Time slithers on like a poisonous snake. It creates new shapes, memories, and opportunities, but allows dust to settle over its path. Time is an entity we as humans cannot reverse nor fast forward – no matter how deep our vengeance. I choose to believe that our understanding of time is mostly veiled in the unknown – dimensions, lairs, and sheathes wrap around and layer him in clouded mystery. What makes up not even an inhale to time in turn has destroyed my best laid plans. What is a blip to him, is a life to me – a life lost.

It has been said that 'time heals all pain'. Maybe so. But what kind of time are we talking about? Decades? Centuries? Eons? Aren't we still experiencing the pain of the extinction of species? Aren't we still in a deep rut of hate that has been present for hundreds of years resulting from religious fear tactics, manifesting as tyranny and terrorism? Aren't we only beginning to understand the pain of the effect our ignorance and lack of care has had on the environment? I realize these grievous circumstances are immense chasms much bigger than my story – the death of one very important man – but to me, it's the biggest story. It's my life. My future. My broken heart. So time, you bastard, what are we talking about here? I don't feel like I'm healing. I feel bruised, raw, and like a scab that is ripped off repeatedly, leaving no time for recovery – only festering infection and eventual scarring.

Though, as if forced by the neck, I slither on with time. At some points I'm kicking and screaming along the way. At other times, my head is down and I walk aimlessly like a prisoner ankle-bound in shackles. Sometimes, I feel my feet beneath me again, my heart beating – reminding me of my own life – and my monkey-mind quivering in anticipation for something to create. Often, I do create – because it's my nature. Lately, I feel a need-for-speed. Struggling with my usual momentum, I'm wading in a puddle of mud. Searching for inspiration is a challenge when my feet are stuck in the quicksand of tarnished dreams. To be completely honest, I thought my next career move was to be a mother. Now, I'm still absentmindedly blinking at the abyss that sits where my swelling expectations had been comfortably nesting. I'm trying to carve out new beginnings and rousing continuations from tragically aborted dreams.

One unique way I've been dealing with my grief is to participate in life the way I imagine you would. I find myself hovering near the soundboard of a funk show, analyzing the layers of music, the production quality, and the passion of the musicians. I am in conversation with you the way we would be had we been there together, except now it's a silent one. I go to the shows that you would have wanted to be at – as if I'm somehow allowing you to live on through my experiences. I lock into my skis and take a run that I know you loved, daring myself to take on the mountain and the trees like you would. I try to tackle life with your gusto, especially when my own hope is waning. Also, I see your soul absorbed in the lives of those you loved. I remember you telling me about your best wishes for certain friends; and now as I see those desires materializing, through wary faith I allow myself to believe you're the gentle director of destiny.

I've developed a sort-of tunnel vision as I move through our house. Some days it's as though I'm sitting in a tear-stained tomb of shattered dreams. Other days, I am in a vault of treasured memories. I still feel trepidation about moving any of your belongings out of sight. It's still too soon. Too soon to box up what's left of you, label it 'the past', and put it in storage. Much too soon. I still find something every day that I know you were the last to touch. I still sip sparingly from a water bottle you filled up over five months ago, feeling comforted by knowing some of that liquid touched your mouth, your tongue, your teeth – physical parts of you I can no longer be touched by. We all move through the house in a bit of a haze. Beats has a new perch on the banister, near the front door. She stares out the window and often turns her head to me and meows quizzically. Although, she sleeps with me now. When I awake with mysterious scratches, she's made it very clear that I'm not her first choice. Kira sleeps sadly and at great length; she sighs mournfully and often. Kevin does the same thing.

One thing I've learned through this loss is that we never really 'have' anything. We often spend our lives acquiring. We gather and hoard as if we need to prove our status by the amount of stuff we have, the amount of friends we have, the amount of money we have, the amount of knowledge we have. We can lose everything so quickly – stuff, money, people, even our own will to survive. Who do we become we are stripped of what we thought we had? Perhaps true freedom is the understanding that we are able to let go of anything and keep going. With nothing but a heart that continues to beat in this vessel we have been offered, we can continue moving forward – with time in front of us, at our backs, and holding our hands through the march.

Under the Blanket

As I walked into yoga tonight, the teacher – a friend of ours – said, "Hey Sami. How are you?" Before I could think about what was coming out of my mouth, I said, "I'm good, thanks". The moment the words left my lips, I felt my lie. I shuddered at the sound of the words. I was not good at all. I was not even okay.

