Thought Catalog


10 Little Things That Make Your Man Ache For You (Even When You’re Not Around)

Posted: 18 Oct 2015 01:04 PM PDT

alysha.tse
alysha.tse

Men are like the easiest, simplest creatures in the world. They pretty much have three moods: horny, sleepy and hungry. You can appeal to all of these at the same time and keep his mind (and his boner) on your beautiful mind, face and body until he gets home and gives it to you.

1. Never forget the power of a strategic sext. When my dude leaves me to go to work, I like to snap a photo of my undressed self still in bed and text it to him. I've successfully lured him back into my arms a few times with this method. Other good times to send something sexy? The 3 P.M. slump never fails.

2. A picture says 1,000 words. Cue up "I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl" and go to selfie-town. A particularly effective shot for certain men is just the top of your lacy panties, and another I've found gets great feedback is the underside of my boobs in a cropped sweater. Play around with angles and always send them his way for "critiques." No dude I know would be opposed to playing a little game of photography critic.

3. Take him online shopping with you. I've been shopping for sexy Vegas dresses for an upcoming girlfriends trip, and I like to take my dude along by running a few options past him. Then I know he's thinking about me in that tight, white bodycon dress with the super-low neckline, which makes him think about my boobs in that dress, which makes him think of taking it off me, which makes him think of sex, which makes him think about cumming all over my tits. God, men are easy.

4. Keep him going on a few social media channels. You have so many ways to contact him! To do it without being creepy, be strategic. Do you usually GChat during the day? Be a little naughty and send him a dirty message in the middle of your normal chatting. Send him an Instagram DM of your favorite lingerie or a handwritten note that says something sexy, even if it's just like "I can't wait to see you tonight" with a little winking drawing.

5. Be forthright. I've never known a dude who didn't like it when I told him via text that I'd been thinking about choking on his cock all day. Don't beat around the (LOL) bush. Say what you're thinking about in as much dirty detail as you want. Another winner? "I can't stop thinking about how you bent me over and made me scream last night."

6. Send a screenshot. A friend of mine sends her dude screenshots of the porn she's watching, which is usually hot chicks playing with themselves. It's like a naughty little look into what turns her on, which of course turns him on.

7. Steal one of his white t-shirts and then wear it at least once a week in a new, sexy manner. Like, wet in the shower. Or without pants. Send him photos of his shirt and all the adventures you two have together when he's not around.

8. Let him watch you get dressed for work in the morning. He'll think about you putting on your clothes all day, and then he'll think about taking them off that evening. Bonus points if you choose a sexy black dress or pencil skirt.

9. Using your vibrator? Make a video. Men love visual stimulation so they love any video you send. I promise. Even if it's you blowing a kiss. If you're really talented, bring the phone into the shower with you and send him a video of you soaping up.

10. If you wanna get romantic – and you should! Dudes love romance! – send him a little love letter, or a love email. A sweet "I'm thinking about you" reminder keeps you in his brain and his heart (awwww!) all day. TC mark

20 Creepy True Stories To Read In The Dark Tonight

Posted: 18 Oct 2015 09:36 AM PDT

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The man in the bunny costume

When I was younger I used to live by the woods and could see a cemetery from my back porch. One Easter I remember waking up and seeing the Easter bunny (one of those terrifying costumes) and what really gets me is I remember smelling the wet hay. When I woke up I didn’t tell anyone, but there was an extra Easter egg in my house that my parents didn’t hide. Years later when I was in high school I asked my parents if they ever dressed up like the Easter bunny and came into our room, they said they would never go through so much trouble. Then my younger sister, who I shared a bunk bed with when this happened, said she remembers when the Easter bunny came into our room and made a remark about the hay smell. I was terrified that we both remembered seeing a person dressed as a bunny in our room. To make it even stranger, I told the friends I sat with at lunch what happened. One of the girls was my neighbor across the street. She told me one Easter a long time she looked out her window during the night and saw the Easter bunny standing in her driveway. I had chills. To this day I am terrified of people in rabbit costumes.

The ghost babysitter

When my niece was really young, she was in a bouncer at my sisters house, I was house and babysitting.

I had left her to go to the kitchen to grab some water. My sisters chocolate labs were probably sniffing and licking her head because I could hear her giggling like she was having a blast. I hadn’t notice how cold it had gotten. Then I heard it. A loud wooden SNAP. Like a thick piece of wood had been snapped in half suddenly or a tree was knocked over.

