Burning House

I came back home on New Year's Day. And I realized, after some cleaning up and walking around: this isn't home anymore. 

I had been visiting family over the holidays, then staying with friends, then finally I had to come back here. And sure, it looks nice. It is full of my stuff. And it is full of him. My missing husband. The empty hole in my life. 

This house is full of everything that will never happen. It's surrounded by a garden he will never see bloom. Its bedrooms contain children that are growing and outgrowing everything and learning things that he won't teach them. It has a queen sized bed with an incurable divot from where he sat, awake in the middle of the night, plagued with worry and illness and guilt.

I got into that bed last night, as I have done every night since losing him, alone. After some tears and some writing and finally, some sleep, I had a dream.

I dreamnt that I set a house on fire. It started with me walking into this dark house. I knew which house I needed to set on fire. And I went about it very methodically. Walking through each room and spilling lighter fluid. I took nothing with me. Walked out the front door and threw the lighter fluid back in the house behind me. The upstairs was already in flames. And I knew the fire would follow me out, but it would stop where my feet hit the ground. 

Setting this house on fire did not give me great joy. It wasn't done entirely out of anger either. It simply needed to be done, and I needed to do it. 

Later I realized that I would be caught. I tried to hide, but then realized that I couldn't. They would figure it out, and my life would get worse for a while. I'd be in jail, my kids would be without both parents for a while. And none of this was in my control. Because I couldn't NOT burn that f*cking house to the ground, and I couldn't hide either. I imagined standing before a jury of my peers and having my terrible story laid out for all to see, and owning that story, and the consequences of it, and just saying F you to the world. What else could I do? F you. F you. F you.

This morning listened to Burning House by Cam. And my heart just absolutely broke. Every single word hit me hard.

I had a dream about a burning house
You were stuck inside, couldn’t get you out
Laid beside you and I held you close
And the two of us went up in smoke
— Cam, "Burning House"


I really liked that song before Jake died, but it is a haunting song. It used to almost make me cry. Now it destroys me.

There's a few things like this that entered my life before loss, and have only just now come clearly into view. Like that feeling we had when Hillary lost the election and Kate McKinnon performed "Hallelujah" on Saturday Night Live the next week, and we were all like...WHOA...ok so THAT's what that crazy song was about. And all of its beauty and meaning just hit us.

It's like that.

In any case, I guess I'm going to be burning down a house. It's already on fire. I can't not.