born intuu guest dinos

a sonder file: griefhole, v.III

It’s my favorite Fish! Goldy is carrying our star-tied story forward today with a tale of two losses, and infinite loves.

Welcome to the Sonder Files.


The man I shared a life with for fifteen years suddenly died on March 13th, 2015. I didn’t find out about it until March 15th. That’s the day my life irrevocably shifted out of focus. Only a few hours after I found out about his death, I wrote this post, which I still haven’t read. All I remember about it now is that I was very angry.

In the months that followed, I hid from the world. I left the house only to go to work. I wrote unpolished, screeching words on my blog under a new category, Grief Diary. Writing was the only thing that made me feel even slightly better.

After months of hiding and radio silence, I decided to reach out to Ra. I wrote her a letter.

A few weeks ago, the love of my life died. He had a seizure and died alone in another time zone and I didn’t even find out about it until nearly two days later. No one did. He was dead and alone. That thought makes me feel many things from anger at myself for not being there to overwhelming sadness that he died alone, but I suppose we all do.

I thought I had been dragged through every awful emotion a human being could possibly experience, but I was wrong. I’ve never felt anything like this before–this never-ending soul crushing grief. I’ve never felt anything like this. I hope you never experience this. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Well, that’s not true. I would wish it on my worst enemies, but not on anyone else. Not on anyone I care about and don’t want to die slowly and painfully in a fire.

Before I could mail it, I heard the news of Dave’s death. I wrote this sentence on the day that Dave died:

I hope you never experience this.

I scrapped my original letter and wrote her another.

I have found that the people I want to talk to most are the ones who know what this is like, the people who have had a life’s worth of love ripped from their grasp. While I appreciate all the heartfelt words of condolence from those who’ve never experience this kind of heartbreak, it’s the people who have gone through or are going through losing the love of their life that I want to talk to.

So, in case you’re the same as me, I am writing you to tell you that I know what this is like. I’m only a few measly weeks ahead of you in grief, so I know where you are right now. I know about the hole in your heart that is trying to suck you through it. I know the despair and the woe is me and the WHYs that will never be answered. I am uniquely qualified to be there for you, because I’m already there.

Some people say that suffering tests our strength, but my strength and yours have been tested time and again. I can see little point in all this strength if it’s just going to be tested all the time. I don’t know why your love and my love were stolen from us so close together. Coincidences like this certainly do make you wonder about the big picture. We’re both stuck in that griefhole right now. I can tell you that, even in my few short weeks of grief, it has gotten easier. Not better, but easier. The physical pain isn’t quite as awful as it used to be.

When you get out of that terrible place, you’ll be about where I am now in the grieving process. You and I are going to meet in person. I’m going to give you a great big hug and we’re going to talk about our loves and cry. I will do this for you, because it’s all I can do. You are not alone in this; I am right there with you.

I know these words sound empty and you’re going to be hearing them a lot, but I going to say them anyway, clouded with my own sorrow as they are: I am so sorry for your loss and if you need anything, I am here. It will never be the same, but we can get through this together.

And we did get together with a great big hug. We did talk about our loves, but neither of us cried. In hearing about Ra’s loss, it somehow gave my own a purpose. It pulled me out of my own griefhole. I wanted to reach out to her, not to bitch about unfairness, but to help. I had been where she was just a little while before. I couldn’t guide her, but I could, in some small way, reassure her that she wasn’t alone, which of course, meant that neither was I.

It breaks my heart that anyone knows what this kind of grief is like, but when I heard what Ra was going through, well, it made me wonder what kind of a messed up universe we live in that would allow that to happen. It made me want to scream at the sky and pull it all down with my bare hands until there was nothing left.

But, then I remembered that this same universe has stars, trees, and puppies. It has vast plains, forests, and infinite oceans. It has birds, fish, and even dinosaurs. It has cool summer breezes, clouds, and rain puddles to jump in. It has love and laughter. It also has Ra with her boundless love, overflowing optimism, endless creativity and bottomless compassion. Somehow, maybe that evens out all the bad.

I know this is going to sound like a strange thing to say since you’re far away and we haven’t talked in a while, but thanks for being there. Thanks for existing in this world. Just knowing that you exist sometimes gives me solace that this horrible old universe isn’t entirely made of crushing awfulness. You are stronger than anyone I know, even me, because your spirit is never tarnished. You shine brightly even if sometimes you waver.




