One Year.

Tomorrow, I’m a widow for one year.
Can’t even rightfully call myself that. We were never married. 3 children between us. He tried. Made an appointment and took me to the courthouse once. I was sick with fear. We were on again off again on again and off. Madness. What the fuck were we thinking? We each said goodbye a hundred times, but we had kids so we tried. We tried. Let me make this clear. I owe absolutely no one an explanation. These are words I need to say, and so I’m saying them. I have been asked point blank by well meaning friends why this affected me so much if the love had fallen apart. As if it had earned him a death sentence. Or at least my ambivalence. My heart broke for myself, sure. I loved him the way you love a man you had  3 children with . And For every selfish reason imaginable. For the things I never said and for the things I did. For the time lost, spent raging at nothing. But my heart was eviscerated for my children. Screw my own pain, theirs was paramount.

July 8th 2015 at 7pm he left to buy a washing machine he he saw on craigslist. The last conversation we ever had was a joke about the dangers of buying things from people online. Something about selling his organs on the black market. He laughed and patted his stomach and said “There’s nothing they could use anyway”
The organ donation association ended up taking his eyes, his skin, his pericardium and some of the veins in his legs. This was authorized by myself, his eldest son and his parents over the telephone because he had not previously stated his organ donation wishes.

At 8pm I received a FaceTime call from him. I figured he had purchased the washing machine and wanted to talk to the kids. They were playing on new bunk beds he had just finished building. They have not slept in them since.

“Hi, Daddy!”

All three of them, Ecstatic.

Immediately, I knew something was off.
He was stuttering and looking around blindly, confused.
He was mumbling “help.” It was the last word he’d ever say.

He collapsed.
I screamed his name as if that would make a difference. I still had no idea what was happening. I thought maybe he’d been drugged. Perhaps the craigslist thing, I didnt know. I have an inherent distrust of human beings. I knew he was in my car. That’s about it. A highway patrolman approached the window. Started jamming him up pretty bad.

“Sir, keep your hands where I can see them
Sir, have you been drinking tonight?
He’s been vomiting.”

They got in and immediately disconnected the call.

I waited a half hour and heard nothing and started calling hospitals and then started calling non emergency police lines. I finally got a call from an officer who had been dispatched to my home. He wouldn’t tell me what happened.

I told my babies that daddy was very sick and I needed to be with him at the hospital. I left them with my mother. I left my babies and my mother and my home in a highway patrol car at 9pm on July 8th 2015 toward complete uncertainty.

The officer was going 100mph on the freeway. This should have been my first clue. When he couldnt, he used lights and sirens until he could again. He made smalltalk even at these speeds. His partner turned off the dispatch radio and turned on country music. They asked about the kids.

My friend of 20 years was there to meet me. We were rushed into a tiny room off of the ER waiting room. The highway patrolmen stayed outside. It was there that a doctor told me that he had a sudden major stroke. He was in a coma and that they didn’t believe he would survive the night. I screamed no no no no no. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Then I apologized. I still feel sick about that apology. Like I didn’t have the right to scream about something so unfair. 

My aunt met us in the hallway and I crumbled. I couldn’t say a word.

We were escorted to his room where I was warned about what he may look like. His head had been shaved they said, and a hole drilled to relieve some of the pressure. Ventilator. 

We stood at the doorway. The machines did their work. He looked like he was sleeping. I remember how proud I felt of him in that moment. Intense pain and nausea and he still managed to pull the car over safely and call us at home. His last conscious act, a subconscious love letter. All the times he never said it. Every slamming door. The stoic reserve. The silence between us. The seperate rooms. The years of quiet languishing ache. The seperation. While he was still alive, I had spent nights laying awake wondering if he’d ever loved us. He wasn’t one for overt display of emotion. I took it as rejection. In this one act, that question had been definitively and heartbreakingly answered.

I went to him then, held his hand. He’d cut his finger building the bunkbed for the kids. It would never heal. I kissed it and I said “I’m here.” For all the times I hadn’t been.

I realized I had no contact information for his parents. His phone was left in my car, which had been towed. The highway patrolmen offered to go to the tow yard to recover it. I hugged each of them tight. One had tears in his eyes.

