The following entries (from beginning runner to half marathon finisher) represents a continuing journey of tremendous grief and sorrow, and of transformation - largely through the therapeutic power of running. The sorrow that has broken my heart open wide has in time allowed me to experience the beauty of being in the present moment. And of course, without the support of family and friends to guide me, I would not have made it this far.

If you have lost someone in your life, I offer these words and verse (some Kristy's, some mine and others) with the hope it may touch your heart and help you heal.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The air was heavy giving birth to your memory
A hackneyed hope, a seminal sign, a righteous rebellion.

Born anew a brilliant beggar reaching to inhale
I wait to soak in their bloated beams 

Yet in the end 
I am deliciously

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Today I was at our lake, Kristy.  My new friend Cindy and I were walking with Jack and talking about you.  I told her stories about our trips to the lake.  How you ran while I rode the bike.  How you pushed me up the hill when I finally said I had to get off the bike to walk.  I told her stories about you and Clas, your boyfriend.  How when he was not feeling very strong you would take him on short walks to the lake and take me along for good measure.  Of course Jack came along as well.

I was smiling when I got home and realized Cindy has never met you. All she knows about you lives in my memory. But through my memories you have come alive. You have become a real person to her.  She asks questions about you and you come alive in all your glory. And this is the truth of it, even though I have never met Shakespeare, Lincoln, Picasso or even Amy Tan I feel as if I know them.

During these long walks I have also met Cindy's mother.  I can feel her mother's love as Cindy talks about her.  I too can see her through Cindy's eyes. Even though Cindy's mother is no longer alive.  Cindy and I have both shared our loves with each other and in so doing have received comfort in the reliving.  For you are alive in these moments.  It is as if you have never left me.  There is a gentle comfort in talking about you, my darling. There is so much to tell.

Yes.  In these moments it is as if you have never left. And someone whom you have never met knows you and carries your memory with them.

Friday, November 20, 2009


A year ago I wrote to a Pueblo Shaman about you.

I asked the Shaman
why you died
He said you went
so another could enter
my life, my love

I am waiting with tears
with outstretched hands
I open my heart
expanding the circle

Ever present and changing
Just how many are needed?
When is the circle full?
It is ever turning,
ever mine

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Another cold morning and you sit on my throat
you see my breath as I hide in my coat
Last night's dreams are like lint in my pocket
Soft and ghostly as the image in my locket

Dreary days gray and blue slip between sighs
soon another birthday comes and another milestone dies
In my dream you smiled your love as wide as the sky
I sheltered you in my arms while asking you, "Why?"

In your eyes, in your eyes, the sweetness of youth
tempered only by cries of persistence and truth
Though today I am cold in my pocket I find
love conquering death in my heart and my mind

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


On my last trip to New Mexico the sun split the rain
clouds and a rainbow formed.

While I was running this morning these thoughts came to me. My love for you is like two parts of one puzzle. If I had not loved I could not have felt your loss so cruelly. If I had not mourned I could not have recognized your love so completely. I am sharing this journey with you.

For you
my heart did sing.
For you
my heart did die.

For you
my heart will live.
For you
my heart cries why.

Thank you

Friday, October 16, 2009


Love is stronger than death she said
as I reached to find her near
a breath, a look, a yearning smile
are but mirrors from the dead

Monday, September 28, 2009


Yesterday I went to see the memorial that was made for your grave site. It includes a beautiful photograph of you in porcelain and part of a poem you once wrote. I then wrote this for you.

The day is tiring and long
I'm going to sit here and rest
I'll stroke your memory in song
and hold it to my chest

It's raining outside I said
and our inner worlds did meet
with tiny hands of lead
driving a dreary beat

I stood again on the ground
where you will soon be laid
and thought about the sound
our laughing voices made

I'm falling to my knees
and the mist and you are one
just under the sheltering trees
where the rain is never done

"Shared pain is no longer paralyzing but mobilizing." Henri Nouwen

Friday, September 25, 2009


Inspired by James Ellroy

The dead claim the living
and mark their decline
before and after become
a narrative in time

You had her before
and now she is gone
her death begins then
and drags you along

The dead claim the living
and bestow a sad wreath
we are powerless to control
our hopelessness and grief

You cannot predict when
or where grief will come
but you know that the loss
cannot be undone

The dead claim the living
and tell us how we should live
if we stop and then listen
we may have to forgive

You want to move forward
with her love as the goal
to show her that death
cannot conquer the soul

The dead claim the living
an urgent call be not lost
so you honor this child
you seek good at all cost

Your love of her presence
cannot vanquish your fears
and the beauty of her life
is nourished with tears

The dead claim the living
through visions yet seen
of the horror they endured
and dreams they won't dream

Yet your love is so precious
so solid and real
through memories of her
your heart dares to heal

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Dear Kristy,

How's things. Today was pretty boring until the postman came to the door and gave us the mail. You know how that upsets me. It didn't use to bother me but Karma started barking at him and it really seemed like the thing to do. Now I can't stand it and we really bark loud. Is that bad?