I’ve written about Goldy before, both our meeting (as a vignette) and my woefully-unprepared response to the passing of her love, transcribed by the Stories team while I was in prison– but in case you didn’t already pop over to follow her then, go take a swim in her fishbowl.  She has built a beautiful world there.  {One of the greatest things about life, is how we can build a beautiful world wherever we want, if we want.} But before you run off to her place, leave her a little comment here to let her know you’re thankful she sondered. It’s these types of messages that remind us how we are not an island and how sharing gives our strength a purpose.


  1. Aaaaaaah.

    I knew I was going to cry reading this, but I went ahead and read it at the office anyway.

    So very, very unglad for so many of the circumstances that led to this post existing … but so glad you translate your feelings so expertly into words, the better to inform people of the fact there’s more than aloneness out there. There’s connection, and if it doesn’t heal, well, it still helps way more than any “at least” or “there, there.”

    I think what I’m trying to say is, simply, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww, sorry for the tears. I cried when Ra sent me the feedback link. She said so much more succinctly in her little summation what it took me a thousand words to say. We are all connected, even through our pain. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sondering. I think how it would be if I lost the love of my life, and I can’t even imagine it. We’ve been together 17 years. You had 15, Ra had 10. I know a man who just lost his great love after about 45 years. My mum lost my dad after 50 years. It seems it doesn’t matter how many years the griefhole is the same. The closest I can imagine is when I was still single and lost my dad who was the anchor of my life. I’m full or tears, but it’s okay. Don and I call it The Mystery, because there’s no explaining anything.
    Much love, Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Losing your life partner is one of those things you can’t imagine until it happens and then it’s so much different than you ever could have thought it would be. It physically hurts. I had no clue what grief was really like until he died.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, that’s kinda what I was thinking. There’s no way I can possible know. I had no clue what grief was until my dad died. It opened a whole new understanding. But I think what you’re talking about is a whole other level.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Goldy, I had goosebumps while reading your sonder. I know the griefhole of losing someone you love when I lost my sister when she was 27 (I was 32 at the time.) I was a mess physically too, not just mentally. My body was ill. My digestive system pretty much stopped working as planned. So not only do you have the mental aspect to deal with, you have the physical. Anyways, that was back in 1994, so the griefhole is very small now, but it will always be there. Thank you for sharing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This made me cry. Not because of all the sadness but because of the hope. I’ve not read the other posts in this friendship story, but I’m so happy that the two of you found each other.


  5. Speechless, so I’m just staring at the comment box… In my little “sonder-universe” the two of you have always been tied together. I had no idea of how closely till now though. But you both know how to just keep on keeping on, inspiring as you go, so too too many hugs and kisses to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful connections! I have asked this same question: why all the strength, if it’s only to be tested… God! Aren’t I strong enough? More, more, more is exhausting and soul crushing. I feel like my life has been defined by death. But then, yes, there are trees, and stars and puppies… That so resonates with me, Goldy. If you can’t see through your tears to all that beauty, you are certain to go down with the ship. Really touched by this; thanks for sharing!


  7. Nothing can prepare us for losing someone we love not to mention the love of our life. Ra is a force of sweetness despite her loss and I am always in awe of her, and now you too. 🙂


  8. This was beautiful and positively heartbreaking. Life is like a never-ending hurricane. If you’re lucky you can live most of it within the eye of the storm enduring just the occasional major catastrophe. Others are forced to find strength, gut-wrenching sweat drenching strength, to somehow hold on as the winds and rain beat down relentlessly. I’ll never understand where such strength comes from, but I know a few people (myself included) who may not be around if they didn’t have it. Glad you both have it, too. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m only a few measly weeks ahead of you in grief

    I’ve gone through this as well, but for me it was many, many years ago. I can say that it sucks. It well and truly sucks, and there’s nothing that can be done to rush the diminishing of that pain. However, it does get better over time, and it’s the comfort of friends and loved ones that helps that along.

    I’m so sorry that either of you have to experience this. Just know that eventually, it will hurt less, and after a time you’ll be able to remember all the good without feeling like you’ve been punched in the chest. I can vouch for that.




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