The next night and morning were a blur. His parents arrived from Las Vegas. I wasnt sure how they’d recieve me. But his mother embraced me immediately and we cried next to his unconscious body. It was only the third time we had ever met. I hadn’t been home with the kids yet. His mother told me to go home and get rest, shower and be with them.  They were nervous when I arrived and happy to see me. Expected to see dad as well. I had to explain I wasn’t sure if dad would come home. I had no idea how. I told them that sometimes people get so injured that doctors can’t fix them. They were 2, 4 and 5 when I told them this. That night my 2 year old kept running down the hall looking for him. I sang them to sleep holding back tears. It was the most broken lullaby. I’ve never hated myself so strongly or felt so selfish in all my life. I’ve never felt so helpless or so confused. 

The current of time is built in to the fabric of existence. Recent studies have found that a new form of atomic nuculi are not spherical but egg shaped and that the point of those shapes might actually indicate the direction in which time in our universe flows. So why does it feel so much like we can in these moments if we summon our will hard enough, force the flow backward. I tried that night. As hard as I could. Futile and stupid. Strange as it sounds. Science minded as I am. I tried instead of slept. It felt so close, the moments before this, and the timeline where none of this happened. Where he installed a goddmned used washing machine and I caught up on a backlog of laundry and we went back to our monotony.

My sister flew in from LA. She said “tell me if you need me.” All I had to do was say the word and she was there. I am not worthy of this kind of love.

His son is a piece of shit. Asked about a computer tower he left behind right in the room with his unconscious father. I dont care how saying this makes me look. I left the room immediately else I commit violence. How could that thought cross your mind at a time like this? Fuck you.

The next day, we were taken into an empty board room, met with a neurologist. Shown brain scans. A bleed the size of a baseball and grown to the size of a grapefruit overnight and caused a bleed in the brainstem. Even with the ever present drain. Even if he survived this, he would never ever wake. Forever asleep. Forever a ventilator, feeding tube. The choice was simple. He had no living will. I searched my poor and shellshocked memory for conversations on situations like this. “Id want to be kept alive” he’d said. “But what if you’d have no quality of life?” he shook his head no. They performed a series of physical tests for a reaction. Needles in his toes. Alcohol swabs on his open eyes. Nothing. He still had a gag reflex when they worked with the respirator. They assured us it was an autonomic response.  We unanimously made the decision but decided to sleep on it. One more night in the bed we did then didnt share with our scared and confused children. One more night wishing I could be someone else for them. Someone better equipped. My mother laid in bed with us as I sang the song “Hush little baby…” over and over until we all drifted to sleep.

The next day I showered. I dressed up. As best as I can. All in black. Our last date. We all met at the hospital and I allowed his mother to make he call. The nurses arrived and placed a battery operated candle on the table next to him and a quilt which was placed on his lap. masculine colors of blue green tan and gold. Illusions of comfort and home. we waited for the respirator to be removed. at 2pm on July 11th 2015 a harried and brutal nurse told me to get out of the way because she “needed somewhere to put this” it was the dripping tubes that had moments before been threaded into his lungs.

His body was strong. We waited. His blood pressure slowly declined as they increased his morphine drip. 5 hours we stood by his side. His mother told him to “Sleep now, its ok to sleep. I played him audio on my phone of the kids playing and laughing. I told him that I loved him. I rubbed the stubble of his face against my face one last time. It’s the closest we’d been in months. They told us he could hear but not understand what it was he was hearing. 5 hours. Blood pressure cuff, Skull drain still in place, morphine increase, breathing harsh as if the air drowned him. 5 hours of his body fighting his brain. 5 hours of his lungs screaming. 5 hours. 5 fucking hours, with every thought wanting to take it back. At 7pm on July 11th 2015 The room went silent. His harried and hard fought breathing had stopped but his heart beat still lingered. Then all the numbers on all the monsterous machines dropped to zero.


My mouth said No as if i hadnt witnessed what id witnessed for the past 5 hours as if it could be taken back. i ripped the blood pressure cuff from his arm and threw it across the bed. i said “he doesnt need this shit anymore.” i was angry. his mother saw. she told my aunt to take me home. i was torn away from the father of my 3 children and didnt get to spend a moment with him alone.

