off my head. I decided I was going to die. Then, I decided I was not going to die. I cradled my head in my arms and twisted my body to avoid landing on my spine, where I'd had a previous back surgery. Before hitting the ground, I remembered hearing about how drunk drivers often survive accidents because they don't tense up their bodies. I had not been drinking, but in a valiant effort to save myself, I loosened every muscle of my body and literally bounced off the asphalt when I struck the ground. I also felt the energy of being carried and set down softly by some higher power. I had the distinct knowledge that a dear friend, who'd passed away recently, was helping to save me. Adrenaline on high gear, after hitting the cement, I stood up immediately. I gathered my things that were strewn about. I saw the blood on my hands, feet, and back from the road rash. I spoke with the first responders. I checked on the driver, who had flown forward and impacted his groin on the gas tank of the bike. Within about twenty minutes, the pain settled in. EMS loaded me onto an ambulance. I had fractured my tailbone, pelvis, and hip and was in the hospital for a week. I had a six-inch screw inserted into the left side of my back to stabilize my hips. I didn't walk again for five-weeks. I was told that I may never be able to give birth to children naturally because of the fixed screw. I was told never to do impact sports again. Then, came yoga. For nine years I have practiced yoga to heal my body, to sooth my hips, and to open up (literally) to the possibility of being able to have children naturally some day. Now, I can do the splits in every direction. I can put my feet behind my head. I also have run a triathlon and a half-marathon since then. The accident taught me about the capacity for the human body to heal itself through trauma.

The connection. Now, I am witnessing how the human body can support the soul, when it needs to heal.

I was talking to one of my best friends last night about loss. I've known this friend for over half of my life. He lost his mother just over a year ago, suddenly and unexpectedly. The grief, though impossibly painful and unwarranted, has brought out a gentleness in him that is truly beautiful. It is a side of him that I had never seen before. And while I'm sure he'd rather have his mother back rather than access this alternate aspect of his being (and I wish that were possible), it's really a remarkable thing to witness a person change so profoundly. Grief made him grow. It makes me wonder what your death will bring out in me. How will I change for the better? I imagine it will bring out suppleness. It already has. Hard edges, aggression, and disbelief don't make coping easier. Suddenly, you just have to trust in something bigger, something unexplainable, and open your heart to connection – in whatever way that is, however fleeting.

Grief shines light onto priorities. The things that were important three months ago are nearly nonexistent to me now. The chatter that consumed the vast ocean of my mind is still. I don't have the energy to over-analyze. I am not concerned with drama. I am not provoked by lustful excitement. Day-to-day irritations and to-dos are meaningless. I am not caught up in appearances. I mean, I'm still human – but I've been forced to soften. My body and mind work on healing full-time. I have lost control of life. Or rather, your death made me realize I never had control of it in the first place. I thought I did; I thought I could manipulate life to make it go my way. But that was a false assumption. What I can do, is be present in this moment. What, in this moment, right now, will bring me peace? And that's where I go.

Today I spent about thirty minutes pacing back and forth in my living room. In that moment, pacing was the only thing that I could muster, it was a constant. Also today, I spent thirty minutes swimming laps. So essentially, pacing back and forth, but just in a pool. It gave me steadiness to balance out the uncertainty that has clogged my perspective of future. In my yoga practice tonight, I ended with Yoga Nidra, a guided svasana/meditation. During the practice, the teacher spoke about how our nervous system does not allow the human body to cope and to heal at the same time. We must focus on one. When the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant, the body is in rest and digest mode. This means its priority is to recover, to heal, to deeply nourish and restore itself. The body knows how to do these things, but we get so caught up in our busy lifestyles that we often live in reactive sympathetic nervous system mode, where the body’s priority is coping (fight or flight), not healing. I can no longer operate reactively. I must be gentle. I must heal. I don't know what the right way of doing that is, or if there is one at all, but I am living in the moment. That's all I have.

