Five years

Raindrops You took your last breath five years ago today. I'm finding it really hard to get my head around the timescale – five years! – but so much has happened in that time, it makes sense it's been that long, i guess. Your death set me off on a path i never imagined i would take; it took a few years to find my feet again, but once I did the healing began in earnest. There were many gifts in our relationship, but it's my relationship with you since you passed that has brought the most treasures; I never imagined that could be possible, either, but it is true.

Your death has taught me how to feel empathy for another's pain. I learned how to sit with my own pain and breathe my way through it. I learned how to uncover all the shit i had held so close to me, and to unpick it, and heal it, and let it go. I unravelled all the knots in my past, and i wove a new story, one that has the real me at the heart of, and not my neediness or my shame or my insecurity. I found myself, and i learned to love the less-than-perfect bits, of which there are many. I opened myself to my creativity again, and discovered that the words and images had been inside me all along, just waiting for their day in the sunshine. I followed my newly-mended heart and found a way to support myself doing work that excites me and helps others – that has been such a gift and i know you'd be proud of me, though i'm sure you'd think the concept of Unravelling was rather hippy and too touchy-feely for you :) And any day now I will become an auntie – can you believe it?

I don't think a relationship like ours – one of such intensity and passion – could have lasted and i have a feeling it would have burnt itself out by now. But who knows? I couldn't understand why you died – no one in that situation can, but it was so sudden, so shocking, i couldn't accept it; and yet here i am, with all that is around me and all that is ahead of me, and i can't help feeling it was supposed to be this way. And admitting that no longer feels like a betrayal of you and your life. I have integrated your death in my own life, and i have healed and moved forward, inch by inch, until i am now far enough away from the blast to be able to find gratitude for the journey i have been on. The journey that continues until we meet again.

I miss you. x

Edited to add: he was an old rocker and a big Kings of Leon fan, so i know he's gutted he's missed their new albums. If we all play this song, maybe it will be loud enough to reach him. Thank you.

72 responses
  1. suzie

    that is so moving……you are an incredible woman, and he would be so proud of you.

  2. kristen

    this is truly, one of the most beautiful posts i’ve ever read. bittersweet and hopeful and a real tribute to the man you loved. and as a big kings of leon fan, i’ll blast my favorites LOUD in his honor. xx

  3. bella

    I’m playing the song for you and for him. Sending you big warm hugs, and thank you for sharing your story. You are brave. You are strong. You are loved. xo

  4. Stacy

    Wonderfully said… you do him proud.

  5. Christine


  6. Miss Isabell

    This is moving and powerful. You are amazing, thank you for be willing to heal and sharing the process with all of us. xo

  7. Roger's Place in Cyberspace

    I can’t think of much to say beyond what has been said above…except to say that my heart feels for you.
    I have featured your post in my site today…I hope that is OK. And I have put your site on my blogroll.

  8. annemarie

    Wow it takes a lot of courage to see the beauty in something so sad. I am in awe of the journey you have been on and am sending you much strength on this anniversary day.

  9. Shanon

    It’s 8:20am in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Revelry is playing here for him… and for you. Love lives on.

  10. Neilochka

    xoxo. I remember when this blog was mostly about your sorrow. Five Years changes things, but not everything.

  11. doorways traveler

    loving you big.

  12. Sauntering Soul

    I agree with Kristen – this is one of the most beautiful posts I’ve ever read as well. I know you feel fortunate that you got to share even a bit of time with him, but you must know that he was every bit as fortunate to have you.

  13. sarah

    This is so beautiful and touching.

  14. Betty

    I just happened to end my blog visiting here today, in a new place. And have felt intensity. And I’m playing it loud.

  15. Cassie

    Revelry, by Kings of Leon. Now playing from Miami, Florida.
    Beautiful, genuine post. Your truth sounds loudly.

  16. Wahinelei

    I am on my journey and trying to find the other side. My love passed away over two years ago and I still feel the darkness surrounding me whenever I think him. It’s still so painful that he is not here with me or the kids. Will I find peace again? I hope that at the five year anniversary I will be able to look back and be thankful for the journey. Thank you sharing your story and yourself.
    BTW – I am a first time visitor to your blog and found you from A Creative Mint. I look forward to reading your earlier posts and getting to know more about you.

  17. Jadyn

    Incredibly touching. It’s truly inspiring to see someone go through what you’ve been through and come out stronger and giving back to others in a very real way.

  18. stacy

    loving you… xo

  19. Ren

    Wow. Today is one week since Uncle Joe passed. I am burning a candle for him and I played the song for your him.

  20. rikrak

    you’re wonderful.
    your words are always a help to others, too.
    thinking of you.

  21. Rachel B.

    It takes so much courage to put yourself out here like this. Thank you for inspiring so many of us to get in touch with who we really are. I admire you and your strength. You’re an amazing woman. I’m playing the song, playing it loud, my children and I are dancing – I’m honoring his memory with you.