And we were home. With the smiling faces of our babies happy to greet me. there with the hollowed out shell of me stumbling in through the door carrying one of the worst things that could happen in this life to them inside of me like an unopened curse. i took them down to the bedroom and I said please come here. I said Daddy isnt coming home. He cant. He wont ever come home. He was too hurt and the doctors couldnt fix him. and i buried all three of them against me and my oldest cried and my younger two smiled confusedly with tears in their eyes and i said if he could have chosen he would be here. if he was given a choice he would be here with you. there is no better place.
and we wept together there on July 11th 2015 at 8:15pm

The business of death is a real and cruel and frightening thing. I signed at least a hundred documents. Probably more. Authorizations. Certifications. Declarations.

Funeral homes.
You pay for everything. Body cold storage. Transport from the hospital. They’ve got a showroom just for urns. So many colors and shapes. One stood out to me immediately. You wouldn’t believe what they charge.

My family and the network of friends I’d built, a second family rescued me. My income alone is a pittance. 150 dollars a week. There were death benefits to apply for but it would be months out. Kindness saved us. Love saved us. Family and second family saved us. strangers saved us. As jaded as this made me, when we were in dire need, people who barely knew us paid our rent. Got us through. I have spent this last year trying my hardest to pay that forward in any way I can and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

I keep waiting for someone to remember. But memories are short and it is no one else’s duty. Grief keeps its own sick track for me. This week has lasted an eternity. Pins and needles. Hardly breathing.

People handle grief in different ways. Once the kids were asleep there were only so many times I could clean the refridgerator, play word games, cry into my pillow. i was frantic and lost and alone. I put my grief on display. I wrote, I podcasted. maybe people bristled at that. i dont rightly give a damn. So many people told me I could come to them any time. Beautiful, kind people with lives and trouble of their own. Tell me how do you interrupt someone’s life? Tell me how do you message someone at 11 at night and tell them youre in hell? How do you inflict that upon them even though you know theyll love you through it? Tell me, because i still dont know.

There is a rampant death denial that is palpable. Use the words Death, Dead, Die, Died, instead of Passed on, went to his reward, etc and see the reaction. Speak publically and openly about your grief. Bleed freely. Youre met with radio silence. It’s something to be kept to yourself or behind closed doors. A taboo. like speaking on it could bring it upon you or your loved ones. a curse or an omen. People like to live in their illusion that theyre immortal. They distract themselves from their mortality and dont like to be reminded of it. I’ll point the finger at myself here too. I am not immune. As much as I’d like to say this experience has made me live more in the moment it hasnt. I am just as in denial as ever.  

This image above is from a compilation video NASA SDO put out in December 2015. They had a photograph of the Sun from every day of the year. It took me 20 minutes but I felt it important to save this frame from that day. One of the worst days of my life. It is significant due to its insignifcance. It looks much the same as every other frame in the video. On this day millions of other tragedies ensued. On this day millions of triumphs. On this day millions of people went about their normal business. My grief is but a whisper. 

Last night as I did dishes, my daughter drew with markers. Lines lines lines with a central point. she grew increasingly frustrated and started to cry, then to scream. i went to her and asked how i could help her.


Tired. Beyond tired. Exhausted. I poured paint on to a paper plate and sat it in front of her on the table.




Discard the old plate, new plate, only yellow. There.

YOU PAINT MOMMY YOU PAINT. Huge sobs. Genuine.

What do you want me to paint, honey?


and I did. and she slept with it next to her.

She doesnt know about the screen cap from the video or this post ive been writing and i doubt she consciously knows about the date coming up, but she knows.

She knows.

And I don’t know what to do.


Chapbook Tutorial

I’ve been crafting hand bound poetry chapbooks which are available right now on my Etsy shop, and I thought it might be neat to do a bit of a pictorial tutorial on how to make your own if you were moved to do so. Please understand that I am a novice, having researched various methods and found a system that works for me. It may work for you too and it may not, however this is a highly customizable medium which you can adjust as you go based on your personal skill level. Let’s begin!

Whatever your passion may be, sit down and get it done. Poetry, prose, short stories, a model by model review of the latest hot wheels toys… The topic matter doesn’t matter. What matters is that you create. You need content for these chapbooks, right? Sit your ass down and do it! Go with your passions. Go with what speaks to you. Write for you, first and foremost. The readers will notice and appreciate this fact. 
-Tools Required: Your hands, computer or writing implement, your goddamned beautiful mind. 

