Washed Away.

by Lori Dwyer on July 18, 2011 · 32 comments

There are songs on the radio now that Tony has never heard.

He’ll never know, nor will it matter, how windy it is this June.

I’ll never be able to share with him, how the kids have developed a taste for apples, which they wouldn’t eat before. I can’t laugh with him over how I opened the door of the Bump’s room this morning and found her already dressed for the day, an oversized pink bowler hat on her head and a fluffy scarf over her pajamas.

He’ll never know about those bushfires that happened in Queensland in January, nor the floods soon after.

And I’ll never be able to tell him how my ex-boyfriend was on this season of Masterchef.

The ordinariness of it guts me. Without still being here, making a mark, witnessing the events of our lives, the events of the planets… Tony is water washed into the background of history.

I suppose, if the essence of life is bearing witness to the change of your world, then the essence of death is being unable to. Life continues. You do not.

A million tiny little things that have happened in the six months Tony died, none of them significant. Yet all of them serving to dull his memory, his influence, his presence on the world.

Some afternoons, late, on the beach, I watch the tide roll in and slowly obliterate footprints and scuff marks, wash away the proof of life that exists on the sand. Slowly, so slowly, that one footprint, that one event that marked a single second in someone’s life… it’s erased.

It never fails to make me sad.

Memories, they are fabulous.

The pain of it is not being able to create any more.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Darnie November 25, 2011 at 8:16 am

You write so beautifully Lori. I am new to reading blogs and very new to yours. I lost my Mum last year in September and everything you write about loss and grief and death is so moving and so real. I lost my dreams when my 4th child was diagnosed with severe intellectual disability and your writing helps me get through every day. You have experienced such raw pain and you are absolutely amazing. Xx


marketingtomilk July 22, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I understand this feeling. It's not being able to share stuff as it happens, that desire to giggle with someone over some gossip, or cry over something bad that has happened. And yes, that they will never have witnessed the things you are now experiencing.



theKatieKitten July 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm

You and I collect quotes. I'm writing this one down and keeping it close.
'I suppose, if the essence of life is bearing witness to the change of your world, then the essence of death is being unable to. Life continues. You do not.'
Meow xo


Catherine Dabels July 22, 2011 at 2:27 am

My heart is ripping…….


Jewell July 21, 2011 at 5:46 am

This is so stunningly beautiful and so very true for anyone that has lost someone very close to them. This really plucked the strings of my soul because it made me think of all the things that I am missing out on with my mom! xo <3


Andrea July 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm



Rebecca Munro July 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Your words are poetry Lori. I don't think I've ever heard/read anyone describing this [learning to live with a big hole in your life] so eloquently. Hugs to you & the little ones… xxx


Naomi July 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Lori, you write beautifully. Love, life, grief, missing. You capture it all. Sending you love.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos July 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Right about the time I was able to talk about my younger sister’s sudden death at 49 just three years ago, our younger brother died too at 48. I’m not sure there will ever be a day without tears in it again. They both left kids and grandkids and spouses and careers and siblings and parents and friends and lists of things to do…

…and the world keeps spinning and the bananas get soft and the babies learn to dress themselves.


mamagrace71 July 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Just wanting to send you love and hugs, Lori.


Hear Mum Roar July 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I think one of the most painful things about grieving is that life does go on, and we feel like, how dare it?


Claire July 19, 2011 at 1:05 am

You articulate evrythong with such grace and poise, Lori. Keeping you and the kids in my prayers.



MultipleMum July 18, 2011 at 10:39 pm

This is the exact thing that freaks me out about dying.


Brenda July 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Love and more love to you my friend.xxxx


thedancingegg July 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm

This blog is refreshingly honest, and you are a marvelous writer.


Aimee July 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Tony is always wIth you in spirit and will always walk besides you. I know it's tough, I lost mum 10 months ago. Stay strong. You have the best part of Tony, his beautiful children!


Melissa July 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I wish there was something I could say, but I've got nothing. As always, your writing is so beautiful and heart breaking. I think the other way in which the ocean is like time is that it slowly grinds down sharp edges. Broken glass is made smooth, and memories are made less painful. At least, I hope this will be the case for you. Lots of love.


Keryn July 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm

You articulate alot of what I have thought over the years. The simple ordinary things of day to day life with someone. What then when they are gone? The only time really is now. One can only try and live their best life. Thoughts with you ..


A Daft Scots Lass July 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I hope you took a picture of bump in the hat and scarf???

You're making more memories everyday, sweetie…


River July 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm

It is sad that you won't make new memories with Tony, but you will make many many new memories with the Bump and Chop. I love my mental image of the fluffy scarf and pink bowler hat.


Tone-in-Oz July 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Yeahh, Life is a bugger, and I think you will be okay. I think I am okay now. Time.


Crystal Cheverie July 19, 2011 at 12:20 am

OK, this post (as well as many previous posts) totally blows me away with your writing skills. I like your metaphor at the end of footprints being washed away by the tide.

It is really sad that you won't be able to create any more memories with your Tony. I just hope you'll be able to hold on to the beautiful memories you had already made, and I hope you can take comfort in Chop and Bump and making some moments with them. HUG!


Janet NZ July 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm

…what Donna said.


MamaRobinJ July 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

It's so true. After I've lost people I've thought about how they will never see or do seemingly insignificant things. It's always music and movies I think about too.

I just wish I could take all this pain away from you.


Shellye July 18, 2011 at 1:01 pm

During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward…
You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living."

Sorry my comments are so long. I hope this helps. 


Shellye July 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.
During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.


Shellye July 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.
You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.
You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back")


Shellye July 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I'm praying for peace and comfort for you, Lori.

Allow me to share an article a friend of mine (who lost her husband in February) wrote on grief.

"There is no due date nor expiration to the stages of grief. Order is out of the question and time is nonexistent while grieving. There are moments where you will be completely fine and others that leave you beside yourself. There is no warning of when a wave will come or when the tide will recede. For me it is just best to go along with the flow. You’re only hope of survival is swimming away from the rocks and wait for the Lord to come rescue you.

I don’t know who created the stages of grief but I would like to say that they are spot on. I don’t necessarily believe that you walk them through in the order as follows but as far as each step along the way they are correct in my experience.

I have a great mixture of stage 2, 3, 4 and sometimes 1.

These stages were taken from http://www.recover-from-grief.com.


Draft Queen July 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

That's the part that always gets me. The one where there can't be any new memories that include the loved one we've lost. As I watch my best friend's son grow up without his dad I worry about all the things Jason missed. But T is stronger than I am, and he tells me that his dad can now see the world in a way that he never could before –through our eyes and hearts.

And I'm forced to believe him.


mixedgems July 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

So insightful, so raw, so honest, so beautiful. I cannot know your pain but you so eloquently bring your readers to a little bit of an understanding of how to bear it and live through it. You are quite amazing!


Donna July 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Lori you make me understand grief so much more – how you can articulate so beautifully (heartbreakingly so) is such a gift that I am so glad you keep sharing. We learn so much from you.

And if I may, all I can say is that Tony no doubt does know these things, because I like to comfort myself with the fact those we lose are actually never too far from the loved ones left behind. I dont mean to sound contrite or overbearing, its just something I tell myself when I miss the people I love who are no longer with me xx


mamabook July 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Lori, You write so beautifully about something that is so painful. It is a privilege to read.


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