Posts tagged ‘death’

January 27, 2012


It has been one year since Jake B. passed away, and I can still feel the shock I felt that morning when Aaron texted me. The panic and confusion. Blood clot? Stroke? He was paralyzed, but he didn’t have to be dead too.

I think of him often, more on days when I am frustrated with sitting all the time. Because he was too.

I just hope he found some peace with his life before he died so young and didn’t feel lost or angry like I know he had before. Things that weighed heavy on him, I hope, were lifted and that he is somewhere still running around, laughing and loving. He deserved that much at least.

RIP Jake. I miss you.

August 6, 2011

Happy birthday, Jake.

When the light shines
in the right angle
at those few seconds
on the drive to work every morning
I know you are smiling

and finally, happy.

I so miss you,
my friend.

That sunshine,
I want to bottle it up
and leave it on my shelf
for when this gets to be too much
for me, too.

May 26, 2011

cryin’ for me.

They played this song at Mark’s funeral, and it’s been in my head ever since.

I think it sums it all up. There are a lot of lives that are less than they were without Mark around.

May 18, 2011

cancer sucks.

Mark Werner 1970-2011

We are going to miss you, friend.

April 2, 2011

lost friend.

Trea Mason was always a funny kid. Not the kind of funny that people made fun of, but the kind people gravitate to and secretly wish they were.

He was the first person to regularly call me Care Bear.

He died when we were just 18. It was a drive-by and they say it was gang-related, but I just can’t see him as that. In my head, he is still the goofy guy in the back of the city bus every day in high school, making us laugh so hard we were sure we were going to pee our pants.

I had a dream about him last night, and I realized how close the anniversary of his death is. It was April 11, an Easter Sunday. I couldn’t believe he was dead. Trea was the invincible one without fear. There wasn’t one time I remember him ever being scared. I can only hope he wasn’t scared then either.

I wish he were still here to give me a laugh every once in a while.

March 2, 2011

goodbye friend.

I was just a day late
on saying what I wanted
and a day late
with showing how I loved you.

It’s when you want it
that it’s gone
as it always goes.

The sun seems to
have left
alongside you.

February 27, 2011

it all comes down sometime.

Snow sleeps on my lashes
softly until the warm
of my skin melts it
away to tears.

They don’t need
to be explained,
today anyway.

My heart is just as tender
as the day you’d gone
and my arms just as lonely.

The white is what I imagine
it to be where you are.

Winter will never be as beautiful again.

February 26, 2011

address in the stars.

Isn’t that just one of the most gut-wrenching songs you’ve ever heard?

I think so.

Every time I hear it, I think about Jake. And how sad it is that he isn’t here anymore. He had so many things he had left to do with life, but he won’t ever get the chance to get over this bump in his life. Sad.

It seems like anytime I ever think of a friend or family member who has died, I always go straight to what they are going to miss, the things they’ll never have the chance to do. Zack’s death really reinforced that “missing out on chance” feeling in me. I never took that chance. My fault. totally. My regret too.

The deaths of people around me who are so young and have such full and promising lives makes it so much more obvious that I need to be taking every opportunity and running with it. And making new opportunities. Taking chances so that there won’t be those regrets later.

January 27, 2011

RIP Jake.

A friend died today. Far too young and far too quietly.

Jake, also in a wheelchair from a cervical spinal cord injury, passed away this morning after suffering a stroke from a blood clot that traveled to his brain stem, causing a stroke.

He hated being paralyzed. Not that anyone ever likes it, but Jake had such a disdain and nowhere to direct it. It makes my heart weak and scares me to know that it was his injury ultimately that killed him. I think, though, that he wouldn’t have it any other way. Finally paralysis/spinal cord injury/complications can be to blame. It’s their fault he isn’t here.

He had come so far and worked so hard to get movement in his arms back. He wasn’t satisfied and even up until yesterday, he was working. That determination was what drove him most of the time I think. It’s also what frustrated him too. Sometimes our bodies just don’t do what we tell them to, no matter how hard we try.

Last I talked to him, he seemed in good spirits, and we had talked about hanging out as soon as the snow had disappeared. We were kind of like the wheelchair duo around here.

I hope he is up there running and jumping and skipping and dancing and laughing. Doing all the things he so badly wanted to do. I hope he finds the peace he had been missing since his injury. I hope he has the happiness.

Even though we didn’t always agree (sports teams, politics, some handicap issues), he was my friend and I will miss him. It makes me so sad to know that he is gone, just like that.

Just like that. I hate that part.

November 26, 2010

R.I.P. Zack

A year ago, the world lost a very good man.
A year ago, a little girl lost her daddy.
A year ago, a wonderful woman became the mother who never got to say goodbye.
A year ago, a brother was left behind.
A year ago, a mistake was made, and a life was taken.
A year ago, I lost someone I never knew was as important to me as he has become now.

A year ago, heaven surely received its sweetest angel.

October 16, 2010

ticking of time.