I ran into the room and what I saw and smelled freaked me out. The dogs were huddled in the corner whimpering, my niece was just staring at the ceiling corner with wide eyes, and it was cold and smelled like Stetson.

I took her and we decided to go to a different room. When my sister finally came home, I told her what happened. She just rolled her eyes and said “that is Hugh.” I was confused. She said Hugh was the previous owner of the house who had died ten years before his wife sold it. She said he likes to follow my niece around and you can tell it his him because the dogs freak, it gets cold and smells like cheap cologne.

I don’t believe in that shit, but I do believe that feeling you get in your gut when something doesn’t feel right.

Stranger in the house

In college, I would go home every other weekend to work at the job I had since high school. I would drive directly from campus after my last class on Friday to my job (about an hour) and, after my shift was done, I’d go back to my parent’s house which was out in the middle of nowhere.

My parents weren’t yet home when I got back from work (they often spend their Friday and Saturday evenings drinking like they were the ones in college), so the house was dark and, since it was mid fall, so was the yard – save for the yard light. I pulled into my normal parking spot, got out of the car and then turned to open the back door of my car and get my backpack out of the back seat.

That’s when I noticed that the bathroom light was on.

Was that light on when I pulled up? It must have been, right?

As I was contemplating the light and reaching for my backpack, there was suddenly a very angry looking old woman standing in the window staring at me. We’re not talking resting bitch face here either, she was pissed off at me and I knew it.

We stood there staring at each other for a good ten seconds when my parent’s pulled into the driveway and distracted me from my stare down with the woman in the bathroom. By the time I turned back, the light was still on, but the woman was gone.

When the dead walk the halls

I used to volunteer at a nursing home where we had several instances where new residents accurately described former residents down to specific nightgowns or color of glasses who I and the staff knew had died in that room and complain about them coming into the room at night. Then once I was walking through the hallway and it was normally uncomfortably warm inside but I felt a chill and goosebumps. One of the CNAs said I had just walked through a ghost. I couldn’t get warm again for the rest of the day. There were flickering lights and tvs turning themselves on. Several of the staff were from the same southeast Asian country and they were talking about ghosts and disrespect for the dead so much that management had someone come in to do a candle light ceremony and this Lady with crystals and dreadlocks came in to do a sage brushing. Things calmed down after that. Lights stayed on better and the residents seemed calmer.

The phantom hairdryer

I was in my sophomore year of high school. I would usually get ready and then wait for my mother to drive me to school. While she was getting ready, I was just kind of hanging out in the bathroom with her while she was putting on make-up and curling her hair. She looked a little frazzled and I asked if everything was ok. She told me about a weird occurrence the night before. She told me that she had been woken up at around 2:00 by a strange noise. It wasn’t super loud, but it was pretty constant. My dad wasn’t woken up by it, though it’s not surprising as he sleeps like a log. Anyway, she starts looking for the source of the noise, first checking the bathroom attached to their room, but there isn’t anything in there.

Next, she walks out into the hall and hears the noise from the bathroom nearby. When she walks in, she sees a hairdryer plugged in and turned on, just sitting in the middle of the bath mat on the floor. She thinks it’s strange, but there are 4 kids living in the house, and she thought maybe someone had sleepwalked and turned it on. Whatever. She unplugs it and puts it away. She goes back to bed and eventually falls asleep.

About an hour later, she wakes up again, and hears the same noise. She’s kinda pissed off and goes to check it out again. Except, now the noise is from downstairs. She tracks it down into the guest bathroom in the main entry hall (my parents house has, like, 4 bathrooms). She opens the door and, again, there’s a hairdryer turned on, laying in the middle of the floor. She’s freaked out by this point, but she unplugs it and puts it away. She didn’t get a great night’s sleep after that.

So she’s telling me this story, and as soon as she comes to the conclusion, we both just freeze, and turn our heads into the walk-in closet off her bathroom. As soon as we look in there, the entire light on the ceiling shatters. Not the light bulb, but the glass cover. It shatters, sending shards of glass everywhere. Welp, we both freak and get the heck out. We didn’t know what to make of it, but we haven’t really had any experiences before or since, and none of my family have experienced anything either.

The nightmares

I was a caretaker of a small uninhabited island off the coast of Maine and my girlfriend and I started having synchronized nightmares about things that we had never discussed before. They involved very specific themes and after month of this happening we were gifted a history book of the island that had a small chapter in the back that mentioned the exact hauntings.

