brown rice and spanish horses.


My eyes are tired. My heart aches. I’ve cried a lot these past couple days. It comes unexpectedly, in waves. It began last night with a remark about remembering a time when you heard the desperate, all-too-real sound of sorrow. I was watching a video with a group of women, half of whom I don’t even know. Oh God, please no. Not now. This hits too close to home. I brace myself against the inevitable. Carl’s sister, Christine, is sitting next to me.

I set my coffee cup down on the floor, grab a Kleenex from my purse.

I accomplish neither before I’m sent colliding into my own internal, wailing memory. The phone call. The one that has replayed itself in my head every single day since it happened. It was morning. I was out walking my dogs in the woods, at a curve in the trail, surrounded by pine trees, the ground covered in new snow. The whole world unraveled and all I hear is my own nightmare-stricken voice…NO-NO-NO-NO-NO-NO-NO…even before I hear what is needing to be said. Something inside of me already knows what I’m going to hear and I’m screaming NO, trying to stop it, undo it, make it not real. Please God, don’t let it be real. Tell me I misunderstood. I didn’t hear right. Please, stop the terrible, unthinkable wreckage that is happening inside of me, my whole world. Stop this loss of everything in my heart. Gone. Please, God, no. Let me out. Let me out of this horrible, unthinkable, impossible news. NO-NO-NO. This cannot have happened. But it did.
It did.

The sound of my own sorrow. All these months later, the memory still deafens me.

I feel Christine’s arms around me, hugging me. I think my body might crumble, but somehow we manage to create a soft net in the outreaching of our arms that holds us through. I hear someone behind us crying also. These losses, they’re all too real. And we’re all too human. Profoundly fragile, even the strongest of us.


Revelations 21:4

Today though, the sun is out. It feels good/It makes me sad. Sunshine mixed with the warm weather of spring confuses me. My emotions come too close to the surface. I feel like Carl should somehow be a part of all this sunshine, but he’s not. At least, not in the way I expect him to be. My make-up was wiped away by tissues and tears long before I even leave the house. I go to an early morning appointment and then the studio. I drink my coffee with cream. There is something comforting about that, a little luxury, since I more often drink it black. The studio is aglow with the warmth of sunlight.  I sit on cushions on the floor. I write for awhile, but don’t paint. I feel gratitude for the canvas sitting on the easel and its willingness to wait for me until tomorrow.

These tender days, they still happen. The sun continues to shine. My heart travels entire continents of emotions. I’m peaceful, then agitated, then grateful. I get swallowed whole with sadness, then decide to give up on whatever I’m working on and instead give myself over to editing some Lusitano and PRE photos from Spain. Yes, horse medicine. Sadness gives way to the grace and strength contained in those images. I am in awe of the beauty I’ve witnessed in this world. I wonder where life without Carl will lead me. My heart has been forever altered. Surely, this could be a gift if I allow it to be?

I try to imagine what heaven feels like. I attempt to plug into this feeling as directly as possible. This feeling of Home, I turn it into a map. A conduit, a pathway for every next step. In these moments, I feel closer to God, I feel Carl’s tremendous peace and happiness. I feel some of heaven’s presence on earth. It does exists, in glimpses. Only glimpses, all along. It is all our earthly selves can handle.

I get hungry. I make brown rice. Eventually, the cabin fills with it’s warm scent. I intended to make a vegetable curry to go along with it. But the rice smells so good. I eat it straight from the steamer I cooked it in. I am satisfied in it’s simplicity. I remember that I will be ok. I will make it through. I experienced God in a hundred different ways today. Brown rice and Spanish horses. Little by little, my heart begins to mend.

8 thoughts on “brown rice and spanish horses.

  1. This is the first time I’ve read your account of that dreadful phone call. I am crying with you! You are so strong even though you may not feel it! And you are so wise. Thank you for sharing your wisdom! The photo of the horse is one of beauty, strength and power! I hope you feel that within yourself! Love.


  2. J, I am crying with you today, too, real tears from a thousand plus miles away. I can’t imagine how painful it is to love someone so deeply and then lose him. It’s not that we would never lose someone. But to lose him SO painfully, to have the life you had with him just instantly cut off. It is irreconcilable. It is impossible to truly put words around the towering wave of emotion. If I feel even this tiny part of your grief from this distance, I cannot imagine the level of grief you feel right there, in the midst of memories, the tangible reality of the life you shared with him. That you have any fragments of joy right now can only be because of God’s grace.

    Continuing to pray for your heart each day, my sister.


  3. “My heart has been forever altered…” Beauty will come from ashes. The phoenix will arrive. Some day. I believe it in my heart.


  4. It has been heart wrenching and heart warming to read your blog, Jessie. I was good to read your post today. I hope you find comfort knowing others are here with you. I am inspired by your love for God and the strength you get from his love for you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


  5. I can only imagine that a loss of your nearest and dearest is something is hardly gotten over, ever, but instead carried with you for ever in different forms, on different days, over different times. I find peace in your writing as if your journey somehow carries meaning for all. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself on your blog. I hope I am not interloping on your private space, please do say if I am. My name is Michelle by the way, and thank you for your comment on my new – 3 post blog. I hope to be posting more soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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