2. Compile Your Content

Choose pieces of poetry, prose, short stories, whatever it is that you can’t stop writing about. I find it best to choose a theme, so that the pieces within the book are cohesive and speak the same language for the reader. Themes are not a requirement, however if you want to showcase certain areas of your work, I highly suggest going with one. 

Once the pieces are chosen, choose a title that is fitting based on your chosen theme. Try choosing something that can instantly cue the reader in on what they can expect within. Or don’t. These things are highly personal and whatever you feel you want and need to do, do it. 

Once you’ve chosen content, and possibly a title, you can decide whether you’d like to include cover art or not. Again, this is your book, let it speak with your voice. 

You will then need to compile the content in a word processing program. Before you slap me, let me tell you about the glorious Google and how simple templates that are compatible with your word processing software are a keyword search away:

 For my projects I simply plugged in the kind of template I wanted and which processing program I utilize and voila! The Internet coughed up more than enough choices for my needs. Most word processing software also come with built in templates for things like booklets and brochures that will probably suit you just fine, especially if you are looking for more of a blank slate. A template will hold your hand better, might lean in for a kiss, and if you’re a beginner you will need this sort of courtship at first before you get comfortable with your word program. 

I use a template that uses standard 8.5 x 11 paper which is folded once to create the chapbook. There are many different types of templates, some that involve folding the paper twice, but if you’re just starting out, I suggest keeping it as simple as possible. 

-Tools Required: CONTENT, A digital device of some sort with word processing software, the Google, Template that suits your needs, moxy. 

(Keep in mind that if you can hand write each piece if you so desire, however you must keep in mind the volume at which you plan on producing them and your sanity. As always, go with your heart.)

3. Choose your weapons

You’re gonna need a shit load of paper. This is my favorite stage as it is one of the more creative ones. After the technical organization of your work, you’ll relish it. It is also the most intimidating part. There are so many different types of papers to choose from, from artisan handmade paper to simple printer paper. Take into account your theme and go from there. I also suggest using cardstock for your cover. Not only is it more durable, but I feel it gives the chapbook a more professional quality. Cardstock and paper that are home printer compatible come in a variety of colors and textures, even metallics, so you are bound to find something fitting that is also within your budget. I want to reiterate that this is the most personal step beyond creating your content. So, if you want old newsprint for your cover or found paper like from old books or maps or thrift store finds, have at it. Make sure interior pages aren’t too busy and will print legibly.

-Tools Required: Hella paper


Once Content has been created and compiled with a suitable template, and you have chosen your materials, you are now ready to print. Don’t ask me why, but this stage had me nervous as fuck. I’d never tried it. If you’re nervous as fuck as well, take heart and remind yourself that you are simply at the prototype phase. This baby will never have to see the light of day if you hate it or screw it up. You’re simply getting comfortable with the process. Give yourself some wiggle room for mistakes. And buy a cheap ream of standard printer paper for this stage (buy recycled and recycle the leavins), or use scrap paper so that you’re not wasting the good stuff on goofs. 

The template I’ve chosen requires printing on both sides, and unless you have ultra mega printer 5000 at home, you’ll need to babysit each printing a tad to ensure its done correctly. I hand feed the appropriate papers into my machine, starting with my cover cardstock. Using scrap paper first, test the printing method needed for your template. Mine prints cover first and then final page second which doesn’t require printing on the back. The third page is when double sided printing begins. Your printer will make all sorts of noises at you when you hand feed the pages for double sided printing, but just ignore it. It’ll quiet down when you feed it. Once you’re comfortable with the printing process, break out your chosen paper and hazard a prototype with it.

-Tools Required: Standard home printer, patience, curse jar, voodoo rituals.


I’m going to list the required tools here first otherwise not a goddamned thing I say will make any sense. 

From left to right in the above picture: 

-Spool of waxed linen thread

-Bone Folder (metal as fuck)

-Xacto knife

-Bookbinding needle

-Beeswax (if your thread isn’t waxed. This prevents tearing as the book is used.)

-Various sizes of paper awls

All of these glorious bastards are sitting on a self healing craft mat which will ensure you don’t carve the hell out of your dining room table or desk. 