This is why the basement is locked

My mother was having dinner at a friends house. It was a small old cottage that’s been around for 100 years. She tries to find the bathroom and pulls on a door that is locked. The friend sees and says “Sorry that goes to the basement, the bathroom is over there.” Thinking it is odd, my mother asks why the basement door is locked. “Its always locked, in fact I don’t even have a key for it, the real estate agent advised me not to go down there as its not been upgraded like the rest of the cottage. Its little more than a root cellar.”

Fast forward a few weeks, when my mother (who works for the police department’s community division) is working on a project about the history of the police department in the town. An old man comes in with news clippings about various community events, as well as a news clipping from the 50’s about a gruesome murder. My mom was a bit taken aback. “Sorry, I forgot those clippings were in here too.” “No…I know this address, its my friends house! What happened there?” “Oh…” said the old man. “Well, that use to be my mother’s house. She had been dating this man who was cruel to her. Beat her horribly. She tried again and again to break it off with him, but he’d always come back. Finally my aunt moved in with us, and my mother finally broke up with him.” He starts getting emotional “Then one night he broke in, and tied my mother, aunt, sister, and brother up in the basement. He shot them all in front of my mother. Then he shot her, and killed himself, leaving a note that she would never leave him again. I was away at college….” He started to sob.

And that is how my mother’s friend learned she has a haunted quadruple murder-suicide scene in her basement. She moved out a year later.

The dying patient

A good friend of mine while doing his rounds as a young intern, he is now a neurosurgeon, he had just looked in on a dying patient. After making the patient comfortable, he exited the room , sat on a nearby chair to write his report. After few minutes he looked up and saw this patient walking down the hallway. He called to the woman but their was no response . As he stood up to walk after her, she disappeared. He quickly walked toward the patients room and saw a light under the door. When he opened the door, it was completely dark in the room. So he turned on the night- light, went over to the patient and felt for her pulse. She had died. He swears to this experience.

What I saw on the country road

While in University, I loved finding snakes (I was a biology student). So a friend from herpetology club showed me this road that he would “cruise” for snakes. Cruising is when you drive slowly down old back roads after dark looking for snakes that have slithered onto the warmer road to heat up. The road we took was about 4 miles and had around 4 houses on its entirety. We had taken a few laps on this road, and we were making our final pass. There are two houses near the beginning of the road, one at the end and one near the middle. We were getting close to the center house when we see movement on the left side of the road. There are a lot of animals (obviously) on this road so we aren’t surprised to see this. However what shoots out is this kid, probably around 8 or 9 in torn blue jeans and a ripped dark t shirt.

He takes one look at us, and his face is a mix of fear and pain. He looked back really quickly from where he had come out of then booked it across the road. The guy I’m with gets out of the car chasing to see if he’s alright and I pull the car up to the point where the boy went into the woods. Im starting to get out of the car when my friend walks quickly back from the trail and just says, “lets go, now!” We hop in the car and tear out of there. He says there is a grave yard about 10 yards into the woods where there are 5 grave stones with the same death date. They all had the same last name, and one was a boy who was 9. We never came back the rest of the summer to that road (we usually would go out once or twice a week).

The next year when my friend had graduated I took my girlfriend out to the road. We had gone early to try to find different types of snakes (different snakes tend to move at different points of dusk/night). We got to the house near the graveyard and theres 3 men doing some yard work. I rolled down the window explained what I was doing and asked them about the graveyard. Apparently their Dad’s brother’s family had all died when their space heater caught fire around 20 years ago. I kept pushing and asking about it, and they told me the firemen or whoever does it had found all the bodies in the rubble except for the youngest son but they assumed he was too far burned. I asked if they had a little brother, and the 6’4″ 250 pound man said he was the youngest. When I gave the description of the kid I saw and they all went white.

They all have individually seen the kid I was talking about. And he always runs to the gravesite. I have never been down that road again.

A helpful spirit

A few weeks after my mom gave birth to me she went to me in the middle of the night because i was crying, when she went in the room she saw a dark figure of a man who she thought was my dad holding me and decided to go back to sleep, in the morning she thanks my dad for taking care of me, as it turns out my dad was not even awake then and nobody else was in the apartment, gets worse later on in life not only me, but my sister, cousins and friends have all seen it somewhere in our home, all in separate accounts and we dont normally tell people about it unless they’ve seen it and it follows us wherever we move to and at this point me and my family have all learn to ignore it though we all know its there.

The fan

When I was 12, me and my mom were watching TV in her bedroom. It was one of those really stuffy summer evenings. Stating the obvious, I said aloud, “it is SO hot in here.” Immediately, the fan that was sitting on the dresser 5 feet away turned on.