You know what's strange is that we still get lots of mail with your name on it. Mostly nutrition catalogs and advertisements. But like your mom says, it's nice to see your name. It's a sad kinda sweet thing.

Oh yeah and here's something I was dreaming about last night. Remember when we spent the night at your house. There was this big black cat named Pickles that kept trying to get into your room. The door was closed and we could smell Pickles under the door. None of us got any sleep that night. Sorry we kept you awake Kristy. In my dream we caught Pickles and we did something I'm not too proud about. Maybe some day I'll tell you.

Hey, time to eat. Love, Jack

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


So I'm not sure everyone knows we have a music video out together. Just you and me. It's pretty rad and I love to watch it over and over. Here it is in case anyone wants to take a peep.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Hey Kristy - look at us! Remember when you used to carry me around all the time? Yeah I was pretty relaxed about it for sure. I just found this photo of us. You look so happy - but then when we were together you always did.

You're wearing your Choctaw T-shirt and it looks cool. Hey, you know how I would always chew on your nose? I never did it to anyone else but you. Even your mom tried to get me to do it but I never would. It was our little thing.

Some people think dogs don't remember. But we do. I dream about you all the time. In my dreams we are at the lake. Once you took me there and I got to run with you. I didn't do so well because I kept trying to jump on you instead of just running forward. I was only trying to tell you how happy I was. Now we will never get a chance to get it right. But I still have the memory.

Here's a big bite on your nose,


Monday, September 21, 2009


I'm missing you today

Dear Kristy,

Today I thought about you when I was on the back deck sunning myself. It's not too hot now so I get to lay out every now and then. Remember how sensitive my skin is? I still can't use any of that flea stuff so I have to get washed lots. Yeuch.

Guess what? I met some new dogs! They belong to Chris and they are even smaller than I am. But the great part is one of them is a girl. Yep - she likes me. Actually she's crazy about me. But you're still my number one.

They came over to play last night and we got to run around in the back yard when it was dark! Kinda like a party. If you were here I know they would love you just like I do. So where ever you are - here's a big kiss from me.

Oh yeah I remember what I wanted to tell you. Remember when you used to bring us special treats you got at Trader Joes? That was cool. And remember when you used to throw me back and forth on the sofa and the big stuffed chair like I was a rag doll? And I pretended like I was going crazy and ran around and around in a circle?

Those were the days. Jack

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Me - in one of my many sweaters.

Hi Kristy - it's Jack again. I was thinking about you again while I was lying on the couch with my human. She misses you too. Sometimes I know she is sad and I think that is why she cries so much. I just try to look cuddly so she will hug me and that seems to make her feel better.

Anyway I was thinking about the red sweater you gave me. I still have it! It is one of my favorites. It used to belong to your stuffed moose and then you gave it to me. It used to belong to another dog for a short time - Sonya. You told me all about Sonya but I never did meet her. Thank you for telling me stories about her.

You were one of the few people who treated me like an equal. Even though I was on the street and ended up in a shelter you took pity on me. I will never be able to thank you enough. You changed my life! If I could smile I would, because you make me feel good.

Well gotta go. There are cats walking around the house and well - you know.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


Dear Kristy,

It's Jack. I miss you. Remember when you used to come over all the time and make fun of me? I really didn't mind because I know you only said those things because you loved me. Even when you would call me Pee Rag because I wasn't potty trained and someone who will remain nameless put a diaper on me. Those were pretty scary days, huh?

Anyway did you find the dog toy I left beside the side of the road for you? It was the little purple one that you used to tease me with. Yeah, the one that looks like a girl's toy. I didn't mind when you said that either. You knew so much about what dogs like it was great.

Remember when you took me for a walk and let me off leash for the first time? I ran after some cows and you thought for sure I was gonna get kicked in the head. I remember how fun it was when you chased after me. After that you put the leash back on.

Even though I am just a dog I want you to know I loved you with all my heart. You made me happy when you gave me so much attention. I don't really know where you are but I think about you all the time. There are lots of pictures of you in the house. That's good.

Well that's all for today. I have to get caught up on my nap time. I will write more later.