  22. carla white

    This experience has unravelled you. It has unravelled us. Whatever the two of you had, it’s still going strong through all the lives you touch. It will never die. xxx

  23. Jan

    It’s amazing what life does to us, it’s twists and turns. Thanks for being so brave to share yours. Your story is so heartwarming; and yes I think he is looking down and is so proud of you.

  24. catheroo

    You write so beautifully. I love the truth in your words and thank you for sharing them with us.
    Playing Kings of Leon in California.

  25. Elle

    Wow Susannah. I shed a little tear reading this. This day must be so hard for you, but you’ve come so so far and discovered incredible strength.
    I know he would be very proud of you.
    This was such a beautiful post. You are so honest and inspiring to everyone around you.
    I lost someone very close to me just over three years ago and Unravelling is one of the ways I’ve helped myself come to terms with that. I owe you so much because of this!!
    Elle x

  26. Bea

    Tears at 6:44AM reading this. Kings of Leon is cranked LOUD on my headphones.
    I am in awe of you, your strength, your vulnerability. Out of this loss, you have discovered your incredible gift for guiding others toward wholeness. You’ve healed thousands of us, and will heal thousands more.
    I am so grateful for everything you’ve shared here over the years. I am so grateful for YOU. I love you.

  27. jeanine

    oh beautiful you. you have me crying at work. kings of leon blasting over here in montreal and giant hugs flying your way. xo

  28. Rae

    Beautiful! Playing Kings of Leon as loud as I can here in Utah.

  29. Lula

    So close and so far … those are the words that come to my mind after reading your beautiful post.
    I´m glad you are rocking the world now :)
    Lot of virtual hugs,
    unraveller Lucia

  30. Niki Jackson

    Wow that was so heartfelt, inspiring, moving and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. Love Niki xx

  31. amy

    such moving, wonderful words. thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. it has taught me a lot. take care.

  32. elizabeth

    you are not weeping alone. playing your song in his memory. thank you for sharing your story. it is your uncovered strength that reigns now.

  33. fresh365

    What an amazing, heartfelt post. Beautiful.

  34. Wendy

    It has been 11 years for me. It was at about the 5 year mark that I knew I’d be OK…but it has been an incredibly difficult road for the kids who were at the incredibly difficult ages (19, 16, and 13) for losing their larger-than-life father. It’s so much easier for me to look back and see the light along with the dark than it is for them. However, we are together…we love each other…and we lovingly remember him. A blessed journey to you!

  35. kathleen

    This is so beautifully written, so honest. Thank you for sharing your story x

  36. Tor

    I’ve never associated melancholy with the Kings Of Leon… until just then when I hit play after reading your post. Phew *wipes tear from eye* how did that wave of emotion wash over me?!

  37. Renee

    very honoring of him. you. very big sigh. hug to you and to him in whatever way that sort of thing travels.

  38. Irene

    ‘Revelry’ playing and the Kings of Leon dancing in the streets of Amsterdam.
    You’re such a strong woman. I admire you!

  39. charmaine | the delicious home

    What a healing letter, Susannah. I can feel you inhaling and exhaling with gratitude.

  40. kerin rose

    Oh, Kings of Leon blasting in Vermont, too…..
    the Universe is holding you, Susannah

  41. Brooke


  42. Just Me

    Unbelievably heartfelt and touching post. For as much courage as it must take to share this I can only imagine the courage you must have needed for the past 5 years. I don’t even know you and I’m proud of you so I’m sure he must be proud.

  43. Lisa

    Beautiful and honest. My tears are of empathy and my desires for continued (albeit sometimes broken) peace for all of us who have felt loss in this way.
    I choke as I breathe yet I still smile because I feel that acceptance that is no longer a betrayal – that life can be (and is indeed) beautiful even with pain oozing through it.
    Thank you for sharing this and opening your heart. May Many, many blessings find their way into your soul.

  44. Marianne @ Zen Peacekeeping

    I am so grateful to know you, to have been given the gift of learning from you in your courage and honesty and in all your gorgeous, beautiful reality – and the gift of learning from you these past four years.

  45. Michelle

    I just played the song for him and for you. It brought tears to my eyes. There is hope the voice of your words and your song. <3
    Your blog journey is very touching and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  46. Alison


  47. Kristen Timmers

    Tears running down my face. You made me realize that the reason I am not stressed about my husband being terminally ill is, because I know. I can’t imagine what it must have been like, not knowing it was coming. You’re so brave, and such an inspiration. The journey you’ve taken these last five years has led you to share so much with so many. You’re a very special person. Kings of Leon is usually playing, but tonight it’s blasting top volume and my kidlets and dancing and singing along! xoxo from California.

