Dear spouse,

I want to tell you about grief. No, I don’t.
I want to tell you about me – the woman emerging from the ocean in winter, naked.
The wife you loved and knew died in my arms yesterday.
You’ll be living with me now: Wife 2.0. Lucky man.

First the good news.

I couldn’t care less where you leave your socks and shoes.
Don’t care when or if you ever do your dishes.
I think weeds are lost, misunderstood yard angels.
That sand on the floor should be sculpted into intricate art installations
at least as often as it is mindlessly swept away.
I enjoy wearing the same cozy sweater for days on end while I create
I don’t like doing laundry. Stains are more misunderstood angels
ideal brooch locations.

Crap. Maybe that was the bad news. Let me try again.
First the good news.

When you can’t find me
I might be on the beach looking at rocks
on my hands and knees
tumbling words in my poet’s mind like the most devoted lapidarist.
Words are cool. Rocks contain words for those who look.

Most days you’ll find me at my writing desk.
Epic tales in pajamas. Poems everywhere.

When life really sucks
you might find me reading strange books, watching strange TV
last month I watched all 153 episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix,
in rapid succession, to mend my heart when my extended family shattered.
I feel no shame. No guilt.
All my experience is gift. All of it.
Rory and Lorelai were there when grief burned my branches bare.
Silly, imperfect help is plenty.
You won’t catch this wife judging your taste in entertainment.
Our hearts know who and what they need to heal.

I offer one tip.

Don’t worry about me. Don’t.
Some days I may appear lost and alone.
That’s part of me. A part I love. Being lost and alone rocks most days.

I am an explorer. I take my time.
I move through The Museum of Modern Loss with wonder
Whoa. What? Huh. Wow.
pain and grief are just T-Rex bones in the rotunda.
Vulnerabilities are just strengths that I widened to
reveal, revel in, more of me.
When my skin gets too small I move toward them
crack myself open to step through new. Whole.
Doesn’t make me a chicken. Or a dinosaur.
When I need rest, I take it (see Gilmore Girls, above).
Or I get a wrist guard. Or I ask for help.
This wife asks for help when she needs it. Let me ask.

Ok, that was two tips. Now the bad news.

You’re married to an artist.
Living a textbook case for use of the expression “Man up.”
Artists pull forth new worlds. Find comfort in chaos.
Stand still at the heart of hell to burn, listen, record for remembrance. Chase fireflies.
Our hands our heads our hearts all equals
This makes us absentminded some days. Messy most.
My train even more choo choo – tough to – follow that thought
Fully engage your heart to hear me now. And your funny bone.
And your home-keeping skills. And your improv skills.
An artist will not try to engage parts of you for you. That’s on you.
I am engaged with myself.

Shit. Maybe that was the good news. You tell me.

Grieve her in your way, as you must. You knew her well, that woman
the one inclined to weep over shoes, rage about dirty dishes.
I can’t.
The gifts of rage and weeping will not be wasted on dust and cutlery in this house.
Fuck it, honey, the dishes will keep.
Today we dance.