Friday, September 18, 2009


Jack and Karma are our two dogs. Kristy loved them very much, especially Jack who was our rescue dog. When she was away they would both send emails to her. Here is one from Karma expressing her frustration over Jack (in the red sweater above):






Thursday, September 17, 2009


So the sky came to claim you
as you opened your eye

now I know where to find you
and I hear the sky cry

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I remember the times we'd play
"I spy with my little eye"

I'd guess what you were
you said you were sky.

Monday, September 14, 2009


The following is from a Newsweek essay written by James Ellroy. It is about a young girl who recently died. To me it is profoundly accurate and articulates the power of the dead over the living.

The dead claim the living and begin the process by marking their departure in time. Before and after become crucial narrative lines. Hypothesis runs crazy as enforced logic fails to explain the viciousness and banality of fate.

The dead claim the living and extend the process through the imposition of grief. It is the juncture of powerlessness and harrowing loss. Byroads of guilt and rage lead to the assignment of blame, the desire for vengeance, and the embrace of the preposterous notion of closure. Bereavement is inherently ambiguous and unique to each carrier of grief. The time lines vary. The emotional arc is wholly unpredictable. Powerlessness and the corresponding sense of loss obliterate all attempts to blame and all planned forays of vengeance. This is entirely as it should be. This is the living telling the dead how much they are loved and how irretrievable the loss of them is. This is communion of the highest spiritual form.

The dead claim the living through imagined repetition of the horror they endured. This is shock therapy as higher calling. The loss of their corporeal love teaches us to love on an infinite scale.

The dead claim the living and tell us how to live. It is imperative that we listen and adhere to their sanction. We are required to work toward probity and comport ourselves as though our lost ones are there with us. This call to virtue proves efficacious over time. We send messages to a spirit and get no material answer. There is only the assumption that she is there and we are here and we must not falter at our task. There is no human terror that the persistent application of love and devotional consciousness cannot transcend.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


On mornings such as today I find myself a little lost. My heart aches for my daughter. For a brief moment I can hold her in my mind and heart and remember what it was like to have her by my side. I still have that swell of pride just thinking of her goodness. Her beautifully tender heart and brutally blatant drive to achieve the impossible. Her joy was to let go of conceived limitations and do what her soul told her she could. She relished the fight.

These feelings come to me so strongly every time I remember Kristy. The way I have coped with her loss has been to escape to the nearby lake and run. Being surrounded by the awe of nature has been a sort of substitute and a way of prolonging this feeling of being in her presence.

Some mornings like today are perfect with clear blue sky and lazy new sun. And I can't explain how some days I am guided back to the lake and some days I fear it. Today the lake looms large and I suppose I am just fearful it will not offer the solace I seek. I feel weak and disappointed with myself when this happens.

When I am weak I now know it will pass. This is what I have learned.

Friday, September 4, 2009


small snapshots of time and loss
today I was able to laugh at a joke
I am now able to do many things
yesterday I dreamed my daughter
and she was again alive

I am inching back into a routine
climbing steps that do not lead to you
I am someone else now I realize
there is so much I need to learn
about this new person

I am not exactly a ghost
but part feeling and part asleep
part dead and part alive
the dangling root of a former life
dragging along crumbs of the past

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Your body is the place of every memory,
A privileged place, the junction of Matter,
Energy, Spirit, and Conscience,
The entire universe is in your body,
your body is a Temple.

- Amazonian oral tradition

Monday, August 31, 2009


This haunting song reminds me of Kristy each  time I hear it.  
I have changed a few of the words to make it personal. 
Hear the tune and watch the video.

My love is like footsteps in the snow, baby,
I follow you everywhere you go, baby.
The pain as light has come to wake you
And you forever realize
That you inspire the dreams that guide me baby.

You're a half a world away
But in my mind I whisper every single word you say.
And before I sleep at night
I pray to you, my lucky star, my singing satellite.

You follow the winds that bring the cold, baby,
You light a fire in my soul, baby.
The lightest touch of feathers falling
Your love may be invisible
But you inspire the dreams that guide me, baby

You're a half a world away
But in my mind I whisper every single word you say.
And before I sleep at night
I pray to you, my lucky star, my singing satellite.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Somewhere in the desert of New Mexico

Last week I traveled to New Mexico and spent a week with my sister. The purpose of the trip was to drive to Santa Fe and attend the Indian Market. For the last two years I have driven the thousand miles to Santa Fe to sell my paintings. This year I did not sell at the market but decided to go and experience it as a "tourist". I'm so glad I did. I was not able to walk around and visit all the artists in previous years as the market strongly suggests you be in your booth at all times. But this time I did and saw so many beautiful things and met so many talented people.