6. Holes & Fold

Once your pages are printed (I also suggest trying this stage out on the scrap/cheap stuff) you will arrange the paper on the self healing mat in chronological order thusly: 

Keep in mind to flip through the loose leaf to ensure that it is indeed chronological.

Here is where you can make a choice. You can make the hole for the binding at this stage for a neater hole appearance. Find the center of the paper and start making holes by applying steady pressure to the awl. Against the mat, this may require you to turn the awl back and forth to puncture all of the pages properly: 

Using this method will create a cleaner puncture but can present problems if you are not exactly center when it comes time for binding. My binding method requires 5 holes down the center. I chose this to ensure greater longevity and durability, however there are methods that require more or less. These methods are easily searchable online. Find one that fits your wants and skill level. The end result should look like this: 

There are probably folks who are more exacting than I, who can use rulers to ensure proper distances between punctures, however I am not one of those folks. I also really enjoy knowing that every single chapbook I make is unique in my imperfections. 

Using this method, once your holes are created, it’s time to fold:

Make the initial fold by hand, ensuring that the edges are aligned. 

For the second puncture method, the steps are reversed. Fold your paper first in the way pictured above and then you have a crease guide for your puncture alignment. I use this method, though it gives the paper a more ragged quality, because it helps align the punctures better and allows you to see the structure of the book before the holes are in place. Every one will be slightly different because you’re not a machine. There will be overhang or differing distances. This adds to the book in my opinion, rather than subtracts. 

-Tools Required: your printed project, craft mat, paper awl, self loathing, forgiveness

7. Sew That Shit

Measure out your waxed linen thread to twice the width of your folded book, ensuring you have enough thread for the entire binding 

With your bookbinding needle and waxed linen thread, start at the center hole and thread through:

The method I choose calls for you to thread through the inside for the initial stitch, so that any knotting would remain on the inside. However I liked the aesthetic of the knot on the outside and begin my stitch from the outside. Ensure length remains on the outside for tying at the end: 

Stitch up to the first hole above the center and pull taught: 

Stitch back through the top hole and pull taught: 

Thread back through the second hole working your way back down: 

Now skip the center hole and stitch into the one after it: 

Repeat the steps you followed for the first two stitches, sewing down to the bottom hole first and then back up to center:

You should wind up with both ends on the outside of the center hole: 

Remove the needle and tie in a bow: 

Finally, finish the edges with your bone folder. Any straight edge will do, but please tell me who wouldn’t want to use something called a motherfuckin bone folder? 

-Tools Required: your printed project, bookbinding needle, waxed linen thread, bone folder, for your soul to leave your body a couple of times, stimulants and or depressants, broken heart

Guess what
You just made yourself a GOTDAMN BOOK!! 
Cradle that shit and cry. Not saying that’s what I did when I was done… What? Why are you looking at me like that? Ok I did. 

Leave comments with any questions you may have, and keep creating! 


The car smells like vomit from when you had the stroke. It’s been cleaned but when it sits in the sun and you get in you can smell it. Either that or my mind is a terrorist and invents the smell when I get in. I can’t drive anymore without thinking about you dying.

I sent texts to you today. Your phone is sitting dead on my bedside table. But the last texts we sent are still there and I’ve read them a million times. I said the things I should have said while you were alive. Why does it always happen that way? I should know better by now. People get fucking taken.

Some small part of me keeps waiting for an answer. As if somehow you’re not dead. Maybe I’m dreaming. Denial is a strong and strange drug. Sleep is a vague nothing. Every morning I wake up and remember you’re gone.

I have to do something with this grief. I have to put it into action somehow. In the depth of night at times like this, I want to come with you. I am so tired. Then I look at the sleeping faces of our 3 beautiful children and I come back to life.

Our oldest is sick with the flu. When you died, I told them you got very sick and there was nothing the doctors can do. He wakes up crying and asking me when he will feel better.

Your 2 year old daughter asked where you were last night.

Your 4 year old son asked his grandmother how you went to heaven.

This is not right. Nothing is right. Nothing makes sense. I feel like I’ve fallen behind some cosmic shelf and have been forgotten. I’ve been bitter about my life because GODDAMNIT this shouldnt happen. People go years and years without tragedy, they dont lose their parents when they’re too young to know what happened and they dont lose their partners til they’re old and grey and I want our fucking lives back the way they were.

