Fire, Part Two.

by Lori Dwyer on August 28, 2012 · 11 comments

A letter for my Tony

I will never be ashamed of you.

I hate the pitied looks some people give me when I tell them how you died. It makes my breath catch, after so long of being OK with it– I forget that this is supposed to be shameful, to bring shame to you.

There is none, not a particle of shame, not as far as I’m concerned. I love you like fire. Deep in the very centre of me, where we keep the small flames burning of precious oils for all the souls we have loved, I always will. There is a burner, tiny and ornate, filled the essence of the first person I ever loved completely, without fear and hiding bits of me behind masks and cut outs– the first person who ever loved me, completely, in return. It’s flame is tended by my memories, the memories I have of us, when things where blissful and we were so very in love.

Because if what we had wasn’t love, in it’s sweetest most robust form, then I don’t think it exists. It was beyond love, because we built things on it. Emotion is like vapor– houses and children and wedding rings are tangible. They can means nothing, of course, and many will tell you that’s true. A marriage is nothing bar a piece of parchment paper with a stamped or printed signature.

But then, a wedding day can be as simple as willow branch. And ours was– it was the tieing of people, the making of two into one. The base for a heady, fraught emotion that had become something solid, something tall, something real.

And I thought it would grow taller. I really believed, in my heart of hearts, that you and I would grow old together. That we’d have our shit times, and our good times. That one of us might cheat, and be forgiven. That money would get tough and we’d get through it.

That every wedding we danced at for the next forty years, we’d reminisce sweetly in whispers of our own.

And this was only the beginning of it, the fresh and fertile patch of marriage life, where children are tiny and time is precious and life tramples all over your good intentions. This was our nappies–and–Wiggles–and–sleepless–nights–and–rare–dinners–out–and–shhh–don’t–wake–the–baby time. It was guaranteed to be rough. We were destined to fight. And fight we did, like wildfire. The very same way we loved each other.

Because following this it was supposed to be over, in a completely different way to what it is now. Our children would gradually slip into school age, time passing before we even noticed it happening. And we’d move into school–concerts–and–weekend–sports–and–Justin–Beiber–and–friends–over–for–bbqs–and–mature–age–university–student–and–trusting–each–other–through–years–of–compromise stage.

And we’d love each other that little bit more ever year that passed. A love born of familiarity and working through stuff and not giving up… the way a marriage is supposed to be.

Somewhere, a pipe dream way off in the foggy distance, we would retire to a lighthouse and live a simple life of thermos of hot coffee and dawn fishing trips and watching old (1990′s) movies together on the lounge a night.

It’s an existence I kiss softly and whisper goodbye to… fold into a paper boat and softly wish it solace as I let it glide from hands into the open gray sea.

The nappies–and–Wiggles stage is just about over here, where we are, your children and I.. stuck down here on Earth. With no newborn to sustain it and the Chop off to school in mere months… it’s passed before I even realized it was happening. It’s sad, and I regret it already. It makes me angry with you, that you took that from me when I enjoyed it so thoroughly, when it was all I ever really wanted to do.

But at least I can begin this next stage without missing you so very much– because I had never fully visualized it before you died. This day to day little person raising existence I’m living now, I know every time you are missing from a scene you should be in– and that’s always– because I can rememeber so clearly what it was like to have you here. Because I had this perfectly accurate picture in my mind of how it would be.

We start the next phase with a cleaner slate, the kids and I. There are no blueprints for this one, no expectations that are truly impossible to meet. I’ve stopped waiting for someone new to come along and ’fix’ us, or make the three of us feel complete– we feel complete the way we are. I just had to be patient… it took some time to get here.

It’s saying goodbye, in a way, to something that was so tactically, touchably real and replacing it with a daydream of what could have been. I witnessed you here in the little kid phase,I know what I’m missing. This next bit, I’ve never done it any other way except alone.

And that’s easier, somehow. Less painful. The daydream is further off from here, in the distance where I cant touch it, grab it and wring at it, make its nerve endings sting and squelch in pain. The reality of what was missing was far, far too close… close enough to hurt all the time.

We’re in a transition. Watch over us, as you do. I miss you– that’s a simple fact of life, always will be. But I’m missing the Tony who is eternally 34. And I’m getting older.

This is just to let you know, I guess– we’re OK. I know you knew I would be– I think you always knew how strong I could be if I needed to. But the doesn’t abscond you from leaving me.

And you still owe me, remember? I’m ok here, alone… but I’m lonely.

I miss you. I love you.

Like fire.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Annieb25 September 5, 2012 at 9:12 am

Truly beautiful Lori. Tony is proud of you … as we all are. xx


Mirne August 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I should be letting go of the life that I believe I should have had, a life with three living children, a life with a daughter and two sons, but I'm finding it so difficult. Letting go means facing the fact that I have no bloody idea whatsoever what my life will be. Letting go means letting go of hope that everything will somehow be all right. Letting go means that the best bits of my life have already been, and that's too bloody awful to contemplate.

This post made me cry. A lot. Because I feel/felt that way too.


Christine Middlecamp August 29, 2012 at 11:41 am

Hello Lori. What a beautifully written post in regards to seizing attachment of your beloved belated. I recently discovered that in order to live out the rest of my existence, I too, had to let go of the life I once shared with a loving, compassionate husband. I'm in year four. He died of brain cancer at 34. It nearly killed me. I was left with a one year old son, and a house far too big to take care of on my own. Not exactly how I imagined my life to be at this age, but plans change, and so do we. By the way, your blog came recommended to me following a shitty fall-out of my own. I just finished up a year of dating, and it was hell. There isn't a replacement, only acceptance. I'm learning the importance of letting go. Rebuilding is in order. And thankfully, I've a priest-friend to help me out who just so happens to think exactly like my belated, and me. There is still good to be had in this world.


Anonymous August 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Wow! That was beautiful! I have no other words…


Anonymous August 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm

So beautiful


The Flying Drunken Monkey August 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Beautiful as always Lori. Don't ever be ashamed. It was a terrible situation but not a shameful one.
And I know the three of you will be ok. xxxx


Lib August 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Lori what a beautiful post. You're writing style is so amazing, and the honesty you show is so wonderful, never shying away from the truth of your feelings. Thank you for your openess.


Karyn August 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Beautifully written.


Melissa August 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Beautiful, just beautiful. So strong and true.


Spagsy August 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm



Kirsty Ward August 28, 2012 at 10:17 am

Simply beautiful. Such a way with words. Such a lady tom boy. Amazing.


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