13 Comments

Writing as Therapy

I’d like to forget the day (but I can’t) not the person (which I won’t).  Exactly four years ago today, February 29, 2008, this world became poorer for the loss of Gregory John Aucott.  He was a raucous individual who would suddenly blow in and out of your day with the strength of a tornado.  He had a sharp wit and often played the tough guy—stubborn, bullheaded, and strongly opinionated.  If you looked hard enough, though, you could find the tail-wagging puppy dog lurking underneath.  Despite the blustery facade, he was one of the most caring and compassionate people I knew, always first in line to lend a helping hand.

Ashleigh Aucott Furcron and Greg Aucott

A day at the beach with Greg Aucott and his daughter Ashleigh

We lost Greg to suicide.  His abundant goodwill, outrageous sense of humor, fierce love for his children and partner, and a strong sense of duty could not compete with the darker forces tugging at his ankles, pulling him deeper and deeper into the pit that he simply could not claw his way out of.

We didn’t see the signs, we didn’t quite hear a call for help.  He was much too proud to ask for help.  He was all about that whole “it is more blessed to give than to receive” idea.  So when word came that he was gone, it seemed too impossible to believe.

Greg was my brother-in-law, my wife’s brother. Many were deeply affected by his passing.  The entire first year without Greg was an emotionally charged one for me; filled with grief, anger, and guilt all rolled up into a sticky, messy ball.

Toward the end of that first year I found myself still wrestling with the loss.  One of the things I did to help myself cope was to write.  I don’t consider myself a poet.  I know little about poetry and rarely try my hand at it but in 2009, a ragged string of words tumbled out of me and I wrote them down.  I don’t know if the poem is good or bad and frankly I don’t care.  I do know that it helped me.  Today, as a small way of honoring the memory of Greg Aucott, I would like to share those words for the first time.  We miss you Greg…

The Visitor

By Andrew H. Black  

You came to us
A year or so ago.
Unannounced and
Uninvited.
A vile, black, and twisted
Thing—
Greasy, coarse, and vulgar.
You slipped briefly
Among us and
On your way out
Pocketed the one thing
Most precious and
Cherished
Leaving only an
Empty and hollow
Space.

To look upon that place
Marked only by dust
And memory
Still brings tears that
Sting and spring
Unexpectedly
Standing momentarily
On the edge
Bathing the world
In that flat grey light
Of grief
Before brimming over
And wending
Earthward.

Your visit
Has left us
Incomplete.

Nights descend darker,
Days dawn dimmer,
Color and song is duller.
We walk slower,
Laugh with reserve,
Wound easier.

You came to us
A year ago
Or so.
Uninvited.
Unannounced.
You arrived
Without warning
In winter and spread
Your brand of bleakness
And blackness
Pausing
Only long enough
To grab your prize,
To take that
Which did not
Belong to you.

The noise and bluster
Is gone.
The familiar storm
No longer blows.
The winds are
Silent.
There is only a chill
Only a flat echo
That bounces dimly
Around that
Empty place.
An echo perceived,
But no longer quite
Heard.

Your visit
Was not one
Welcomed.

You left us scratched
And clawed,
Bent and broken,
Lost and lonely.
It is too quiet,
Too still.

You came
Nearly a year ago
Or there about.
Unwanted.
Unexpected.
Everything spoiled
Beneath your touch.
Everything withered
Under your breath.
We cowered from
Your hot stare.
And then
You were gone.
But in your wake
You left us
Nothing but pain.

Do not come knocking
Or present your card.
We will shutter
Our hearts and houses
Against you.
We will
Bar the door,
Light the hearth,
Leave the phone
Unanswered.
We want to have
Nothing of you
Or your
Ilk.

Your visit
Has left us
Cold.

Your voice
Was not a comfort.
Your words troubled.
Keep your distance,
Oh, Death.
Do not call again.

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13 comments on “Writing as Therapy

  1. This is so eloquent and sad. Ed and I will never forget this day four years ago . . . we miss Greg still.

  2. Thank you Andy for putting our feelings in such beautiful words. Sam and I miss Greg and are constantly given loving reminders of him. In his loving spirit he gifted us all with each other. May he rest in peace.

  3. Thanks for this Andy. I am so sorry for everybody. I cannot imagine how much he is missed by those who had him on a daily basis. Freaking pride…

  4. Well done Andy. Thanks for that.

    Such a loss for all of us…………………….Damn it!

  5. Thank you. Thank you for your words. And thank you for sharing on a topic that many choose not to deal with. My heart is with you, your family, and Greg’s friends on this day of reflection and memory.

  6. My brother, Tim, committed suicide in 2008. It’ll be four years in July. Suicide is a huge issue, and the more we talk about it, bring it into the light, the more likely it will be that those struggling with the thought to end their own life will get help before taking action.

    • Jennifer–
      I was not aware that you had lost your brother. You are absolutely right that we need to stop being embarrassed to use the word suicide and do what we can to help others know that there are alternatives to what may seem like the only way out. We know precisely what you went through four years ago and every day after that. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  7. I missed Greg a great deal in all the years that passed and we never spoke again.For many years I dreamed often of reaching out to Greg and wondering if we would be receptive.He and I were once brother’s and never imagined that anything would ever come between us.Now I know that when Greg came to me in my dreams he was reaching out to me……a little uneasy now it all makes sense. …Greg was gone and wanted me to know….rip ol friend…I love you 88

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