On 21 June, I noticed a tweet by my dear Twitter pal, Tessa, that read:

“Paul’s very ill…Scared witless. Ambulances here.”

Not knowing it was the evening of her birthday, I immediately replied, sending hope that everything would be okay.

It wasn’t.

A few hours later, I was hearing the unthinkable words…

“The love of my life, one beautiful, funny, rock of a man has died.”

Since then, though we brush paths on Twitter, I observe her grief, feeling utterly helpless that, in this digital world, all we have are words. And empty words of comfort don’t do justice to a thing like this.

This is my personal attempt to imagine what it must be like to lose someone so dear – which is to say, unfathomable. It’s dedicated to Tessa, just because…I don’t know what else I can do.


Emptiness is not nothingness.
It is the absence of
That was there.
A void so great
It sucks life
Out of the air
And turns you
In. Side. Out.
Unsure, anymore
What space you occupy
What time you travel
Non-linear as the day
They left.

Black Hole

Where am I?
Who am I?
Were you even here?
And if so,
Show me the exact
Dimensions of the space
So I can stuff it full and
Shut. The. Door.

Locked Door

But no.
It’s a space where only you can go.

Never the same
For having met you.
Forever changed
Now that you’re gone.

Am I supposed to thank you?
Am I supposed to curse the day
You ever came and made a place
Where only memories
Loudly of your loss?

Time heals all
Blah blah blah
Well, fuck time.
And fuck the big bang who created it.
I’ll exist.
Right here
Beside you.
Wherever it is that you went.
Until we’re done…..

Please visit Tessa’s post on Paul, while you’re there, read the Valentine’s Day post she wrote for him last year. Send her some love…


Credit for original source images is as follows:

‘Dark tunnel – Please stay here’ by Karoly Czifra
‘Empty page’ by Shirin Winiger


  1. Catherine Johnson says

    That is so sad, Alarna. I am sure she will find comfort in your beautiful poem. You must be a bit shook up too, happening on Twitter so drastically. *hugs*

  2. says

    Alarna…how incredibly sad for your friend. I know what you mean about the limits of words at a time like this. Your poem is beautiful and powerful. It may help her to know that you are truly thinking about her; trying to imagine the depth of her loss and sorrow. Thinking about you and her…Kim

  3. says

    This is lovely, Alarna. I have never been in her place, but I think I would find a lot of comfort in the depth of friendship and sympathy you’re offering. Best wishes to all of you.


  4. says

    Hey Alarna, thank you so much – I’m enormously touched. You know, at gone 4a.m. here, back at home after the hospital, you were the first person I could think of who would (a) be up (b) be just right, so I DMd you and was glad I did. How well that poem spoke for many of the feelings I’ve been through since then.

    So a huge thank you. Had to attend another funeral today (my uncle’s). It was a humanist affair and extremely touching and I did right by going… just as Paul would have done. My uncle was another funny man with integrity and he reached 83. I reckon though Paul died at 55, he sure packed some top quality time and love in those years. 🙂 TT xxx

    • says

      Hey Tessa… What are the chances of even seeing that tweet? But I’m so glad I did. You’ve cheered me up countless times. Just one of the ways Twitter actually gives back 😉

      I was really nervous about writing this poem – what do I know about this kind of thing? But it’s been heartbreaking to feel your grief and be useless… I’d have felt better cooking you a hearty meal and taking you for a walk to see the swans along my foreshore 🙂

      55 is too young… Your strength (though I know you don’t feel it some days) is an inspiration to me, nonetheless. Sorry to hear of your uncle… 😦 xoxo

  5. says

    This was so beautiful to see how both of you felt so comfortable reaching out. I’m starting to really dislike differentiating the world into non-virtual and virtual friends because you know what— those boundaries are getting fuzzy.

    • says

      Oh, absolutely, Nina! I’m not sure we’ve even begun to grasp how this ‘virtual’ reality is changing our lives for real. But it’s been a huge eye-opener for me…blurry indeed.

  6. says

    you are such a beautiful! I read your friends post… very moving, at the end of it i felt so much love that it took it away from being a sad moment to one of deep joy. His love is still reigning ‘supreme’ and it’s strength can be felt deep in my heart. I’ve missed you! deep love to you sister… you’re warmth is so intensely divine. Have you found work… how are things panning out for you… love, love and more love to you

    • says

      Adriana! So lovely to hear from you…I’ve been wondering how you and your home renovations are going 😀 So very like you to tune in at a time like this, too – you’re such an empath 😉 I feel the same about Paul’s spirit when I read those posts. Perhaps what they say is true – love never dies.

      • says

        Oh. And to answer your question. I haven’t been looking for work…got side tracked on a video project that is progressing at a much slower pace than I would like. But I’m well, lovely. How are things for you?

  7. says

    Well Alarna, for someone who had said that words can be empty, your poem was filled to the brim with warmth and compassion. What a beautiful poem. Especially when it comes to finding the right words to say that will comfort those who grieve. Your heart bleeds with sincerity on the page, you lovely woman. 🙂

    • says

      Oh, thank you, Karen…I saw a quote the other day on Coco J Ginger’s Facebook Page…”Poetry is what happens when nothing else can” by Charles Bukowski. I think this is one of those times… Love to you.

  8. says

    Words can feel so useless when sadness like this happens, but you found beautiful ones with your poem. Grief is such a terrible and oddly comforting thing. Thanks for sharing, Alarna.

    • says

      Hey, Coleen…thanks always for your beauty and for being here. Grief being oddly comforting…I think I can see what you mean there. Something only a person who’s been through it would know…*hugs*

  9. liz says

    what a touching & heartfelt tribute… not only to your friends, but to love and life. thank you for sharing. xx

  10. I Am Jasmine Kyle says

    OH MY how distressing. You must have felt so helpless. She is very lucky to have such a friend to grieve with her.

  11. says

    Beauty in the penmanship shared, a heart felt tribute to Tessa, and her husband. Some moments in life become more challenging than others, and you just need to know your friends are there when you need them, it’s worth more than anyone can fathom.

  12. says

    Alarna~you feel too much my dear. And for sweet souls like you that can be a heavy burden. But it’s what sets you apart from others. It’s why you can make statements like you did above. Words are empty. Because you know, that most speak them reflexively, without second thought of the real pain someone is going through. Oh I know most believe that they are sincere when they say them. But I can remember at my fathers wake people coming up and saying sorry, then running to the buffet and eating while discussing a football game and laughing. So to you Alarna, the sweet soul who feel’s too much, Thank you! For it’s friends like you who truly get someone through their heartwrenching time. Someone they can relate too. That poem itself, was the best gift you could give to your friend and will let her know just how much you care for her.

    • says

      Mathair… 🙂 You understand my affliction well. I am rendered speechless far more often than I care to admit, and more times than not I think people would prefer to hear empty nothings than silence. Still, it is what it is. As one who has suffered far too much grief, your words come to me full of meaning – and I treasure that. Thank you.

  13. Deliberately Delicious says

    I’m reading your posts backward, catching up, and just read about the lovely gift from Vincent Mars. And here is a gift you’ve given, every bit as thoughtful. What a beautiful poem. Write more.

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