Now, I pace, I meditate, I sooth my mind and my body in whatever way I need. I am listening to her. I am honoring her needs. I've learned that she, my body, is the only thing I have even a touch of control over. And yet, by softening, I also relinquish that control and admire her power over me.


I was never angry at you a single time when you were alive. Our life together was fluid. It was calm like a still lake; the only turbulence was passion and adventure. When we disagreed, the ripples were small and resolved quickly through immediate discourse. It was as if a fish jumped out of the water and then without any memory, hook, line, or sinker, just disappeared back from where it came. Together, we were frictionless.

So, it feels wrong to be angry with you now. It's an unnatural emotion for me. One of those responses that stays way on the back burner. "USE ONLY IN CASE OF EMERGENCY." Well, this defines an emergency. So here comes anger. Shit, watch out.

You aren't here to defend yourself. You aren't here to react. You aren't here to tell me your side of the story. You aren't here to hug me and make it OK. But that's why I'm angry. You're not here. What the fuck, babe?

You promised me you would be here for me. When I left three yoga studios, a business I'd built from the ground, sold my house, and said goodbye to dozens of friends – it was because you promised me you'd be here for me. You would build a home with me. You would help me find a new career here. You would wake up next to me every day and kiss me good morning. You would be my one. You promised me this was it. I knew it. You knew it. So why did you break your promise? What did I do wrong? Why am I alone? Where did you go? Why won't you answer me? Why do I look around and see everyone else so happy – love, marriage, houses, families, success, security, smiles – and I'm alone and sad. You said you would be here for me. You never lied to me. But now you have.

When you were alive, you were so cautious not to hurt others. Even when they needed to be scolded, you were still tender. We trusted you to treat us kindly. We trusted you. I trusted you. We believed you would be here for us forever. We depended on you. I depended on you. When you were floating off to the light, did you know how much we needed you here? How much I needed you here? Maybe you were done with us, but we weren't done with you, Ted. I had so much more love to give you. We all did. Why did you rob us of that chance to love you more? Why did you rob me?

I came undone for you. Every wall I'd built up, every protective sheath, every guard, every story, every excuse – I let it all go when I fell in love with you. I softened like a ripe fruit. I let myself be vulnerable. And you held me gently. You held me as if I were an egg that could crack at anytime and you wouldn't dare let that happen. You teased me into full exposure. You were tender. You were loving. You cared for me with the nurturing of a mother. You showed me that there was none other than you. You were my match. You made me whole. Until you left. Death flirted with you, showed you her daunting beauty, and you chose her over me. You left me. You left all of us here who love you and need you. You broke the egg, smashed it into a thousand pieces and let the yolk spill out into the mud. You took that supple fruit and you gripped it so hard it bruised until it exploded, rotten pulp oozing into the hot sun and making your fingers sticky. You have broken me. I was whole and now I am broken. Shattered. Bruised. Tarnished. Damaged goods.

This anger scares me. I don't want to feel it and I don't want to fight with you. I am sorry for my anger. And I know you are sorry too. I know you are.

A couple days ago, right after my anger had really begun to appear, an old friend of yours sent me a message. She told me you had appeared to her in a dream. Initially, you were alive in the dream. You were a lifeguard at a pool. The two of you were chatting like old times. Then, the truth hit. You are dead. She said the dream became much more intense, more lucid. You changed forms from the lifeguard and began to disappear, as though you were being taken away. She said it was as though you didn't want to leave but couldn't control it. Watching you leave, she asked, "Is there anything you want me to tell anyone?" You remained quiet. "Is there anything you want me to tell Sami?" she asked. "Tell her 'I'm sorry'," you said. And then you were gone.

I hear you. I know you're sorry. But I just don't know if I'm ready to accept it quite yet. I will, my love. I will. But it's not easy.