The switch couldn’t really be flipped on by accident… it was pretty “sticky” and required a little bit of force to go from off to on. I can’t really explain how that happened but I like to think it was a friendly ghost.

Crying

In middle school my friend was in a church youth group and they often had these overnights at the church that he would invite me to and they were actually tons of fun. Towards the end of the night the guy who ran it (he was chill af the lord was with that guy) would let us play manhunt in the entire church area (place where actual mass was held, kitchen, rec hall, nursery, etc). We turned literally every light in the whole place and all we had were tiny flashlights. It was spooky but sooooo much fun.

One of these nights we were playing and we decided to hide in a closet in the nursery. We hid there for about 10 minutes and out of nowhere we heard a baby crying. We got spooked the fuck out and bolted out of there. In the morning we went back to the nursery to see what could have caused it, we figured it was one of those toy baby dolls that would cry but we found nothing. Still spooks me to this day but I would give anything to relive it because I love paranormal shit.

Clapping

Played piano in a dark and empty auditorium back in the day. When I was finished, someone softly clapped for me. Sort of sounded like it was coming from everywhere, but just one person. Never saw them, and the auditorium was locked except for the door I came in.

Bad connection

This was actually on Halloween morning one year. I lived in a small apartment with an open floor plan where you could see the entire apartment from the kitchen. I was in the kitchen packing my lunch to take to work when the TV turned on by itself, volume on full blast, to some static-y channel that kept cutting in and out. I was nowhere near the remote or the TV, and had no other people or animals living with me who could have done it accidentally. Probably not the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced (i’m sure there are many perfectly reasonable explanations as to how it happened), but it definitely freaked me out at the time! It had never happened before and hasn’t since.

Reflection

Creepiest thing happened a long time ago. It was mid-afternoon and I was watching a documentary in my room. At one point, I decided to turn my TV off and go do something. Upon doing so, I see in the TV a reflection of a white man in blue jeans, a plaid shirt and IIRC a Cowboy hat sitting in a chair. I was stunned at this; not only did his description not match that of the last guy I saw on TV (dude was black, in overalls and had a noticeable beard plus no hat, I think), but behind my TV was no chair, but my bed. After staring at this image for a solid 5-10 seconds, I turned around, saw nothing, turned back, and the image was gone. It was just so weird, like I had heard ghost stories but had never experienced anything like that before.

The woman in the middle of nowhere

I grew up in a small town, and lived out in the country. My mom and I were coming home from Walmart really late one night and decided to take the back way home. I still had my learners permit, so I wanted to take a road with less traffic. Anyone who has ever lived or been to the country knows how creepy these roads can be at night. I was going around a curve, right before a one lane bridge, so I slowed down in case I had to stop. Out of no where this woman jumps in front of me to the drivers side of my car and starts pounding on the hood of my car. Her mouth was moving but I couldn’t make out what she was saying. My mom started freaking out and told me not to stop, and just keep driving. I kept going and we both looked back to see where she was and no one was there. To this day my mom and I still remember it clearly. Turns out there’s apparently a legend about a woman who died around the bridge and supposedly can be seen sometimes late at night. I get goosebumps to this day just thinking about it.

Who turned on the radio?

When I was about 10 or 12, I don’t really remember, I had an odd experience. At the time, I was sharing a room with my sister. We had lofted beds and I slept on the top bunk. We had this stereo and when you would press the button to turn it on, it would “click” and a red light would pop up. Our beds were on one side of the room and the stereo was on a desk on the opposite side. One night I was woken up by the “click” sound that the stereo makes when the power button is pressed. I recognized the sound and sat up in bed. I looked over at the stereo and the light blinks on. I look over at my sister and she is fast asleep (her bed was under mine but perpendicular, so I could see the top half of her from my bed).

The stereo is playing that white noise sound that it makes when it isn’t on a specific station. Suddenly, I can hear someone saying, “Away,” coming from the stereo. Just one word, “Away”. First, it starts off soft and gradually gets louder, until it becomes a yell, “AWAY, AWAY, AWAY”. It took about 10-15 seconds probably to build up to the yell, and then it died back down to a whisper. I thought this was a dream. I was frozen out of fear. I thought this had to be my imagination, and I tried telling myself that during the whole thing. I had almost convinced myself of it until it stopped. After the voice died away, the stereo went back to static. Then, I heard the familiar “click” and the light turned off. I was positive I wasn’t dreaming the ending “click”. I stared at the stereo for a few more moments, too freaked to move, looked back at my sister and saw she was still asleep, and finally laid back in bed, covered myself with my sheets, and willed myself back to sleep.

