Saturday, September 15, 2012


I am your witness,
Attending your demise.
I watch your chest move,
Momentarily relieved.
Not yet,
Not yet.

How many breaths do you have left, my love?

Do you stay
To shield me from your loss?
Can you feel my care,
Drifting toward eternity
Beyond us now?
Beyond us now.

How many breaths do you have left, my love?

Our lives so tangled
I cannot tell where you end
And I begin.
Who am I if there is no we?
You and me,
You and me.

How many breaths do you have left, my love?

We share everything.
Look! I have life force enough
For both of us.
I can sustain you if you just
Stay with me.
Stay with me.

How many breaths do you have left, my love?

(This was written yesterday.)

My Flip took his last breath this morning. Right now I cannot imagine my life without him, but I will have to find a way because I'm still here. I fear my own death less because he will protect me as he did when we swam in waters way too deep for my abilities. Flip was my safety net and my true north. Losing him feels like an amputation, but we were blessed to have found perfect love with each other and to live in beautiful harmony for 21 years. And that will have to be enough.


Elizabeth Harper said...

I've followed your love story for longer than I can remember usually reading without commenting but always marveling at the sweet strength of your love. I'm so deeply sorry for your loss.

nick said...

Oh, that is so sad, Susan, so wrenchingly sad. I'm crying as I sit typing this. You and Flip seemed so happy together, and I've been following his gradual decline and your own grief for so long now. I'm so sorry to hear he is finally gone and you have to make a new life for yourself without him.


Cro Magnon said...

Dear Susan. I'm so terribly sorry to hear of your loss. Life will never be the same for you; just different. I'm sure that in time you'll find a way of dealing with that awful difference.

My most sincere condolences. Cro.

EsLocura said...

Dear Susan, am so sorry for your loss. Having lost my husband after a short illness I can understand the emptiness. How lucky we are to have been loved so uncontionally, how overwhelmingly sad to have to find a new way to live without our partners. Yet life does go on, and some how we find a way to go on as well. It's a diffenrt life but one that serves as a testament to the beauty and love we once knew. Besos

the walking man said...

May the sadness of your days ahead be broken apart with the memory of all of the moments twenty one years gives a person to look back upon. And in going forward may you always remember how and why Flips love came into your life and move ahead always in the knowledge that you were and are truly loved Susan.

RJS said...

My blessings, for both you and your beloved. My thoughts are with you, sweetie. Your strength will see you through this passage.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I'm so sorry. You've been in my thoughts and I wish you peace at the other end of mourning. I am holding you in my heart.

Anonymous said...

Thats a beautiful poem. Heartbreaking. Im so sorry for your loss, He was obviously a wonderful man, and deeply loved.

My deepest condolences to you and your family.


Paula said...

Susan, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I've never met you, yet I've thought of your struggle so often, and I cried when I saw your post. That is such a nice picture of Flip, looking like a man in his element.

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brown said...


The best poems are always those that strum the poignant, often tattered and frayed heartstrings of our memories. This piece resonated deeply with beautiful.

As with your other devoted readers, I too have been following Flip's decline and your subsequent adjustment and heartbreak. With every post, my heart broke alongside yours. My deepest condolences and prayers go out to you my dear. May you find solace and heal quickly.

Love always,

mischief said...

Oh Susan,
I'm so sorry, so sad for you and for everyone who lost out by having Flip leave too soon. He was so lucky to have someone like you who cared so much, who worked so hard to make his last years dignified and loving, who never stopped loving him through all the struggles. I am thinking of you, sending you all my love, and promising you my shoulder and my ear if you should ever need them. And urging you now to take some rest from all you have been through, and take some deep breaths. With so much love.

Los Angelista said...

So many tears for you both. Thank you for sharing your love for each other, adventures together, and the sadness of his illness with us. All my love to you.

the only daughter said...

I am sorry for your loss and for all that will follow. I am also encouraged by the power and grace you've expressed and revealed.


Spindrift said...

I have read your blog for years, only sometimes commenting. I have watched your love from afar for Flip, for some reason I put his name in my diary earlier this year, just so that it would always be there for me, as I looked forward, occasionally glancing back. But I realise now that I didn't need to write his name down, I think I will always remember him. But mostly I will always remember the love the two of you shared. If I can be half as lucky in my marriage as you have been with the love you have had for each other, I will be a lucky man. I hope you have good people supporting you through this sad time, and I hope that you can find peace with this in your heart.

e said...

My heart aches for you and I am so very sorry for your loss. Hugs from afar. Your poem is a beautiful tribute.

Jo said...

Susan, what a beautiful poem. You and Flip had such a wonderful love for each other, and that never dies. Flip will always be with you. I strongly believe that. Love never dies.