  48. Roxanne

    And so it is that death becomes woven into the fabric of our existence. Bittersweet. My 10 year old son died over 10 years ago, and in the wake of his death all I could do is wish for my own. All these years later, I can see how his death fuelled my life, provided direction, of sorts. Five years ~ that’s an unforgettable landmark. You remind me that the possibility and the capacity for survival resides within me. Believe it or not, many times I tend to forget.
    It hasn’t escaped me that you are reflecting on a life that’s ended, whilst anticipating a life that’s about to begin. The circle of life frequently weaves itself in this way, doesn’t it? Wishing you peace.

  49. mau

    a big hug to you, just because i can’t find the words to tell you how much i feel for you and also how happy i am for you to have reached the point you have. i just realised that the worst day of your life was also the best of mine.i became a mother on that day. my daughter turned 5 yesterday and she too, with the complicated story that led to her existence changed the course of my life. keep inspiring the people around you.the world needs more people like you. x

  50. margie

    i lost my husband eleven years ago. my four children and i struggled and yet managed to pull ourselves out of the hole of grief. this year, my youngest is now 20, i can finally see the healing. i am in a relationship, my children are happy for me, and yet my heart hurts. i don’t expect that hurt to go away and if it did, i would look for it.

  51. The Design Notebook

    One of the most touching and honest love letters I’ve ever read…

  52. Joanne

    A very beautiful post, and such a tribute to living, growing, our experiences becoming such a part of us. It’s amazing the way such events inspire us to see the wider picture in so many ways. I clicked over from Char’s today, and enjoyed your words.

  53. Fiona

    This post shows your strength and courage and why it was a joy to unravel with you. Thinking of you today.

  54. Rachel

    Beautiful, truly moving :)

  55. Shell

    I know he is proud of you and how you have recreated your life.

  56. Karen D

    thanks for sharing this journey with us.. Hugs to you

  57. Shannan - Original Bliss

    Stunningly beautiful post. I am touched beyond words.

  58. One_day_soon


  59. Cinnibonbon

    I played your song for him. And again
    your blog has brought me to tears. You my dear are such an amazing woman, your words and eloquence are very touching and so deep that so many of us can not help but be affected by them and the love you feel for your partner. I can not pretend to have ever felt such a pain or loss, but I can tell you that I feel the intensity in which you write your words…Stunning!

  60. Laura Fragiacomo

    Thanks for sharing. After losing my mother suddenly and tragically I see life more clearly and intensely, through the pain….I can relate to your feelings…

  61. Chris

    Gorgeous, Susannah. As usual. As always.

  62. Jamie

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

  63. Megan

    I’m very thankful that you share not only inspirational words and creations, but also reflections such as these because I can deeply empathize… my best friend died suddenly three years ago, creating a wound in my heart that will never heal. All I can do is think of him fondly, write, scrapbook, keep his memory and spirit alive. As I shared in a recent blog post, this quote (from “Church of the Dog” really resonates with me about loss; the character is at the Grand Canyon which he visits every year on the anniversary of his brother’s death:
    A canyon is like a giant wound formed from the natural cycles of life, and what I find comforting about being here is people’s acceptance of it. No one sits here and tells the Earth that time will heal this wound, and no one calls the processes that created it “tragic.” No one expects the Earth here to be like it was before the river cut the canyon. People just leave it alone and find the beauty in it as it is.
    Again, as always, thank you for sharing.

  64. AundriaB

    Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable part of your heart and journey through grief. Words cannot begin to describe how powerful this is. Bless You.

  65. Sally

    Out of the depth of such grief came such a beautiful light, you…

  66. michelle

    susannah, this is so moving. i just came out of a relationship, and even though i can by no means compare it to a death of a lover, the feeling is similar. loss is a very hard thing to cope with and journey through. i can’t wait to come out of this and feel strong again…thanks for sharing this.

  67. Jenelle Matson

    I am sure you have heard it many times before, but maybe today you haven’t…you are an encouragement.

    I found your blog a year ago and really enjoyed your writing; three months ago I tragically lost my 51 yr old father (a best friend) and I have found a whole new appreciation behind your words.

    I hope five years later, these are the kind of thoughts I can put to paper (right now its just a blubbering blurry mess). But I read these words and I find hope…what better gift to give?! You give hope!

    Thank you…

  68. jane

    this love reaches through time and space…

  69. suzanne

    Those words are awesome Susannah. I’m playing your song now. Here’s to your ‘old rocker’…

  70. Sierra

    Hi Sus – I wondered what happened with your love after our most recent Unravelling and this answered my questions. Thank you for your honesty and I’m so sorry for your loss and hurt. Glad you were able to move on – I too had a deep and passionate love that did not pass away, but I had to let go of. I know what you mean about relationships like that being hard to last – there is so much passion that you can’t keep up with it! Thinking of you and congrats on sending your manuscript!

  71. Marija

    I can feel everything from here regardless of time and space. I cannot gather enough words to express how moved I am, how the words are filled with oceans and oceans of meaning that we could all drown in in order to, ironically save ourselves. Your existence gives me hope.

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