And so goes life. One day I feel darkness, the next I feel lightness. One day I feel loneliness, the next I feel connected. One day I feel love, the next I feel anger. It is confusing. It feels bottomless. Someone will say to me, "You're pulling through! This is a turning point for you." Yes. A turning point that will turn right back around and go back in the opposite direction. Just give it a few days, a few hours, a few minutes. Grief is like a pendulum that swings back and forth. When it starts to slow down, something or nothing comes in and wacks it again – catapulting it into high gear all over again.

I have heard that anger is a step of the grief process. Honestly, I thought I would leapfrog it. 'I am bigger than anger,' I told myself. I thought, 'I've never been angry at him before, so why would I be now?' Well, once again, grief has humbled me; I am not bigger than anger. It has slapped me in the face and it stings. It's not a natural place for me to be. It feels as though I'm ice skating with socks on; it's slippery. But, I recognize that I can't control my emotions. This is how I feel now, but it can change in an instant. Today, anger has gripped me with it's ugly, sticky hands. It's taking me for a ride that makes me motion sick. And though this ride makes me ill, I will hold on to my truth and eventually I'll make it through, truth intact. Anger will retract his fierce claws.

Operation Seratonin

You and I used to fuel ourselves with oxytocin. We would lie in bed for hours – not eat, not sleep, just bury ourselves in one another's love. The hormone would secrete out of our pores, into the space cocooning us, and then settle back onto the opposite's body with a sigh. If the space around us had a soundtrack it would be the 'ooh's, 'aah's, and giggles of a Parisian love story. Eventually, after hours of whispers, love making, and kisses you would say, "Alright babe, my body can no longer survive purely on oxytocin." We'd rouse to get you some food.

The oxytocin that used to sustain me is flickering out like the dying wick of a candle. My body craves touch. Your touch. My heart had learned to beat in tune with yours. She quieted down, listened for the echo in your chest, and set her pace with yours – happy to have a mate to pulse with. But now she strains to hear you and you aren't there. My heart is tired.

Over the past week I took a dip. I celebrated life – yours, mine, ours. I celebrated the past year – the good, the beauty, the love. Then once this year arrived, I stopped in my tracks like a deer in headlights. In a sense, I laid down in the road and allowed myself to be run over. I felt the pain. I crawled under my covers and turned out the lights. I stopped moving. I hoped that when I fell asleep I wouldn't wake up – that I would drift off to be with you again. I was supposed to be with you.

I don't believe in suicide. I have a hard time respecting it as a choice for others and I certainly do not for myself. In my belief system, I think that exiting life by your own hand signs you up for karmic debt. I think it's a cop out for the lessons we are meant to learn in this life. Life is a gift, even in suffering. Even in the most painful of times, I refuse to believe that human life is ruled by a dark force. So, I know I would never take that route. I am too stubborn. I am too proud. I am too afraid. But, over the past week, I've wanted to drift off to the other side with you, accidentally. Just slip away, into thin air, like you did. One moment you were there – talking, breathing, loving, making promises – and the next you were gone – you were dust, ashes, memories, history, just a dream. I have felt that the only true happiness I will ever feel again, is whenever, wherever I can find you.

Today I decided to make a shift out of the darkness, one of many small shifts that are a part of this rollercoaster ride on the Sea of Shit. I decided that today, I would unglue my chin from my throat. I would lift my gaze from the mud to the clouds. Clouds though they may be, I know behind them is clear, somewhere.

I filled my day up with action. Small things – call the plumber, fold the laundry, shave my legs, call my mom, change the oil, get my dog groomed. These small tasks that seem so ordinary to the layman are like climbing Mount Everest for the grieving. When I can hardly stick my toe out from under my comforter and place my foot onto the earth, going to the grocery store seems like running a marathon with no training, food, or water. My body feels thirty times heavier then it actually is. I tried to move it at times over the past week and all I could do was lay on the ground and beg the Earth to keep holding me, to not let me go.

