Onion Nights.

by Lori Dwyer on May 8, 2012 · 16 comments

Last night is one of those onion nights, and all I do is cry.

It’s just… I don’t even know. Sometimes I run… and eventually, the ghosts catch up. I’m afraid. I’m lonely. I’m broken. If someone had told me that almost eighteen months later I’d still be aching like this inside… I would have curled up and died beside him.

Last nights panic attack is so severe it knocks the very air from me… it’s dizzy with white spots, and I have to remind myself to breathe before I faint.

It’s the crushing fear of being alone for the rest of my life, never having anyone hold me as if I’m something precious, something made of porcelain, ever again. It’s the realization that if I can get through tonight, I will probably feel ‘better’ tomorrow… but even feeling ‘better’ is pretty crap.

Most of all, it’s reconnecting with my kids… loving them again. As I’ve said before, reconnection is akin to regrowing nerves that have been charred and burnt… with sensation comes pain.

Every connection you re-establish… it burns like fire, all the way through.


My children are in daycare and I am looking forward to picking them up… it’s been such a long time since I felt that way, it’s almost difficult to identify it.

As is that funny, happy pang of nostalgia you can feel for small children who remind of your own, when you’re missing yours.

I’m waiting in the motor registry when a mum walks in, roughly my age, with a tone in her voice that I recognize instantly, because it’s so often in mine– if she is asked one more question, if she hears the lilting whine of “Mu–um??” one more time, she may just explode.

Normally, that’s me, the slightly frazzled mum with two kids tagging her every move; and I do what I wish people would do for me– I talk to her kids for the five minutes we’re waiting, take the brunt of a four year old’s excessive chatter, endure the drill like sensation of his two year old sister repeating every word he says.

“Mine are the same age,” I smile sympathetically, and I watch the polite, taut smile their mum’s been wearing melt into a grin– we are comrades now, mutual warriors against the daily grind of kid wrangling.

I hear all about these children’s ages, their friends, their new t–shirts. Then the gorgeous, delicate two year old, dressed as my daughter often is, in varying shades of pink and fairy; speaks up to tell me, “We have a daddy!”

Her mum laughs gently, “I think everyone has one of those, baby.”

It’s on the tip of my tongue to say ‘We don’t! We don’t! We had one and he’s gone!’… but, of course, I don’t. I smile somewhere through a fog of cold, painful shock I know well (you are not part of this normal world anymore, Lori, don’t you forget that or you will be reminded) and say what I’m really thinking…

“Aren’t you lucky?”

And I’m glad when they call my number, not thirty seconds later.


It’s cloudy tonight.

“Wanna say goodnight to my daddy.” say my Bump, all two year old defiance– she does not care if there are no stars out tonight. That is not a good enough reason, when you’re two.

We find her a star, just one, twinkling between a break in the clouds. “Goodnight Daddy! I love you!”

She cuddles into me, warm soft arms around my neck, and the tears that have been flowing all night get that bit warmer, saltier, flow faster.

“I miss my daddy, mummy” she lisps sweetly. She has lived without him, now, for longer than she had him, and I doubt she remembers him at all.

I bury my face in her shoulder and sob.

She unknowingly completes my heartache by telling me she’s sorry. And I repeat, I whisper, over and over, that it’s not her fault, that it’s no one fault, that it’s just one of those things… I’m saying it more to myself than to her.


My heart is breaking, slowly, all over again.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon @ Funken Wagnel May 9, 2012 at 9:44 am

I can feel so much sadness in your post, and wish I could do something to take that away:(


Jen D May 9, 2012 at 8:40 am

*another hug*


Jenny May 9, 2012 at 1:29 am



Anonymous May 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I wish there was something I could say to ease your pain but I know that there are no words that can do that. I hope that on the onion days you can find a moment or two of comfort.


Vicky May 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

heart hurting here for you and yours… and wishing I had a magic wand to take away your hurt. xxxx


jojowilks May 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm

we go without too.
lori- you have made me cry- again.
much love


Melissa May 8, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Sending lots of love your way, Lori. One breath at a time – the wave of pain and horror will recede eventually – even if it's just enough to let you breathe a little easier. Hold on.


Miss Pink May 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Oh hun <3
I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately. I'm just so off in this world of mine.
Hold on to those kids, that feeling you get from them. it hurts but they will try and fix you, slowly, but they will get it done. You fight from your side too because while most of us have no idea of the pain you're living through, we still care about you and we're cheering you on with silent cheers that you can feel happiness again xx


Natalie V. May 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Oh Lori,
im sending you love…



Donna May 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Lori, it breaks my heart all over again for you, you do not deserve such heartache x


Mel May 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm

"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" Anthem by Leonard Cohen.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos May 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm

May the Light of Understanding find its way to your cracked and broken heart. Amanda, your heart too. I cannot know what you two inimitable women are suffering. Instead I hold you up to the Healing Power of our universe.


deardarl May 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Beautiful Lori – thank you so much for writing this….. for no other reason than a selfish one – I feel the same and this makes me feel less of a freak.
I got hammered for saying that I have no idea on how to "find my inner peace" and hating this widowed life on the WV blog last week….. from another (anonymous, of course) widow. Like I am supposed to find small moments of calm and live off that??? live off that piffling amount of feeling OK when I had truckloads of love before???
It is what it is – horrible, aching pain – and nobody can say anything to make it go away. But knowing that I am not alone in feeling so damaged makes it ever so slightly better.


Cassandra Louise May 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

Tears (that's what's happening). Sending love. x


Pearl Red Moon May 8, 2012 at 9:05 am

Lori, I am new to your blog. The past has been scarred with a heartrending tragedy and I feel for your palpable grief as you inch through each day with the burden of it. You are an inspiration to us all. I am struggling not to sound trite here, but – time does heal. You will find joy again in the future and be the stronger and wiser to experience the fullness of love.


Heidi May 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

I'm having a crappy day today (for much less Actually Important Stuff [tm] than you), so have nothing profound to say, but this post broke my heart a bit too and I wanted to send virtual hugs to you and your daughter. I wish her Daddy were there to hug both of you.


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