Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty look, repeats his words,
Remembers me of his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.

                                          William Shakespeare

Today is four years since Philip died. I’ve spent most of the day watching TV. It’s how I escape. I get lost in others’ lives and loves. I watch people and their families and believe that’s how life should be. I think how alone I am with my broken family. I won’t stay alone – Kirsten will make dinner for me as she’s done the last few years. I wonder if she knows how much it means. How much I need that.

It’s been hard to post. I’m finally working on my memoir. I took a class and it’s got me writing. That’s where my energy’s been, when I have it, when I don’t cry because I’m watching Downton Abbey and Edith’s lost her love while Mary’s married hers. Lately I feel my sadness most through others.

Starting the memoir means reliving it all. What timing. There’s no soothing me – I’ve too many edges. I’d like to curl up in a ball and let this pass. But it’s better to share it with Kirsten. I will be comforted despite myself.

It’s raining, and I am glad for that. Loneliness is easier under its misty blanket.

For a long time I’ve struggled against writing this memoir. I wanted to do it, but I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. I still think writers are an anointed crowd I can’t belong to. But it’s not about any of that drama – it’s about the writing. And I am once again fascinated by my story, wanting to get it right on the page. That’s what’s difficult about posting. Posting’s about what’s going on now, and I am needing to write about what happened before. I want to be someone different – I want to be someone who can work on a memoir and work on a blog. I don’t yet know that I can.

I miss my son. He’s gripped my heart today. It’s nearly 4:00. I think of how innocent I was four years ago – I would have been leaving work, going to therapy, going home to watch Lost while Philip lay dead in his room. How the seconds of that other life were ticking away. How my life will feel forever divided.

I am not without peace. I know Philip’s around. But today is four years since he left and I’ve a bucket of tears I refuse to cry. It’s so different now. I used to tell any and everyone that my son died. I wanted the world to understand what this was to me. Now I know the world doesn’t care, but I’ve a lot of people who do. Now I know this grief is mine. And I need to write it more than talk it.

© 2016 Denise Smyth


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DW
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 00:07:17

    Four years. It does’t seem possible that four years have gone by. I totally understand how you wanted to talk about your loss early on and how it feels that the world goes on and yet your world is divided. I hope that writing the memoir will help. It’s so incredibly painful and incredibly sad to have your son gone. I wish I didn’t understand all this, but I’m also glad you are not alone. There are others of us who do know. Philip is remembered. He is always loved.


    • Denise
      Feb 24, 2016 @ 08:51:29

      I, too, am sorry you understand – what a lovely name, Julia Ruth. I’d like to think they’re hanging out somewhere; and yes, they will always be remembered and so very much loved.


  2. jmgoyder
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 06:36:09

    I hope you know how much I care from this geographical and experiential gap in time and place. I send you love, and think of you all the time!


  3. kmlagatree
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 20:53:00

    You speak your grief with honesty and elegance. I am so deeply glad to be in your life.


  4. Karen
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 23:13:26

    It will be four years for me on May 24th. Your words sound like mine, as usual. Yes, it’s a lonely journey, a life sentence, and the world doesn’the care. Please know I do care. I can feel your pain. I can see your heart. I know the beautiful and unconditional love you have for your son and daughter. Wishing you the best with your writing. I would like to do the same, but I struggle when it comes to writing.
    P.S. I love the rain too. Fits my mood.
    Hang in there!!


    • Denise
      Feb 26, 2016 @ 12:03:48

      Writing is hard, for sure, especially when you’re trying to express the formerly unspeakable.There’s a word for people who like rain – Pluviophile. I don’t know why, but I feel better when it rains.

      Wishing you, too, whatever peace you may find.


  5. Randall P. Robinson
    Feb 25, 2016 @ 17:44:23

    You write on, Denise. It has been almost three and a half years since I lost my own 15 year-old son to suicide, so I am well acquainted with many of the emotions that you express so eloquently. Just remember that, through your writing, you are giving voice to many of the emotions that so many people are unable to articulate quite as well as you. I belatedly wish you peace on an anniversary that I know was very difficult for you.


    • Denise
      Feb 26, 2016 @ 10:55:25

      Thank you for your kindness. I am so sorry you know what I’m talking about, much as I’m touched that you reached out.

      Peace to you, my friend.


  6. deeincollingo
    Feb 27, 2016 @ 21:55:21

    Four years. I am sorry, Denise. I care and will always remember you and your son, Philip. Downton Abbey … I cried too.


    • Denise
      Feb 27, 2016 @ 22:04:54

      Dee, you are so kind…you should know I cry whenever I read a post of yours. The way you end each post knocks me out every time. Always remembering…always.


  7. Rose
    Feb 29, 2016 @ 08:50:26


    sorry, got to your post a bit late. But, wanted to stop by to send u love and hugs. I always think of you and Phillip, your family is in my heart.

    I’m glad you had a friend that cooked you dinner and was there with you at least for a bit. I know that is not much, but at least is something to confort your heart.

    Much love to you!



  8. Denise
    Feb 29, 2016 @ 12:00:02

    Love and hugs back, Rose. Yes, it was a comfort to be with Kirsten, to be taken care of for a while.

    And it’s a comfort, as always, to hear from you xoxoxo


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