28 Comments
author

A very moving tribute to the house, and a masterful piece of storytelling about your life there and your first marriage. I'm sorry for the long years of silence, the hurt, the loss . . . but it's wonderful how your strength shines through in this piece, and I love that you already had your happy ending before you needed to go back to that house. I'm sharing this piece with several friends who will see themselves in it (we are never as alone as we think...). Thank you for writing this!

Expand full comment
author

“We are never as alone as we think.” If there’s one thing I have learned the past few years, it’s that. It’s an incredible treatment for pain, just finding out that you were never actually alone. Thank you so much, Kathryn.

Expand full comment
author

my god, Tonya. where to start? your writing is brilliant as always. but, it is what is behind the words that haunt me. I tried several times to express my thoughts on this piece, but words fail me. I will leave it with this...I am in awe of you, on so many levels.

Expand full comment
author

Not sure a "thank you" is enough in this case. I'm so grateful to have you as a friend and as a reader, Tabby.

Expand full comment
author

A nice story that confirms that we are all just ghosts before the fall. It feels like this writing brought some well-earned peace of mind.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks, Anthony.

Expand full comment
author

This story fills a lot of holes in the stories both you and he wrote about the past few years. His time in the hospital, his family, all that pain splashed on to you and now the story of how you endured it. Where did that strength come from to be so alone and hang in there for so long. The house certainly was the companion of your sorrow and pain. You've captured a heartbreaking story here, Tonya. The days of his zombie negligence of your presence. Again, where did you strength come from. My God!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks, Sue. I never quite know what to say when friends tell me I've shown strength over the years. It never feels like strength when you're doing it. It's just waking up and getting through the day, and trying to carve out a place for yourself. It is strange, though, when you set down the heavy load, you do suddenly realize how easy it is to live. It makes life feel miraculous, just the ease of it. And the pleasure of friends. Thank you so much for being a friend, Sue.

Expand full comment
author
Jun 3·edited Jun 3Author

My pleasure. I just hope I don't sound like an old crone throwing out unwanted "wisdom." Good grief! But now you're free and living a grand life. It's been a pleasure to watch you grow out of this whole experience.

Expand full comment

Wow, I couldn't stop reading. What evocative writing. Knowing the basic story line, going back and forth in time, I love the image of you, Paul and little Santo on the beach in Florida. Thanks Tonya.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you, Nina!

Expand full comment
founding
Jun 3Liked by Charles M Pepiton, Tonya Morton

I was recently asked by some young nieces/nephews whether I believed in ghosts, and I gave them my standard "No, but I believe there are many things I could be wrong about, and this is one of them." Reading your story reminded me that maybe the better answer is that the actual lived-reality of whether there are entities that are ghosts is much less important than the ghosts that are the things we hold, in places, and ideas, and memories. Our ghosts, so to speak, which are really the things that matter.

Expand full comment
author

I love the way you phrased that, Steven. "the ghosts in the things we hold, in places, and ideas, and memories." We each make our own ghosts, and leave them, and sometimes stumble across them again. And I like the way you left that question with your nieces and nephews. They have time to see what ghosts life will bring them.

Expand full comment
Jun 3Liked by Tonya Morton

You confirmed what I had feared about his sudden demise... although now I realize it wasn't sudden at all. I'm so sorry for his pain and all of you involved. Your writing is beautiful.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you for the kind words, Karen.

Expand full comment
Jun 3Liked by Tonya Morton, Kathryn Reiss

What a haunting & beautiful story, Tonya...I love how you framed it with warm human conversations on either end. & I too appreciate Paul's assessment of the redemptive care you brought to the Kansas home. Now you have a life of sunshine, meandering city walks, discovered bookshops & love.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks so much, Ellen! And thanks for being a big part of the life of sunshine, walks and bookstores too.

Expand full comment
Jun 3Liked by Tonya Morton

It's beyond a pleasure, Tonya!!

Expand full comment
Jul 9Liked by Tonya Morton

I had been following the Zephyr for a short time and found you through a link there. Its so sad (depression and mental illness are so prevalent anymore) but I am happy that you found joy again. Thank you for sharing a very painful part of your life.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you, Shannon

Expand full comment
Jul 3Liked by Tonya Morton

Beautiful story of difficult times. A new perspective . Another puzzle in life's picture for those who seek to understand.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you so much, Monika.

Expand full comment
Jun 8Liked by Tonya Morton

Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story in such a masterful way…you are excellent at your craft and I will take this with me till I leave my house: “We don’t always get to choose our last times.” Thank you…MP

Expand full comment
author

Thank you, Michael.

Expand full comment
Jun 7Liked by Tonya Morton

Everything that Kathryn said. There was a point in the middle where I started to think, maybe this was fiction. But no, it’s just an incredible recounting of a phase in your life.

Thank you for having the courage to share this with us. It deepened my day.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you so much, Fran.

Expand full comment
Jun 3Liked by Tonya Morton

I wondered when or if you could bring yourself to writing about this subject, Tonya, I knew it would not be easy, and it is apparent that it was difficult. But it was brave of you to take it up. Thank you. There were several clues to things I had guessed, or guessed wrongly. Blessings on you for the solemn effort.

I do believe in ghosts. I believe human sorrow is just powerful enough to leave remnants in time. But the remnants wear away and pass on eventually. We are only humans, after all.

May your haunts move on, with time. You deserve a next chapter.

Expand full comment
author

I tend to agree with you, that human sorrow is powerful enough to leave something behind. It isn't the only mark we leave, but it can certainly stain a place, and stain other people, for a while. You're right, though--it's all temporary. Everything about us is temporary.

Joy is another emotion that leaves its imprint in time and space. I've had some true joy in the past few years. I'm doing alright. I hope you're doing well these days too. Drop me a note sometime and update me.

Expand full comment