I feel overmatched. I sense I have no grasp of where you are. Somehow, and not slowly, I have lost the ability to read your eyes. A while back I watched you as you gazed out into the Atlantic ocean and I wanted to know what you were thinking. You had this look, the way a child looks when daydreaming, as though the whole of life turned to fantasy. I’m not sure what to make of that, but I saw it, and I suppose I am happy for it. 

I am sitting in a nearly empty room in Brooklyn, and I don’t know how all of this is gonna come out. I will be honest, and I won’t denigrate others – I will talk about you and your life, but I’m not here to judge or answer any of your questions. I will do my best to write without concern of what others may think – of what you may think. All of this is out of my control, so I toss the demons and trust the strokes my fingers make. I will trust myself here and now – And should this river turn into a wild ocean, full of fear and distant from safety, I hope you can see the love way back at the mouth of the river. Love is how this begins, and it will be how it ends. 


I fear there are memories somewhere that I didn’t keep long enough. I know who you are; I mean, the quality of person and all. I know that you have suffered for me and fought for me. To say that I am angry would be incorrect. In fact, this isn’t really about you, insofar as how it affects me – this is about me learning how to react and handle the changes you are going through, and it hurts; this type of change sends signals to the deepest roots within a person and delivers an astonishing pain. That’s what this is; all of this living and aging, it’s all just dying and losing.

Lately, it seems I’m losing more of you than ever before, and I know it’s not coming back to me.  I need to find where I end and you begin, because I am not strong enough to take on weight that isn’t my own. I get lost because I have never had to do this. Frustration and sadness set in; at times I just want to push it all inside and pretend that you can’t affect me. Fortunately, all of the time I know where that road leads. I am not willing to push off into a forest of an ocean only to find myself lost and alone yet again. I am not willing to lose everything because this has got me sideways – this work feels like constant effort, and if that’s what it takes I am willing to work continuously.


I have a battle on my hands and I know it. Yours is a battle I cannot fight; I can imagine it is an exhausting one. There will be sadness, probably more than there is now, and that’s ok. Great sadness is the mark of a great thing being removed from this world, so it is in this sadness I turn to gratitude. Though my words here may cast shadows around my current state, there is no amount of darkness to overwhelm the brightness you have given me.

Your eyes sparkle when you hear it – you still have brightness, and it is all for other people. That is what I see these days; you still want to know how I am doing. Everything that matters in this world is happening at this moment, and you seem to have found a way to reign in moments as they come, releasing them as they go. I find that to be remarkable, and consider myself fortunate to be on the same side as you.

Out of all of this, if you are reading this, I want you to know how incredibly grateful I am for each memory stored away and each moment we have together. I hope when you sit and look out at the ocean you have some of those stored away for yourself. I wish I had what it took in the past to create positive moments, and I hope you forgive me for my detachment and selfishness. I didn’t know how to give back any of the love given to me, but I’m learning it these days. I only hope I didn’t come back to life too late for this – I hope I haven’t given an underwhelming performance.

I will continue to work towards being a better person, not just for myself but for those I impact and for those I do not know. I have found a way to connect with people and at times I feel like what I think you must have felt like, only I’m in a psychiatric unit, and you were on a stage. Still, I think the eyes looking back at us say the same thing: they all want an answer to a question that nobody has. And that is how I carry you with me – through the eyes of those looking back to me, waiting for me to say something to make them believe it can all turn around for them as it did for me.

My words are no longer backed with paper-thin defenses – and with confidence, I can tell you that I always want you to be a part of whatever I am doing. I can tell you that fear doesn’t control my life as it once did – it has been replaced with gratitude and service. And it is with gratitude and service that I hope to be useful to you in any way you may need me to be.


There is no one way to do any of this, there is only action and good direction. I have no business trying to change the landscape of the past or future; I trust the way the winds blow. I have seen too much darkness in my life not to enjoy the light, and I intend to do just that. I would never have imagined I would still be a part of all of this – that you would still have that sparkle in your eye when you hear my name. Some people change their lives because they are tired of being broke or lonely – I changed my life because I was tired of being empty and I wanted to know how to give back what was always given to me. What I have now is beyond my wildest dreams.

While your eyes may lead me to wonder and confusion at times, it is untrue to say that I have no idea where you are. As I catch a glimpse of you staring into the ocean, I may not know where you are, but I know that you have always been with me, and for the life of me I don’t know what I did to deserve so much love. I guess every dog has its day.

About the Author rhett burch

I am a writer … a sober writer … a sober writer writing about life before sobriety and life in sobriety … a sober writer writing about life before death … a sober writer writing about fear and the unbearable world it creates … a writer with stories to tell. The issues discussed herein strictly reflect my own experiences yet will still make some uncomfortable and that is by design. I am careful not to recommend or diagnose a way of living and am uninterested in telling others how to live. However, I am convinced that if the reader is honestly seeking the faults that lie within it will be easy to identify with my words and catch reflections in my experiences. What is generally hidden from others is explored openly and honestly here in an attempt to elicit the shadow out of myself and the reader. Perhaps you yourself would sooner disguise some struggle you are facing to avoid any feelings of embarrassment or shame. You may even feel you are successful at hiding certain aspects of yourself, though most likely you, like me, are far less successful at hiding your demons than you wish to believe. You may consider that when one is hidden one cannot be helped, nor can they be of use to others. Successfully keeping one’s shortcomings hidden is a self-imposed impediment to one’s growth, usefulness, and happiness. Suffering in silence only increases the suffering and confounds those who care for the sufferer; It is an unhealthy way to cope with life. I hope to show that there is no weakness in admitting and confronting one’s shortcomings. My struggle and experience are well-documented within. The more I create and write the further I trudge into my insecurities, my private life. I write candidly, honestly, and hopefully in a way that flows well and is easy for the reader to grasp. My work and understanding must be thorough or else I lose balance in life. I write to exercise and relieve my mind. I have accepted that this life is a challenge, it is difficult, and there are no maps. I have accepted that most of this world is beyond my comprehension and, even more, is out of my control. Through my essays, I hope to illustrate and investigate methods of relinquishing the human will, freeing me from self-will, and releasing the desire for control and power. Rhett Burch

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