A few years ago Kristy helped me to prepare for my first market. I set up my booth in the living room and we hung all the paintings. She had a good eye. She also helped me name each piece. She took her time and made sure everything was ready to go. Unfortunately she had a race during the same weekend but we often talked about her coming with me in the future.

Now more than ever I think of our conversations about the future. Her passion - triathlon competition, and my passion - painting. We were committed to helping each other to reach our goals. When I say reach I really mean surpass - both of us knew we would never be satisfied but would always strive to achieve more. You can never reach the end of your passion. It is always there to drive you on. It's what keeps you going.

As my sister and I drove through the vast New Mexico desert we spoke about Kristy. She was present with us every step of the way. I can never forget her strength - I find it is always there if I open my heart and listen.


For a long time I have been afraid to fly in small planes. The turbulance always makes me nervous and I dread what could happen. Yesterday I flew in a small plane as I returned from my sister's house in New Mexico. I wrote this as I looked out the small window.

I can still remember when I was afraid to fly
Tightly strapped into this plastic cocoon
Immobile as larvae and conscious of nothing
Waiting for the silent signal to breathe

The fear remained a nameless passage
A constant travel companion with no identity
Always lurking and watching for a chance
To set out upon its dark journey with god speed

But my companion no longer lurks in empty bags
Or travels silently speaking its false name
For I am transformed by you my love
And this sad fellow has no more grip on me

My hands do not get sweaty nor my face pale
I do not hold my breath or bargain with fear
For I am never closer than when he appears
And I am dreaming myself into you as we soar

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The sun set for my sister and I on Monday evening. We watched as the sky slowly exploded into an orange yellow soup. The next morning I wrote you this poem and tried to tell you....

Another eternal sun sets
When we are together as one
What once was blue is scarlet and gold
Suspended hope with suspended dreams
Bound by moments of changing beauty

You - as blinding as the dying sun
As vibrant as the rising moon
Everything and anything can bring you near
Yet even this will fade to black
As a dying rose drops its heavy crown

I never tire of your laughing eyes
I wait each day to relive the memory of you
If I am not dreaming you how can I remember?
A second death would but follow the first
An endless fall much darker than the one I know

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The following poem was written by Laurissa


this moment of presence is infinite
in it’s fleeting, elusive permanence
all directions radiate out from center
from Now all connections with all beings
alive even in this silky silence
where full moon light scarcely penetrates clouds
and bats circle me without sound

a house holding me
me holding space solid as stones
weightless as feathers
of which I am the same
I would release every thing
every thought, every memory, every belief
that forms me
let sunlight be my name
until water claims me again
for desire I cannot release

who would it be that I am
imagining looking so deeply into me
whose eyes can hold my untamed gaze
and let me enter without resistance
leaving past and future, stress and projection
leaving the scurrying mind
in the center of a wet spring meadow
in glorious rich greens
where they shall consume themselves
as we turn and walk without looking back

I do not know the name of what comes for me
nor why I resist
I know the sounds and memories that ache and echo
and that rarest beauty emerging from inconceivable loss
but I don’t know if anyone hears
the songs we sing alone
nor how far I shall wander to receive the seeds
my body will transform and birth
into still other forms of intelligent light
I do not know how I became this dance

so I walk the river at night, denying sleep
because an awakening demands it’s moments
feeling the effortless rise and fall of my chest
as I take and release the invisible
in all these words my lips remain together
I endlessly circle around the One
I will not utter or write
for tonight I fear to reduce
the miraculous to banality
the mystery of all presence united
by gossamer filaments of indestructible
indefinable actuality
I reach out for words as forming
shapes in the air before me
to convey and comprehend these waves
undulating through the space I am
and then lay them aside
as they fade back to formless

returning to the ancient symphony
where all space and time
explode in wonderment

Monday, August 24, 2009


I know what you mean
when you talk about the flashes
of strobes and rapid fire
blinding with feelings

you see... that day
I watched you from across the road
as I watched everyone else
while my soul took them all
searing bullet after bullet strobe
of images of chaos and confusion

my body she immobilized
for spending our time
was best a secret
the way she liked it I knew
and even now I try
to indulge her

but you know
that its too late for me
because with her
I already let myself loose


Sunday, August 23, 2009


Photo and verse by Elliot

I like to suffer says the madman
as he walks out the door again

suffering is my home he says
when wild winds rage the sea
or pounding tar machines
race to hurl themselves at me
leave nothing i can see

except bitter sweetness
of life and memory.......