Thought a lot about Zack today, especially after I took this picture. It was about this time last year when I talked to him outside under that golden tree, and he laughed because he had scared me. Less than two months later he died. I hope he has as great of flares up there as I do here.

June 25, 2010

since you’ve left.

I do my best thinking
in the dark
away from lights and distractions
where my heart can be calm
and remind itself what remains dear
without drama or pretense.

With black all around
I can be myself
and hide the tears
if they should force themselves up.
No need to hide my face here.

In the dark
I do my best thinking
and mostly I think
of you.

And just how I miss you
and the mystery that you held
clear up until the very day
you died.

I have never missed
a friendship that was quite as quiet
as what we shared.

Still, it is here
and you are not.

March 22, 2010

now it can start.

Today is the sentencing of the girl who was driving when he was killed. Every time something like this comes up, I miss seeing him. I will be relieved for his family when today is over, and they can finally begin their own healing without being torn up over and over again with court proceedings.

It will be a relief for a lot of people, I think.

**Edited to add: She got sentenced to 283 months. There’s not much for me to say about that I suppose. Just that 23 years will be a very long time that she’ll have to think about him.

March 15, 2010

it’s this.

She kissed his hand
and laid it again across a cold chest,
his heart not beating
breath not breathing.
Tears stung her chapped cheeks,
four days of stinging streams.
Distant voices offered comfort,
reaching her in waves
like the echoes of a dark tunnel.
No light at the end.

Her boy, as good as could be,
dead, a thought unfathomable
in her weakened mind.

Her boy, so loved,
no longer able to love.

He was quiet as if asleep
but he would never sleep again
and he would never wake.
She couldn’t know
which hurt most.

Her boy, so wanted,
would never know this.

She would never be the same.

This was the day
she’d be forced to say goodbye

and neither of them were ready.

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January 16, 2010

in the quiet.

I wrote a few months ago about Zack, who was killed as a passenger of a car wreck during a police chase. It was extremely sad, and even though I only knew him mostly as the guy on the bike who rode past our house all the time, the news of his death was so shocking and heavy to me. I can’t really explain the loss I felt for this man because you’d probably think I was crazy. To put it shortly, I was most devastated at the lost opportunity to know him.

On the day of his funeral, which I was too chicken to attend, I sent a copy of the poem I had once written about him to his mother, Vicky. I didn’t know her either, but she had set up a memorial website for him so I knew that knowing that he affected people was important to her.

Yesterday, I received a letter back.

It was very heartfelt and appreciative, and she apologized for taking so long to respond. This woman, who just lost one of her two sons in such a horrific manner, was apologizing to me. I knew instantly that not only was Zack a good person, he came from a good family. She also sent me a few copies of some of his drawings, which were very good. I’m glad she knew that I would appreciate them.

I don’t really know why I am writing about this. Nobody really cares about this correspondence, but it just amazes me that sometimes something so simple as a letter (or a poem in Vicky’s case) can be so powerful and make a situation easier to bear.

It also makes me want to not miss any chance with anyone. Maybe strangers can be the ones who make all the difference.

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March 27, 2009


–Making to-do lists makes me stressed out. Visually seeing all that needs to be done is too much.

–Greg and Chris’ funeral is on Monday, and I don’t think I have dreaded a trip to the church quite like I am dreading this one.

–KU better win tonight, or I might scream.

–I should be spending more of my time reading leisurely rather than playing Scramble on Facebook, but it’s so addicting!

–I love the jasmine thai tea candle my mom bought me today. Love, love, love.

–Cap and gown have been purchased and are anxiously awaiting the big day as much as I am.

–I am learning to be better organized. Or less messy. One of the two.

–In hoping that he would change his mind about me, I changed mine about him.

–Watermelon Ring Pops make almost everything better.

October 20, 2008


Self-portrait, October 19, 2008

I need some inspiration,
some strength to pull me through,
and maybe just a hug. I need to feel something new.

October 6, 2008

never ending.

If there is something that I cannot stand to see, it’s my friends being in pain.  It makes me feel awful to see them cry or needing to scream, or both.  It makes me feel bad too, because I am awful at knowing how to console them.  The words that I say never seem to be the right ones and no matter how tight I hug them, I always want to hug tighter.

Robyn’s dad was killed this weekend in a car accident (her mom was also injured), and as much as I dreaded going to the hospital when I got that call, I knew I had to. I knew she was going to need that support. While we were there with her, only 2 hours after the accident had happened, I felt a sadness that I have never felt before. For the first time, I saw exactly what scares me most about losing people close to me: a complete helplessness of not knowing what to do. All she could do was cry and try to distract herself by making sure that her mom was going to be fine (which it turns out that she will). Robyn is one of the absolute toughest people that I know, and I just hate that she has to go through this. I want to wrap her up in some special blanket that will shield her from the pain and grief that she and her mom are feeling right now. I want to fast forward five years to a time when things will seem easier. I wish I could just protect her from it.

