A Strangling Winter

Other things
When the sand turns to glass, and all that's left is the past, I will love you still.
Other things
Take from me my disbelief
I know it should come easily
But it remains inside of me
It battles and devours me
It cuddles up beside of me
In whispers, it convinces me
Other things
Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.
Other things
As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment. And then the moment was gone.
Other things
If love's a word that you say Then say it, I will listen.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Dear Connor
"If I knew you could hear me, I would tell you that our fingerprints don't fade from the lives we touch." -- Trailer from Remember Me

Dear Connor,

Today would have been your twenty-seventh birthday. Given our history, it is likely that you would have celebrated without me. Our time for celebration ended long before that fateful day in October, when you departed this world for the next. Nevertheless, today I am haunted by the ghost of you and me.

Do you remember when we began? Our relationship began with words, Connor, verbalizations that I could interpret as clues to understand a man who wasn't entirely sure he wanted to be understood. Our conversations lasted for hours, colored with an honesty and emotional openness so raw that it stunned me. No topic was off limits to us, as we discussed the ills of the world and the depths of our souls. In one conversation, we presented our worst flaws to each other, promising to hide nothing in our quest to become friends.

Connor, the cool precision of your voice haunts me, even now. The stifled impatience in tone that always arose when you needed to deal with someone less intelligent than yourself. The softening of the edges when you'd confess just how deeply you felt for me. The raw emotion of pain, when the words began to choke you. The songs you'd sing to me softly, always with a hint of shyness, as if you were afraid of your own voice. A plethora of words and tones that still echo through my head at the most inopportune moments. Do you have any idea what I would give to hear your voice aurally, instead of mentally?

Later, I began to add other details. The softness of your lips, during our first kiss, when the sunbeams danced around us and my favorite song played in the background. The rough stubble of your jawline, when I would trace my lips across it and nip at your earlobe. The heat that I could always feel emanating from your solid body as you held me, a wall of flesh and muscle designed for my own protection. I think I will always know, instinctively, the beating of your heart against mine.

My happiest moment, Connor, was nothing out of the ordinary for us. I woke up, naked, in your arms. The sun was streaming in your bedroom window, bathing your body in a golden glow. My head was buried in the curve of your neck, your pulse beating softly beneath my lips. Breathing in, my senses were submerged in that scent that was uniquely yours. And in that place between asleep and awake, in that moment before reality crept in, I thought to myself:

"Remember this. You have never been this happy, Aurelie. You may never be this happy again. Remember this perfect moment. Remember his smell, his taste, his touch. Remember the sound of his breathing, as his chest rises and falls with yours. Remember the sight of your limbs, intertwined together, in the morning sun. Remember the feeling of loving so completely, that it feels like your chest will explode at any moment, unable to contain the feelings that he inspires. Remember the feeling of being safe and warm and, above all else, loved. Remember this forever, and never let the memory go."

I haven't forgotten, Connor. It is still my most treasured memory. I have visited that moment again and again. When things fell apart, as they are wont to do in this imperfect world, that is the moment that kept me in love with you. That is the moment that kept my heart bound to yours. Even when I didn't show it. Even when I pushed you away.

Do you remember the last time we saw one another Connor? It was in my apartment. We had broken up months before, when I'd found out you were calming the storms inside you with prescription pills and heroin. You'd insisted you weren't addicted, insisted you could quit at anytime but balked when I asked you to do so. And there you were in my living room, smiling lovingly at me. And there you were leading me to my bed, laying me down gently and kissing me. And, there I was, pushing you off me, refusing to succumb to the love inside my heart without promises of rehab. I told you I couldn't trust you anymore, wouldn't trust you until you sought professional help. The pain on your face split my heart in two, but it was quickly replaced with anger as you stormed out of my apartment.

If I had taken you back, would you be alive today? If I had given you everything, would I have been able to save you? As I sank deeper and deeper into the abyss your drug use had created, would I have been able to pull you out unscathed?

Your last words to me in a Facebook message in July insisted you were doing well, Connor. Did you believe it or was that simply your way of insisting you were fine without me? You'd move onto other women. I'd gone back to Ethan. Our worlds were spinning on in different orbits. Did you think of me as often as I thought of you?

Since you've been gone, you've haunted my dreams. In one dream in particular, you are trapped in a house, unable to leave. You have been sentenced to an eternity imprisoned within its four walls. You beg me to stay with you, beg me to marry you, insist we'd be happy if we were only together. You are whole and healthy and off the drugs and you are asking me to share a lifetime with you. When I wake up, I realize that I am sleeping through all the dreams we never made come true.

After you died, I promised I would write down all my memories of you. Every time I try, I dissolve into tears and am unable to see the page. Those tears are not my friends, but they aren't my enemies either. They are merely my body reacting to the piece of me that broke the day you left.

I will try again to capture all our happy moments, Connor, and all our sad moments also. I will tell myself, as I did that morning so long ago:

Remember this, Aurelie. Remember it.

Labels: ,

posted by Aurelie @ 10:09 PM  
  • At April 4, 2010 at 10:45 PM, Blogger S.I.F. said…

    This is a heartbreaking post - I can't even imagine that kind of loss or the guilt I would feel, but I hate that you feel any guilt at all. There was NOTHING you could have done. You know that, right?

  • At April 4, 2010 at 10:49 PM, Blogger Trevor R said…

    Wow that is deep. I can't imagine those emotions.

  • At April 5, 2010 at 10:35 PM, Blogger Nikki B. said…

    i can't imagine what this all feels like. can't. don't want to. so sorry that you don't have that choice. i'm so unbelievably sorry.

  • At April 5, 2010 at 10:44 PM, Blogger Aurelie said…

    Nikki and SIF, do you think that it is disloyal for me to mourn an ex-boyfriend so strongly when I am newly engaged to someone else?

  • At April 5, 2010 at 11:12 PM, Blogger Nikki B. said…

    no...i don't.

    i could have asked myself that question, worded only a tad differently. is it disloyal for me to mourn my first born son, when i am newly pregnant with another? or, vice versa, is it disloyal for me to purposefully get pregnant, when i am newly mourning the death of my son?

    as long as you are communicating all of this with your newly betrothed (congratulations, btw!!!), then, i don't think it's disloyal, at all.

    connor was/is a big deal to you. he's not to be easily forgotten. i think it's incredible that you're moving forward...it's the only way to move, IMO, and the best thing to do, IMO, as well! that's amazing.

    i think it's incredible that your new man loves you enough to walk with you through this...and that you trust him enough to be vulnerable again.


  • At April 6, 2010 at 1:13 AM, Blogger S.I.F. said…

    Not even a little bit Aurelie! This is someone who had a very big piece of your heart and it makes perfect sense that you would need to mourn him. I don't think that is a knock on your fiance at all - it is simply an acknowledgement of your past.

  • At April 25, 2010 at 6:48 PM, Blogger Holly Renee said…

    I love this post. My brother died of a heroine overdose and I have just recently begun to write about it. I still have a lot of grieving to do regarding his passing and it has been many years. I think writing letters to people, whether we send them or not is such a cathartic exercise.

    I can't imagine what this experience was like for you. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into your spirit. I hope you know that there was nothing you could have done. Nothing at all. A beautiful post for sure.

  • At July 28, 2010 at 4:53 PM, Blogger The Zany Housewife said…

    I'm incredibly touched by this post.

    I don't think it's disloyal to mourn him even if you are with someone else. Clearly it is something that you need to do and I'm sure your fiance will understand.

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