Maria said...

I don't see that many real-life love stories anymore. But, I counted yours as one and the same.

Susan, I am so very sorry, very sorry for your pain. But, can I admit that a small, tiny part of me is just so....GLAD that Flip can finally fly around unencumbered? You know, you were his champion through it all and the best part? When you die, I believe that you take all of that love with you. What a huge armful of love he takes with him. And it will be there waiting for you just a few stars away.

Dragonfly Dreams said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. He is still with you, watching over you. He is the gentle breeze, the sun in the morning, and the sparkle in the snow, loving you every moment of every day. (((((hugs)))))

Jackie Gaston said...

Just now saw this post, Susan. Sending you love.

Jackie Gaston said...

I sent you an FB message the other day with a link to an old photo of Flip when he was here in Boulder. I didn't know he'd left when I sent it.

Lynnea said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I have found strength and encouragement for my own marriage reading what you've written here about your love and devotion.

RJS said...

When my dear dad died, I discovered this poem. It's brought me a lot of comfort, and maybe it will do the same for you:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye

English Rider said...

I am so sad for you. You've been losing Flip for a long time now. I hope you will find a peaceful place where only the good memories surround you.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I've been quiet this week, trying to think through this. I haven't wanted to say anything until I could choose the right thing to say.

In my heart and mind, I cannot separate you two just as you could not separate your heart into two pieces... all I have been able to divine is that you are always together, even apart temporarily for now, there is no way that you could be separated. It isn't possible. No matter where you are between now and when you are with him again, you are together in spirit, and you will hear him and feel him, just as I'm sure he still knows you are with him.
You two are halves that make a whole, and that cannot be undone.
I wish you peace.
I'm sending comforting thoughts of love.


frightandfantasy (formerly known as yinyang) said...

I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I know it's been a while coming, but that probably doesn't make it hurt any less.

Sending good thoughts your way, and hoping the people closest to you are helping you out as best they can.

(I've had death on the brain recently, and I decided to stop by and visit all my old blog friends that are still around. I was hoping for a happier meeting than this. Again, so sorry for your loss.)

Anonymous said...

Oh Susan, I just read this post now and this incredible poem.

You know how I adore every word you write but this one goes beyond all of it, this one is everything. I am convinced that Flip smiled at you when you spoke those words to him, even if you could not see his response. You were his north in return, your strength, your courage, your backbone, your heart. I am convinced that your love lead him peacefully along.


Miss Healthypants said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry for your loss!! Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you...and I know that Flip will be with you always...

Miss Healthypants said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry for your loss!! Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you...and I know that Flip will be with you always...

neora chana said...

May his memory be a comfort to you in the days ahead.

Molly said...

Oh Susan, I'm so sorry. I just now found this and my heart aches for you. Now you exchange one kind of pain for another. At least Flip is at peace. I hope he and all the other angels watch over you, night and day, and keep you safe and comfort your loneliness. Your poem is a beautiful tribute....and Flip is just as handsome as I imagined him to be. Deepest sympathy and big hugs to you, my friend.

Jocelyn said...

Weeping here.

For the loss of Flip. For the pain you feel. For the beauty you shared. For the amazement at hilly love, with ups and downs.

Susan, I am devastated and lifted up and transported, all for you. To have lost so much, you had to have had so much.

One day, when you're ready--if you're ready--if you haven't already written about this, and I missed it--

I'd love to read about how you and Flip met and came together.

Sextant said...

There are so many stories of love that burns brightly and then fades. When you hear of the loss of a partner in that rare couple who truly succeeded, it is extraordinarily tragic, for it is as though three have passed on...he, a part of you, and the wonderful loving relationship that you had. May the memories of him and your love give you strength in these dark days ahead. I am truly sorry for your loss.

CiCi said...

There are no words to console you, I can only say that I care. I was out of state with my mother and have been busy with things she needs even after I returned here so I have not been reading blogs. I am so sorry for your loss, for the amputation, for your pain.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I can't thank all of you enough for your caring comments. I have read them many times and they bring me comfort. Please excuse me for not responding to each of you personally, as I have always done. I cherish every one of you but am still feeling too raw to write personal replies. I love you all!

riseoutofme said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Flip ... You are in my thoughts and prayers ..

riseoutofme said...
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Pamela said...

I'm so sorry. Yes, you had the 21 years, and that is wonderful. Never enough.

Ian Lidster said...

You just made me cry, dear Susan. Profound condolences to you, my friend. I've followed this journey with you since it began, but it still, with your poignant posting, hit me like a bit of a sledgehammer.
Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Susan I am so sorry. Such a beautiful force of life, love, humor, talent. Words are seriously failing, so the biggest, warmest hug, please take care dear friend. xx Pam.