But today I made it up. I made it out of the house. And I accomplished a lot. In fact, I accomplished a lot for a normal, non-suffering person if I do say so myself. And it felt good. And feeling good, when you're grieving, is like being able to take one breath of air without gasping.

My intention for the day was "Operation: Seratonin". I figured since I can no longer live on oxytocin, I should fuel myself on other natural uppers. I took supplements that I know help me feel better: 5-Htp, Lumiday, St. Johns Wart, Stress-B Complex, Ashwaganda, and GABA. I got out of bed before nine. I ate food. And later in the day, I went to the pool.

My best friend had recommended that maybe swimming would be helpful during this time. She said it might be peaceful to float. Now, considering moving from my bed to the toilet has seemed like a walking on a tight rope across the Grand Canyon, my hopes weren't high. But once I submerged myself in the salt water, it was as though I had tapped into a resource of power deep in my body. I started to swim laps. I started to pass other swimmers. I moved to a faster lane. I started to swim how I can only imagine Michael Phelps swims – super fucking fast. I just kept swimming. I gave myself permission to take the next breath. And then the next breath. And then the next breath. When the tears came, it was OK. No one could see them and I couldn't even feel them because I was already submersed in salt water. I glided forward in the water. Just a little further, I told myself. Just a little further. Until I had no other option – forward motion was the only possible way. I didn't want to stop. Finally, swim team practice started and they made me leave the pool. I had probably swam from Alcatraz to San Fransisco. When I got out of the water, I felt the endorphins rushing through my body. Even when the heart is full of sorrow, the body reminds us of our strength. "Hang in there," my body told my heart, "I know you feel alone, but I've gotcha."

After my swim, I took a steam and then I went to yoga. I continued to ring myself out. I took the sludge, the buildup, the tar, the darkness, the anger, the guilt, the grief, the torture, and the pain and attempted to clean out a layer of it. But I realized that once I accelerate, it's easier to push forward. I remembered how being kind to myself comes more naturally than being cruel. Being hopeful is more inherent than being forlorn.

I'll never be fueled by oxytocin and love the way I was with you. But I still have the power to be lifted up. I will try to climb out of the dark holes and see a bit of sky, no matter how treacherous the clouds seem. When I feel suffocated by my own tears, I will swim in them. I'll remind myself of what I love about me – about the me that is still whole. While you are no longer here, as much as I fight it, you can't take me with you. That's just not how this life works. So I am here. And you are there. But we are still a part of the same stardust.

Too Sad To Write

I have been too sad to write for the past three days. Grief can be like paralysis.

Three days ago we celebrated New Years. I didn't want to celebrate. I didn't open my blinds to see 2015 until this morning. I wanted to remain cocooned in darkness. I didn't want to see what a new year looked like without you. I have stepped outside one time so far this year. I don't want to feel the breath of the new year on my skin. I have hardly responded to my phone messages. I've ignored my email. I haven't opened my computer. I don't want to see what the technology is offering. I don't want to hear the "Happy New Years". I don't want to see who got engaged. I don't want to hear the pop of champagne bottles or the clink of glasses. I've stayed as horizontal as possible until friends coerced me up to eat or Kira asked to go outside. But even she didn't want to see the sun.

Everyone who knows you is sad. I know that. I don't want to compare my grief to others. But watching others smile, celebrate, and honor you through stickers, signs, stories, and memorabilia isn't enough for me. I tried to do it. It worked for a few hours. But the highs are low and the lows aren't describable by language. That's why I haven't been writing. I can't put words to my sadness. There's no way to explain the sorrow when I wake up and you're not there. There's no way to explain how it feels to remember you're gone minute-after-minute. There's no way to explain what life looks like with the knowledge that I can't be with you. Every time I close my eyes I'm taken back to that night. When I sleep, what used to be dreams are now robbed by chilling nightmares. When I feel close to you for a moment – maybe by hearing a song you loved, being near someone who reminds me of you, or seeing a sign from above – the comfort is fleeting. What lingers is a gut-wrenching reminder of how absent you are and guilt for my temporary solace.