I consider myself a rational person, but I had no rational explanation for this. Freakiest shit that has ever happened to me.

This is why you should never let anyone know where your spare key is

I was seventeen, still living in my parents’ house. Everyone was away on a Friday night so I had a few friends over. We smoked a little, and were chilling in the basement playing video games. Two of my friends ran upstairs to get some snacks out of the pantry. After a few seconds they came running down the steps yelling my name. They say somebody just pulled into my driveway. I hear the dog start freaking out. I panic, thinking my parents are home, and I scramble to hide the weed and pipe we had sitting next to the back door.

I walked up the steps and looked out the window. There was no car in the driveway but my dog was still freaking out. I went outside to see if anyone was out there. It was late, almost midnight, and cold. I was barefoot and poorly dressed. I walked around my house, shivering and nervous, and found nothing. I went back inside, took my dog down to the basement with me and tried to relax.

Maybe twenty minutes later, we hear a huge crashing sound. It sounded like something had exploded right in front of the house. We ran outside through the back door and saw a car wrapped around a tree right by the road in my neighbor’s front yard. My dog starts freaking out again. It was my brother’s car. My brother had gone with my parents to my aunt’s and left his car in the garage. I ran to look inside and there was nobody in it.

I immediately called my brother, freaking out. When he answered the phone I was both relieved and confused. He instructed me to call the police. He came home. The police came and looked around. They took statements from everybody (we hid the fact that we were high pretty well). As the tow truck was pulling my brother’s care out of the front yard, the police received a call about a break in down the street. They left an officer with us and the rest left to respond to the call.

It turns out that a group of people were going through my neighborhood, breaking into houses and stealing cars out of garages. I was in the house when the burglar stole my brother’s car. I may have even walked right past him at one point. When they caught the group, one of the guys was injured as if he had been in a car wreck. He was the one who had broken into my house. I knew him. He had graduated from my high-school when I was a freshmen. He had house-sat for us. He knew where we kept the spare keys, he knew that if one of us was home that the doors would be unlocked and he waited until it was just me, alone in the house.

It wasn’t paranormal, but it still creeps me out to this day that the guy had waited for myself, or any of my other family members, to be alone in the house and had broken in. It scares me that I was so completely unaware of my surroundings back then that I would have let that guy get the drop on me if he had hostile intentions. It makes me sick that somebody we had trusted to stay in our house while we were gone would come back a couple years later and do something like that.

The night I spent with 20 dead bodies

I once had to work a very late shift at the funeral home to prepare a body for a viewing the following morning. I think I finally finished my work around midnight. Anyways, it was winter, and I ended up getting snowed in at the funeral home. I had to stay the night until plows came early AM to plow out. Let me tell you – it’s fucking creepy sleeping in a funeral home knowing there are 20 dead people in the basement.

Worth the long read: two little girls were dancing in my bedroom

My fiancé and I rent a house together, and we live alone.

About two years ago, my fiancé and I were lying in bed. It was actually pretty late in the morning– 10:30 or 11:00 AM., or so. I’d been awake for about ten or fifteen minutes, and my fiancé was just waking up.

We lied there, talking softly about whether or not we should get up yet, or try to go back to sleep for a bit, since he had the first half of the day off of work, and it might be nice to catch up on sleep since we’d had a busy couple of days. He was lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling, and I was on my right side, facing him, with my hand on his chest while we talked. In that position, I had my back to our bedroom door, which was maybe 8 or 9 ft. away from the bed behind me.

Suddenly, an odd feeling came over the room. Seriously, it felt like the air in the room was suddenly either sucked out, or made very, VERY heavy, and it almost felt like I was under water, or gravity changed… and the room seemed to almost feel like it was tilting to the side. It felt like the air in the room was pressing down on top of my body, while at the same time slowing down time and making me dizzy and loopy. My ears were popping.

Well, I thought it was just me feeling this, and for a moment, I wondered if I was having a blood pressure drop (I get those sometimes, though it still wasn’t quite what it felt like), but my fiancé said in a very frightened voice that sounded like he couldn’t breathe very well, and like he couldn’t get out the words without struggling, “Do you feel that, too? What’s happening?!…” And that was when I knew something odd and scary was going on, because he was feeling the exact same thing.
I tried to speak, but my speech actually came out kind of slurred and I had to force the words out of my mouth to say “I don’t know…I can’t move…”

He said “I can’t…either…” and I saw him trying to turn over onto his side, and trying to raise his arm up. He just kept saying “what’s happening? What’s happening?”