I'd spent the whole drive to my 6pm yoga class with tears streaming down my cheeks. Before that, I hadn't changed out of my pajamas until 5 pm. I'd slept until nearly 1pm, fourteen hours from when I'd fallen asleep the night before. I'd spent those four waking hours in front of the television, smoking pot. I don't smoke pot often. But when I do, it's usually for the specific purpose of dulling my feelings. I bailed on plans I'd made with multiple friends over the weekend. It's not that I wanted to be alone. It's that I didn't want anyone to be around me. I didn't have the effort to show up as the woman I know I am. Or want to be. Or used to be. Or thought I was.

I've spent my whole life trying to please. I've spent thirty years wanting to be liked, be loved, be cool, be accepted, be successful, be attractive, and be it all. And as I trudge around my home with my feet stuck in cement, amidst the grey, smudged canvas that is my life, I can't focus on being anything, because it takes everything just to be. And yet ego breathes his heavy breath down my neck: I don't want anyone to see me weak. I don't want my sadness to rub off on others. I don't want to ruin anyone's day. I want to be worthy of love. For now, in the battle between masculine ego and feminine grief, she wins. I am very, very, very sad – sadder than I knew humanly possible. And sadness like this is exhausting, like a disease. And when I become so tired, I no longer have the energy to pull myself together. To try. To work. To move. To be dependable. To be funny. To be strong. It's embarrassing, to be honest. For someone who has spent her whole life trying to be perfect and loveable – to now be completely and utterly broken, and too tired and sad to try to pick up the pieces. It's as though I'm sitting amongst a pile of puzzle pieces that once fit together so beautifully and I can't find a single match. I sit, frozen, holding pieces in my hands, wondering, 'What happened?'

There is this blanket you had. It's thick, soft, fuzzy, and white. When we would lounge, that was always my blanket. It felt like I was cuddling with a cloud. These days, I am often cocooned on the couch inside of that blanket. I try to cover as much of my body as possible beneath its comfort. Maybe only the sliver of my eyes will have to see the light – my own burka of grief. I run my fingers through the fabric of that blanket and I search for signs of you inside of it. I'll find a small twig that is stuck in the weave and wonder, 'Where you here when that twig found its way into the blanket?' Or maybe I'll spot a little purple stain from a drop of wine. I'll ask you in my mind, 'Was that your spill of wine or mine?' I remember when we both used to snuggle beneath its warmth, our limbs interlaced like twist ties. When you were here, I didn't actually need the blanket to keep me warm. I had you. I had love. Now, no matter how thick or how soft the blanket is, I'm always cold. I'm chilled so deeply from within that nothing can warm me from outside. Nothing.

I feel that my life is a contradiction these days. I don't want to sleep. And then all I want is sleep. I don't want to be alone. And then I need to be alone. I don't want to eat. And then all I can do is eat. I want to feel everything. And then I don't want to feel anything. I want to be loved. And then I feel unlovable. I want to see you. And then I can't find you.

Last week, as I nestled on the couch in a fit of tears, your computer was closed and asleep on the other side of the room. It hadn't been touched in days. Suddenly, the song "Struggling Angel" started playing from your machine. It was the song written for your friend Sarah after she passed, by your favorite band. You used to listen to it "when you needed a good cry". Alarmed, I got up, walked to the computer, opened it, and woke it up. The song stopped. When the screen flashed on, there were no music applications open – in fact the only things open were Acrobat and a Chrome browser with ESPN's website up. There was no sign of the song. The next day, as I painted my toenails (again, on the couch), the TV – which was off – turned on, and flipped from Netflix to DVD mode on both the video and the audio – that task involves various buttons on two remotes, which were on the table. An episode of Seinfeld, which you gave me for my birthday, began to play. I looked up from my polishing, dumbfounded and yet hardly surprised. Obviously, you are around. You are sneakily saying hello in the ways that you can. But while I find it comforting on some level, I also find it distressingly sad. It is you who I love, but I don't know how to love a ghost.

The next time someone asks me how I am, I hope I have the wherewithal to speak my truth. I am not OK. I am lost. I am sad. I am lonely. I am confused. I am a mess. I am barely in motion. But I am here, in the flesh and no matter how here you are in essence, you are not here in the way that I need you.