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, 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