Saturday, August 22, 2009


"Finished in Beauty" one of Kristy's favorite paintings

Wide shoulders
Thick legs
Veins that have been a beacon
He says it is his vision
that is good
He says
his girlfriend
He asked if it hurt
I bit his cheek
I show him my pallor
My softening legs
He lowers his eyes.
My wine glass remained full
as I drank.

And I felt wanted?

by Kristy Gough

Friday, August 21, 2009


Collage by P.S.

Don't speak.
Don't laugh don't smile
Let the merry go round wind down
Whispers of childhood are all I can allow

I only hear within myself
My voices cry a chorus
of timeless plays
and fading colors

You think these perfect?
These deals I've touched
But I can see no beauty
You stole it when you called out
Love - but didn't know it's name

I thought my grip was strong
But my calluses were worn thin
And my blood was warm and red
It hurt when I saw it puddle on the ground.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


What is your name and where were you born?
How many other children do you have?
Did she make any money when she won the race?
How long did she live in this and that place?

Please keep yourself from smiling at me
Don't tell me any more little jokes
Don't say you are sorry my daughter did die
And too slowly wipe a tear from your eye

You have a family too I would think
Those that you guard from all that you fear
Should I presume to speak with such candor and mirth
Can you please prove to me just what that is worth

There is a world and a justice too she said
And not one of us here is walking alone
Look around and see clearly where you are going
What you now reap is what you've been sowing

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I sat down at the table while she looked at me
"Do you have anything you would like to say?"
My throat constricted - I felt weak and sick
Like I would either throw up or start screaming

The words raced in my head and fought back
Anything? Does that mean everything or nothing?
For I am an empty shell, a scratch upon the floor
a mast without a ship, an open mouth panting

A man spoke for me in a brown honey voice
"Thank you for coming here," was her reply
I show them I have been writing to you each day
Words I cannot swallow - ripe and rotten with tears

This was her favorite sketch I hear myself say
She said if she were a child she would admire it
The trees are like ghostly green shells
Disappearing into a spider's darkly woven horizon

I am walking out now down the carpeted hallway
Back to my prison reeking of grey-green and black
I turn to look and you are profiles huddling together
Someone murmurs - "I see they were very close"

I am holding on to so many memories
Greedy hands rip them out page by page
They are poked and prodded again and again
Once more they ask - "How do you define
My Love, My Life?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So many have helped me through the past year. I could not have made it if not for their love and compassion. I do not have the right words to thank you, so let me just say I love you.

You are there when I need you
I know you understand the pain
You don't have to ask me
again and again

It's the small talk that sees me though
You ask me of my day
We talk about the dogs awhile
How they sleep and how they play

You are another part of me
You've taken much of my grief
For when you've shown such love to me
You've harbored a fragile peace

Can I live within your calming grace
Can I dwell within your banks
Can I tell you how you've meant the world
Can I offer you my thanks

Monday, August 10, 2009


Three days after Kristy died a woman called to tell me her son had died five years before. She offered me her experience with the pain of losing her child.

You called to say you knew
about my pain and grief
For your son had also died
5 years you struggled for relief

You darkly spoke his name
while recounting all the years
which lead you to announce
There would be no end to tears

You kept his phone alive
to hear its tinny beat
though others thought it odd
to you a simple feat

They offered me money you said
As if it could give you peace
But the blood dripped from their hands
and offered you no release

She's been dead for three days, I said
My thoughts can find no rest
You never will, was your reply
As his phone beat in your chest

Friday, August 7, 2009


Kristy had a great love of music. She enjoyed all types. I would regularly make copies of my new CDs (don't tell anyone) for her. She is the one who turned me on to the Lilith Fair series. Later, I got the individual CDs of each artist and we enjoyed them together. Any music with violin, cello or even banjo was always a hit! She loved chamber music and Cajun. I was thinking about this when I wrote the following.

we both loved the cello
with it's throaty lament
and joyous rhyme
earthy inner chimes

reaching skyward
naked with longing
like a dog
chasing after its bone

P.S. If Kristy were here she would be wishing her big brother Val a happy birthday. She loved her big brother very much.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I walk the same road but I do not feel
I see the same sights but I do not connect
If you were here instead of me
What would you be seeing?