I have been filled with an undefined, blind rage.

Don’t talk to me about God. He obviously doesn’t know my name.


I thought it would be harder to put you away. You had very little in the way of possessions. Your computers, your tablet, your clothes. Your wallet and phone are on my bedside table. An immediate reminder that there’s something wrong.  I did loads of your laundry and folded it all and put it into a hamper in the garage. It’s not that I’m trying to forget you, it’s that remembering is a sharp dagger and I still have to function as a mother. I left one shirt unwashed which I bury my face in at least twice a day. At first it brought wrenching sobs and now just a twinge in the pit of my stomach. It’s almost like it centers me to do it.  I do it when I feel complete helplessness. The scent will fade eventually, but for now it’s all I have. Mail still arrives every day in your name. Your car is in the driveway where you parked it for the last time. Every memory has a stopwatch now. We had an amazing 4th of July together. The stroke was only 4 days later. You died 3 days after that. I feel a numbness settling in. I am still figuring out how to keep us in this house, keep the bills paid, keep the kids fed. I am no stranger to poverty and in some sick sense that will help me in the coming year as the dust settles. The nights are the hardest. Sometimes I wound myself intentionally with memories. I search the emails you sent me. I scour your phone. I stare at the call log on mine, at the last call you ever made, your last act on earth. I replay the video call in my head, your studdering and mumbling, the weaving and eventual collapse when the phone went dark but I could still hear the highway patrol arrive. And then the hospital bedside when they removed the respirator. I rubbed my face against yours, feeling the stubble there… Remembering when we first started dating and you’d tease me by doing so. Laying my head on your shoulder for the last time. I played videos of the kids so you could hear their voices. I told you I love you, which I didn’t do enough when you were able to comprehend the words. Watching the numbers on the monitor dwindle to zero. Watching your eyes open at the last breath. Hearing laughing, busy hospital staff outside and wanting to strangle each one just for being there and alive and unable to stop what was happening to you. Tiny moments flood in during the monotony of the day. Laundry and dishes are filled with memories so loud I have to shut them out with music or video games, anything to distract from the loudness of your absence. I exist on coffee and cigarettes. I don’t eat until I’m starved then I eat too much. I wake up with a knot in my throat. I haven’t showered since your memorial last Thursday. The 34 year old widow.  Who else will love me so patiently and entirely? Who will take all the shit? I’ve burned down every man who ever loved me. Including you. But you held on to me. And I still need you.


Throughout history lives have been cheap. Technology and medical advancements have tricked us into thinking this has changed. Its a thin veneer on the truth. Life is still cheap. Taken by madness or madmen. Stolen by chance or accident. Circumstance. We are born soaked in our own demise until slowly or suddenly it seeps in and takes over. We are resplendent in decay. Our flesh is a cloak. They’ll hand me a jar of your bones. Transaction complete. I’ll sit you on a shelf next to my father and my grandfather and I’ll call upon the blood of my grandmother and her mother and her mother’s mother to keep me whole. Two hundred years of misery shaped us. I have been brought low, but not undone

Disappearing one

I’ve heard it said I’m being tested. haven’t I been tested enough? And what kind of test involves taking a father away from his children. 3 babies under 6. Are they being tested too? Are they even testable? Tell me how that makes sense.

The days and nights are an endless stream of mumbled moments. Sunday is meaningless. We would have taken them to a movie this weekend. We talked about it. We barely talked.

I have tried to find reasons to hate you so that the sting of your absence is lessened. You were a closed door I threw myself against until I gave up and became a closed door too. You kept everything you felt buried deep. It used to frighten me, then anger me, then came the great giving up. But you were justas broken as me, just in a different way. I am all nerves and no skin. You were 50 feet of steel.

Though distant, you anchored me. I am a tattered ribbon in the wind and you were the post I was tied too. Whatever chaos or insanity I felt was always tempered by your stoic reserve. You balanced me. Your silent strength was a reminder that this noisy mind can be quieted. You never judged me for any of it. You only tried to love it out of me, which is impossible.

What is more impossible is that you can be gone. Taken so swiftly from us. It’s as if you were an imagined thing that has started to fade with each passing day.