I've spent the last week or so surrounded by friends of yours who have been in your life for years, many more years then I was. I have heard story after story that I wasn't around for. I have met people that you never got to introduce me to. I've had heart-to-hearts with friends that I wasn't able to deeply connect with until now, until tragedy hit. And they're all sad. They all miss you. They all love you. But I watch their lives continue and it makes me feel angry. It's anger that I know isn't warranted. But I want to dive under my covers, ignore any semblance of forward motion, and never come out – and definitely not watch others move forward with their new year and their happy lives.

I'm envious of all the people who shared decades with you. I didn't even get two years with you. And yet I had dreams about you since I was a child. And since we started our life together, since we fell in love, I needed to wake up with you each morning. I depended on your kiss to fuel the start of my day. I got to admire you as you did little nothings like brush your teeth, shave, or make tea. I took great care in sudsing you up in the shower, cleaning every bit of you with love and organic soap. I exercised more patience than I knew I had when I'd towel you dry. I moved slowly when I'd kiss your chest and watch your eyes light up with desire. I got to combine my pleasure with your pleasure and witness the creation of true love.

But now I wake up alone. I washed the sheets yesterday because they smelled of tears, sweat, loneliness, and nightmares. And last night I barely slept. I was cold in our bed. I felt so foreign on those clean sheets, the ones that I'd surprised you with one day because they were made out of bamboo and I knew you'd love them. When I did sleep, I dreamt that our house was being robbed while I lay in bed unaware. I woke up in fear and I realized it's a dream I've had a few times now – everything I thought was mine disappearing, everything I thought I could trust being ripped out from under me – a thinly veiled reality.

Kira sleeps on the bed next to me now. She can tell she's needed. She tries to let the weight of her body and the rise and fall of her breath comfort me, but it hardly helps. It just makes me feel even more sad for her loss. Because she misses you too. She wanders around the house and stares out into the distance with the sad eyes of an old dog who's left watching her mom cry all day when just months ago we were all so happy together.

On New Year's Eve I went all-access to your favorite show. I wore stickers with your initials all over me. I stuck smiley faces all over myself and everything I touched, something you were known for doing. I held a sign in the air that read "Team Welles". I brought a bit of your ashes with me to the show in a Ziploc bag and dozens of your friends poured tubes of glitter in with them. I told those who knew you, "If you'd like to take some of him, you can. We can all toss him up in the air at midnight." We called it 'Teddy Confetti'.

I thought people would think I was nuts. But they didn't. With gratitude and love, hand after hand after hand (including band members and their wives!) scooped up your glittery remains and not only offered you to the air, but put you on their faces like warpaint and pressed you to their lips like a kiss. There was more Ted on people's faces than I ever would have been OK with had you been alive! It was an honor to know that the man I love so much, the man I miss and crave so desperately will never be forgotten. And it was truly beautiful to witness how much people wanted a part of you to be a part of them. During the encore, the lights lit up with your name and the band sang the refrain, "Sometimes it seems like such a hard life, but there's good times around the bend. The rollercoaster's got to roll to the bottom if you want to climb to the top again". For about five-minutes, I felt joyful. But when the band left the stage and the house lights came on displaying the wreckage of dirty confetti and popped balloons, my sadness sank in deeper and the guilt-clock chimed.

For every step forward, it's a few steps back. I feel I'm still lingering somewhere around the start-point. Time slithers forward even though I regress. What is time anyway? What is something you can't see, you can't feel, you can't taste? Is it even real? And yet we celebrate the damned thing anyway. So, New Years – the end of a year that housed so much love, so much beauty, and both the happiest and the saddest days of my life. Around me, I watched people curse the old and await the new, while I curse the now and the new, and hide under my sheets hoping to go back three months – back to happiness, back to love, and back to when I wanted to see the light that each day brings.