I am you and now you are here
You are my eyes seeing what I see
Our fish bowl lenses glaring
And your heart beat blocks the sun

Sometimes when I do the simplest thing
I pretend that I am you
I am still here waiting for you I say
Tell me what would you be seeing

For if I knew I could make it happen
I would do all of your bidding
I could go forth with all your heart
And I would know what you are seeing

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Did you see it coming?
That split second
When you thought
I must get out of the way
This can't be happening

You lay on the road like a rag doll
Tossed aside like an angry child
He cradled you in his arms
Your splendor had been rewarded
With a broken, ugly crown

Sometimes when I close my eyes
I feel the car's impact
The searing pain and drunken darkness
Most times I feel the shock
This was not supposed to happen

Did you fall asleep peacefully?
Did you know who and what you were
Did you dream your life again
Or did your body fight on without you
While you looked down from above

I felt you close for days and days
As if you didn't want to leave
The wind was you, the sky was you
You were everything and nothing
But ..... did you see it coming?

Monday, August 3, 2009


Eyes like two comets
hands like an anchor in my heart
oh to be drifting
like a drunken flower beast
beating my wings against the comforting breeze

Do you see me now?
are you piercing through the night
with a thousand glittering eyes
or a moon shadow watering the ground

Your heart the tangled forest
damp and swollen, nearly bursting
speak to me again my love
breathe yourself into my heart
let me rest my head on your shores

Saturday, August 1, 2009


A whisper echoes in my ears
I'm waiting for you
I can make your life easier
I only want to help

I am small and bent
I cannot bear the load
Today I stopped and I knew
I could weep no more

For my eyes are dark with tears
My throat is tired and sore
A volcano lives in my chest
It is over flowing

So I took you in my hand
With this pill, I thee wed
To honor and obey
From this moment forward

And for my part in wedded bliss
I ask to sleep at night
I ask to lay my burden down
For one tiny solitary moment

Let us be together every day
Let us renew our vows each evening
As the solemn ceremony unfolds
With this cup I take you in

And as I lay me down to sleep
I pray the lord my soul to take
And with this pill I close my eyes
If I should die before I wake

Friday, July 31, 2009


Kristy and Jack 2008

To my friends and family: Please do not take this poem personally. It was written with but one person in mind. This is part of the clutch of poems I wrote yesterday in a fit of honest emotion. They show feelings I have not dared to voice. I am just hoping it may help others know they are not alone. When I heard the poems of the woman who lost her daughter 6 years ago I realized I was not alone in my thoughts and it comforted me.

Please talk about her
Please say her name
This doesn't hurt me
This doesn't give me pain

If ever you want to know
How to make me smile
Tell me how you loved her
Let me see her for awhile

I see you don't have time
To ask how things have been
She was a part of you, you say
So how can you defend

The fact you don't have time
Although you loved her so
For we are but a link you see
Leaving me is letting her go

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Yesterday I was listening to NPR as I painted. A woman named Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno was talking about a book of poems she had written called "Slamming Open the Door". These are poems written about the death of her daughter who was murdered six years ago.

As I listened to her poems I immediately identified with her descriptions of death, loss and grief. At a break they played a song which was played at her daughter's memorial. It was her daughter's favorite. I somehow knew when they said it was by Coldplay that it would be the same song we played at Kristy's memorial. It was the song Yellow.

The poems she read were brutally honest. They took me back to those first days when death is palpable - a living, breathing entity. I was inspired to sit down and write about how I felt. It has now been over a year since Kristy's death and I have learned to control my grief so I can function. Nevertheless I felt I needed to write something that bears more of my soul and my struggle to survive.

Today I sat down and wrote 6 poems. I did not stop to search for the right word. They were right there on the tip of my tongue. This was the first:


He was not wanted nor was he invited
You must bow to me now he said
I will never leave you alone
I will always be with you
And with that
the world changed

There was no discussion
There was no argument
At first a tightening grip
You think it hurts now?
It has only just begun

I am on your right hand
I am in your left ear
I have taken over your heart
I will live within your eyes
I will be your next breath

You are mine and I am yours
When you weep I am your tears
When you scream I am your voice
When you sleep I am your dream
And when you wake I am your love

I have taken that which you cherished
I own that part of you
You can look the other way
But I know no boundaries
There is no end to my desire

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


At the lake yesterday I ran and thought of you. Each place I passed a landmark of past treasures. When I relived them it made me smile. I hope to do the same today.

dappled sunlight
like birds in flight
polka dots
green and gold
green and gold

is it safe I asked
of course you replied
your smile like a rock
a cloud, a river

severed thoughts
fragmented time
i feel your love
an expanding embrace
within and without

heart like the sky
blind and tender
a flapping of wings
and a perpetual song

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Almost out of the sky, half of the moon
anchors between two mountains.
Turning, wandering night, the digger of eyes.
Let's see how many stars are smashed in the pool.

