I am sitting on my dads couch watching the flames dancing in the fireplace when another “after shock” hits me. My mind flickers the cold hard truth through my body, Matt is not here. I literally have to shake my head to release the thought from my mind. I call it an after shock because the initial shock of Matt’s death has subsided, but every so often after shocks appear and I am thrust into my harsh reality again. It is a feeling of disbelief and bewilderment that sends chills down my body as my heart sinks lower in my chest.

It will be 9 months soon and it just doesn’t make sense to me. How can it already be 9 months? Then I look back and see just how much ground I have covered and I am left standing in a place that confuses me. I stand with one foot in the past and my other foot is shaking nervously in the present. I really don’t know how I have gotten here and honestly there are times where the thought of moving forward scares me. I try not to focus too much on my future besides outlining my desires and achievements I hope to conquer as my days continue. I know my path is right in front of me and I try to remind myself that I am exactly where I need to be but sometimes I’m left completely frozen unable to fully comprehend what the heck is going on.

I have been in California with family for the past 10 days and I have talked about my ideas for the future with everyone. Of course inquiring minds want to know if and when a move back to California is in the works. I tell them yes, I do want to move back to California and I feel it deep in my heart it is the right thing for me to do, but talking about my future isn’t always pleasant for me. It highlights my loss, it reminds me that I am starting over and that my responsibilities have grown immensely and soon I find my heart racing. But at the same time I feel a fire burning inside because I want to achieve the goals I have set for myself, to show that the strength I have isn’t just a temporary byproduct due to Matt’s death.

Then this happens…

As I am writing about the fire and desires I feel inside, out of no where tears pour from my eyes and I want to scream, “this is not fair!” The roller coaster I am on can one minute seem like a kiddy ride and then the next it is one that even the bravest would shudder at. The battle between past, present and future take hold, each sending an army to try to defeat the others and my mind is the battlefield and my heart is the prize. I just want to wake up from this nightmare and see Matt’s face telling me I am safe. I know it won’t happen and the feelings of strength disappear and I am left feeling deflated.

I know this is all part of my process, so I don’t beat myself up over my feelings of despair. I glance back over to the fire and ironically the flames have grown smaller, almost mimicking my emotions but I know that to liven the fire up again it just needs more fuel, so I add another log and watch the flames take hold. As I have written about a few times before, each time my spirit feels lonely or defeated I know there are moments of clarity and perseverance ahead. It is yet another moment for me to learn and grow. This is my journey and I don’t expect life to be all sunshine and gummy bears-a line so often used by Matt. Crying cleanses my mind and spirit so I can see a bit more clearly. I feel settled yet again, the roller coaster is back to the slow, even pace so I can catch my breath. As a song from Pearl Jam says, “Let’s just breathe,” and so, I do.


2 thoughts on “Fire

  1. I’m approaching the 8 month anniversary and the roller coaster of emotions keeps getting more intense and unpredictable as time goes on. My mom was a young widow too and she told me months ago that it will get worse before it gets better. She was right. I keep thinking how can it possibly feel worse…but the pain finds a way of intensifying. Grief is relentless and I completely understand feeling strength one minute, and feeling deflated the next.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another incredible piece of writing Kris. “Battling past, present and future and the prize is your heart.” You literally write so well I physically shake my head like my grandpa Johnny did (I know you can see that visual) in disbelief on seriously the level of a writer you are. Your raw honesty pour out but is so eloquently and visually done. I love you. Hang in there. Keep reminding yourself one day at a time or even one minute at a time. I’m here for you always. I made a login and am downloading this app so I can stay more current. Keep pouring your souls into this. You were meant to write.


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