Life isn’t fair sometimes. She just finds a great guy, who is probably the best match for her ever, and then this happens. Is there a balance that I’m not aware of? Taking someone away because someone else has appeared? A negative for every positive? Canceling things out to remain at neutral? Some would say that that is what nature would want (random balance), but it’s just not fair.

It’s only the beginning of the road for her in the process of grief, and all I can do is be there for her when she needs me. Let’s just hope that some of the words I have can ease something in her.

September 7, 2008

carved deep.

I’ve visited the cemetery more in the past 2 months than I think I have in the past 10 years. Joe Bob lies underneath this tree that Donnie etched in, and it’s the most sickening place. It’s actually really beautiful, but what it represents to me is sickening. How anyone can pump 15 bullets into a person and only get 2nd degree murder is sickening.

I’m still angry, I guess. It was so senseless. So stupid. So unnecessary. So cold. It doesn’t matter what he did.

Mostly it just doesn’t seem real.

August 15, 2008


Mausoleum #1, Topeka Cemetery

I’m not afraid of ghosts or spirits. I don’t doubt that they exist, but I don’t think they can harm us or anything.

Yesterday, I went to the Topeka Cemetery (I have a weird fascination with cemeteries). It’s the oldest cemetery here, and Mausoleum Row is one of its signature parts. And I’ll admit, I was spooked.

It’s creepy there. Eerily quiet and seems completely deserted. Something about it just felt odd, and I only stayed to get a few shots before I was ready to bolt.

I doubt I’ll be going back.

July 21, 2008

unimportant life lesson.

If God was going to take people out of our lives,
at least he made waterproof mascara.

July 19, 2008

discussion in the van.

I tried to hide the creak in my voice,
but with the swift turn of her head,
I knew she caught it.

But thankfully she let the silence
linger in the air,
long enough for the tears to force themselves down,
pooling for a different day.

July 6, 2008

always the most important man.

Yesterday was the first family gathering without Uncle Galen, and without anyone needing to mention the fact that we all felt it, it was different. Everyone was running around, skating, playing horseshoes, laughing and having fun. But it was missing something, or rather, someone. Aunt Edna was her notorious strong-hearted self, and all of her and Uncle Galen’s kids acted as the normally did. Well, until it was time to leave.

Sycamore Springs is a generally happy place, but it was bittersweet for our family.

Becky, with kids in tow, was going around, saying her goodbyes. She made her way around the circle and came to Dad (my dad). I wish that I had a picture to show of how much of a resemblance Dad and Uncle Galen had; with only weight the difference, they could have been twins. She hugged him and immediately turned away, and right away I felt it. It was like a huge cut through the air; finally someone was expressing the way that everyone else had felt at least once during the day. I saw tears in Dad’s eyes too. When she turned back, wiping her eyes, I teared up too. It’s only been a few months since he passed away, and I think that familiarities between my dad and her dad just made her give way to being strong.

I haven’t ever been very close to her, not as close as I have with some of my other cousins, but at that moment, I just wanted to hug her and make it easier for her. I have never known that pain, of losing my father, and I fear the day it happens. It makes me feel queasy just thinking about it. With his breathing problems, he has scared us before, and even that is a feeling that is so awful it is physically painful. I realize how lucky we are to still have him here, and it made me want to make the most of every minute we have from now on. I don’t tell him near enough that I love him, and I don’t spend near as much time with him as I used to.

I think that if I am anything like any of my family members, I am most like him. Outspoken and usually stern when I believe something to be true. I am a perfectionist and am the one who people come to to have something explained, like algebra or anything dealing with complicated situations.

I want to memorize every deep wrinkle he’s earned from years of working in the sun, every picture of him playing with the kids, every laugh and glare he’s ever given me. I fear losing him, but I fear losing the memories of him too. I don’t want his face to fade in my mind the way people sometimes fade.

I remember being little, just learning to read and spell. He would go to bed early because he had to get up at 5 a.m. for work. I would get done watching tv and go lay in bed with him, and he would give me words to spell. It took me 3 nights to get ‘window’ right. Why I specifically remember that word, I don’t know. But it was our routine. Dinner, tv, spelling words. We watched wrestling and still laugh at how fake it always has been. We watched NHRA, which we still do. And we always have Red Sovine’s song “Daddy’s girl” to remind us of when I was young and would dance in the kitchen listening to it.

I wish that something such as seeing Becky hurting so bad about Uncle Galen’s death wouldn’t have had to make me see just how lucky we are to still have Dad’s company around, but I plan on making the most of it while we do.

April 24, 2008

To my dearest Cole.

Three years. You’ve missed so much, and still, you have been here for everything in our hearts and on our minds. Wherever you are up there, I hope you’re proud of the things we’ve all accomplished this year. You’re a part of each of them, friend.

I miss you so much. And this song still reminds me of you.

April 4, 2008

bad news.

Uncle Galen passed away this morning.

They say that bad things come in threes. I’m sure that this is number 38,427,848,764 for the past two weeks, and I think it’s about time someone else takes some of their own bad stuff.