It makes a cross of mourning between my eyes,
and runs away.
Forge of blue metals, nights of still combats,
my heart revolves like a crazy wheel.
Girl who have come from so far, been brought from so far,
sometimes your glance flashes out under the sky,
you cross above my heart without stopping.
Wind from the tombs carries off, wrecks, scatters your sleepy root.

The big trees on the other side of her, uprooted.
But you, cloudless girl, question of smoke, corn tassel.
You were what the wind was making with illuminated leaves.
Behind the nocturnal mountains, white lily of conflagration,
ah, I can say nothing! You were made of everything.

Longing that sliced my breast into pieces,
it is time to take another road, on which she does not smile.

Storm that buried the bells, muddy swirl of torments,
why touch her now, why make her sad.

Oh to follow the road that leads away from everything,
without anguish, death, winter waiting along it
with their eyes open through the dew.

Almost Out of the Sky by Pablo Neruda


Kristy told me not too long ago that I should read Alfred Lansing's book "Endurance". I finished it a few days ago - I could not put it down! This is the true story of Ernest Shackleton's incredible 1914 voyage through the Antarctic Ocean. It is a story so full of seemingly insurmountable obstacles that you cannot help but feel the agony of those who battled the ice and wind for 10 months while being stranded in an ocean of frozen bergs. The whole journey lasted a year and is pieced together from the logs of the men who were there. This book was written in 1959 which allowed the author to interview all the surviving members. What I read made me realize we are capable of super human feats when when we feel there is no other choice.

Kristy knew about pain and endurance. She talked about how she liked it when the pain came so she could enjoy the challenge of riding it through. She wanted to push her body to the brink of what it was capable of and then keep going. She loved this book - and I'll admit I did too. I even took it to the gym with me and read it while on the bike. I just couldn't put it down!

Endurance. Don't give up. I could feel this message from Kristy loud and clear. And I won't give up. I will keep on. I will face the wind and the rain, the pain and the heartache and I will keep going. Somewhere out there Kristy knows and she is cheering me on. At least her spirit is because it can never die. It is alive in me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Kristy 2008

Kristy told me about this incident the day it happened. She must have sat down and written this poem shortly afterwards. She didn't show her emotions easily but nevertheless her feelings ran deep. Although sometimes disappointed in love I know she was also transformed by it. In her own words she said she knew there were others who were "made from the same piece of soul".

Did you see me?
Did you know I was there?
That military stance is seared into my head.
A still portrait.
I don't know what I saw before or after.
Your heels together
toes outward for support.
Slender ankles
You have lost your softness.
Your many earrings
and the new darkness of your hair.
Her expectant face turned upward towards you
hanging in an eternal joke

I was fifteen feet from you!
Fifteen feet.
There's a world somewhere
a justice too
Where I could walk to you
Move slowly to your ear
and tell you you're with me everyday.
That I love you.

I can only say before I forget
like any intense emotion
that seeing you jolted me so entirely
I became senseless to time,
etiquette, place, myself.
For that period of time, I was so
close to you that I felt as though I was
in your heart, in your burgundy shoes
and the warmth of your browned skin
was my own.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



Your breast is enough for my heart,
and my wings for your freedom.
What was sleeping above your soul will rise
out of my mouth to heaven.

In you is the illusion of each day.
You arrive like the dew to the cupped flowers.
You undermine the horizon with your absence.
Eternally in flight like the wave.

I have said that you sang in the wind
like the pines and like the masts.
Like them you are tall and taciturn,
and you are sad, all at once, like a voyage.

You gather things to you like an old road.
You are peopled with echoes and nostalgic voices.
I awoke and at times birds fled and migrated
that had been sleeping in your soul.

--Pablo Neruda

You are with me today as always.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


More of Kristy's earlier prose (are you listening Sonya?)

By what right was sin defined?
Is it not a greater sin to be bound without feeling.
Than to be true to the blessed innocence of passion?
They have passed through ages without question
Tradition has sealed their fate.
Their sightless eyes hold only an accusatory stare
Their tombs await their wasted bodies
The same bodies they sacrificed
for the imagined salvation of their souls.
their bland devotion to the truths their fathers laid before them
Will eradicate their ability of independent thought.
The path they have tread is deeply worn,.
No deviation is permitted.
The tomb they have decayed in will be passed,
like their traditions, to those who learn to stifle their questions.

(My interpretation of the mentality of the community in which Hester and Dimmesdale live) Kristy Gough, 1994

Friday, July 3, 2009


Kristy's English teacher was not amused by this poem. Needless to say, Kristy was not too amused by Math. One thing about Kristy - when she didn't like something she was the first to tell you. And if she didn't tell you then you were really in trouble!

Brick by brick, it's layered high
Equations, radicals to the sky.
An unmovable wall made of shit
The wall surrounds and becomes a pit.

I claw and claw at the crud,
and soon my hands are a mass of blood.
But I am not the first I know.
I watch the heap of corpses grow.

My brain is sore, my limbs are weak
Never will I each that peak.
The clouds have gathered, dark and gray
I will not reach the end of day.

They burst open and begin to pour
The blood of those who died before.
It tinkles down this wall of shit.
Into my personal, hellish pit.
The walls collapse, the worms are free,
To take this pain away from me.

Kristy Gough - 1994

Thursday, July 2, 2009


The winners - Clas and Kristy 2004

It's becoming harder,
at first I just desired him,
wanted him,
wanted him to desire me
appreciated that he could appreciate me
loved that he could love me.

Then it traversed my expansive ego.
Now his words trigger my thoughts,
my feelings, my tears.
He must be happy
I can say truthfully, that
he was made to be happy and content.
It would break my heart to think that
he does not love me with the same
wonder and familiarity that I love him.

I'm happy with the syrupy sweet sadness.

He's so like me - from a different time and
a different place - our nature's are so similar.
As I sit here I still believe the words he told me
with that look of deadly earnest.
You can have what you want.
It's so hard to do right by him, and
I can feel the time when I must begin
drawing myself together.

by Kristy Gough

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Kristy's brother Gabe

What of buildings and corporations and bosses?
They elicited no respect from me
I saw greater possibilities in life
Than they in their vaults of forged security.
they required that I sacrifice my natural freedom
To enjoy the comradeship of their ranks.
They prod and poke at a diseased heart
in hopes of implanting obligation,
the ruiner of men.

Don't misunderstand me-
I am not the messiah of an unacheivable morality.
I was a man, and a mouse,
There was nothing noteworth in my existence.
Except that I questioned.

It is beyond humans to change fundamentally
in time that can be passed in a handful of lives.
I can only hope that my optimistic pessimisn
will be captured by another mind, in a time more forgiving.
I don't claim any false pretenses to having suffered
in the name of my principles.
I cannot lament what had no substance to be abused.

My life was a nameless speck,
created in the interest of continuation.
There was no weightly meaning to it.
I was created and proceeded to decay.
I saw what little there was to see,
And nothing more.

(In the style of Biff Loman, a character in Death of a Salesman)

by Kristy Gough 1994

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Girl lithe and tawny, the sun that forms
the fruits, that plumps the grains, that curls seaweeds
filled your body with joy, and your luminous eyes
and your mouth that was the smile of the water.

A black yearning sun is braided into the strands
of your black name, when you stretch your arms.
You play with the sun as with a little brook
and it leaves two dark pools in your eyes.

Girl lithe and tawny, nothing draws me towards you.
Everything bears me farther away, as though you were noon.
You are the frenzied youth of the bee,
the drunkenness of the wave, the power of the wheat-ear.

My somber heart searches for you, nevertheless,
and I love your joyful body, your slender and flowing voice.
Dark butterfly, sweet and definitive
like the wheat-field and the sun, the poppy and the water.

Pablo Neruda

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Kristy was one who was very concerned about what the world was coming to. She hated pollution, she always recycled, and she bought second hand items all the time. Whenever something was not needed she would simply put it in the front yard with a sign on it that said "free". She gave away lots of things this way!

She embraced Obama, although she did not live long enough to see him voted into office. But she did vote for him in the primary. For as long as I can remember Kristy always tried to leave a small footprint. She did not waste and she did not want. She wrote the following:

Most of us yearn for a simpler life. We try to compensate ourselves by taking up gardening, or we take the family camping, all the while wishing that these things were not hobbies and distractions, but the core of our lives. It borders on irony that these feelings exist in almost exactly the same form, if not with more vigor and enthusiasm, than they did over a century ago. It is a lesson in history brought to life.

Just because there is dissatisfaction, there is no reason to believe there will be action. We hear of it historically all the time, we wonder why no one did anything to change the environment; but nothing brings it home like when its happening in our own time.

Who knows, perhaps when our time becomes a "creed outworn", it may be a historical quandary why we let rampant industrialization take over our lives and environments. More likely, this time will be looked back upon with envy, compared to what our future may hold.

Kristy Gough 2000

And she was so right.....

Saturday, June 27, 2009


On June 21 a group of cyclists, including Kristy's team from Third Pillar, rode a portion of the route Kristy took on the day she and Matt Peterson were killed. They asked me to ride with them and I did. Click on the above title to see a short video of the ride. The link will direct you to the Mercury News video web page, where you can pick out the video entitled "Memorial Ride".