I tried to raise my arm up, too, and found that I couldn’t. Again, it was like being under water, and in an intensely pressurized room. I started trying to push myself up, to see if I could sit up… I couldn’t do it. It was just too heavy.
Then, we both heard the doorknob of our bedroom door turning.

It was turning over and over again… almost like someone was trying to come in, but they weren’t jiggling it, or trying to open the door… it was actually turning in a rhythm. It was turning back and forth, back and forth, in a rhythm at about the same tempo as a metronome. Like a beat to a song. It was very deliberate.

We were both terrified and we froze– the first thought in my mind was that someone had broken in, though I couldn’t figure out why they would turn the doorknob back and forth, back and forth in a deliberate rhythm, especially because our bedroom door has no lock on it. They could just open it and walk right in.

We couldn’t move, that weird heavy-gravity feeling that was holding us down still would not allow us to move, but I was trying to, and I could feel my fiancé trying to, as well. All I was able to do was turn my head very slowly and look over my shoulder at the doorknob, and watch it turning. I could see it.

Then, we both heard it… singing. Two children’s voices, what sounded like a pair of young girls, started singing a song that I could not make out most of the lyrics to, and the only clear lyrics that I could make out was the very last word at the end of the sentence: “dancing”.

So let me clarify what I’m trying to describe: These two young girl’s voices were singing an almost nursery rhyme type song outside our bedroom door, while turning our bedroom doorknob back and forth, to match the tempo of what they’re singing: the doorknob is going chhck-chhck, chhck-chhck, chhck-chhck, chhck-chhck, as these little girls’ voices are singing:

“Something, something, something something! Something, something, daaaaancing! Something, something, something, something, something, something, daaaaaancing!”

…and the doorknob would turn with each word they sang, keeping perfect rhythm.

I couldn’t make out nearly any of the other words of this song they were singing, except for the word “dancing” at the very end of each stanza.

And they were singing it in a way that was kind of playful and taunting… maybe, for instance, kind of like two little girls would do if they were teasing an older sibling, or their mom or dad, by coming up to a room they’re in, shaking the doorknob and singing at them, just to tease– the song almost sounded made up, the way kids sometimes sing little made-up songs to be silly or playful…. Just trying to give you a feel as to how this sounded. It also sounded like they were laughing, or trying not to giggle while doing it.

So, as this is all going on, and I’m watching the doorknob turn as these voices sing at us, and near the end of the song, I turn my head– in slow motion– back to my fiancé to see if he’s seeing and hearing the same thing I am, and I can now see has finally managed to be able to turn his head and he was watching the doorknob, too, and the look on his face… was just… I’ll never forget it. His eyes were as big as dinner plates, I’ve never see him that shocked or that scared…his face was just white.

And then the song ended. It was short, just two stanzas, then just as soon as it started, the doorknob just stopped turning on the very last word of the song, “daaaaanciiiing”, and all at once, that heavy, dizzy weight that had been holding us down and making it so hard to move and breathe just lifted. Just went away. Just like that. Suddenly we could move again, and the air and gravity felt normal.

It seriously was all over, from start to finish, in about 10 seconds.

My fiancé sat up and goes “What the hell just happened?”, and he jumped over me and out of bed, raced to the door and yanked it open. Nothing was there. We don’t have a hallway, it’s a small house and our bedroom door opens right up into the living room, and he just looked out into it and goes “Nobody’s out there!”

I got up and ran over to him, and looked for myself. No one there. House empty, and our two cats were both backed up against the far wall of the living room, hissing and growling. They’d either heard it, too, or even seen what did it… and from the spot right in front of our bedroom door, all the way through the living room, through the dining room, and out to the kitchen door, there was this trail of heat. I don’t know how else to describe it, it was just a trail of heat. The air just felt hot and oily, and you could almost see a haze, like fog, trailing from our bedroom door, through the house, to the kitchen door.

We checked both the front door and the kitchen door. Locked. Both locked.

We both sat back down on the bed, and we were just shaking. We kept asking each-other “Did that really just happen? We both heard the same thing right?” and yeah… we both felt the air pressure holding us down in bed and making us move in slow motion, and we both heard and saw the bedroom doorknob moving back and forth in rhythm, and then both heard the two little girls singing that song. So, I know it wasn’t a hallucination or anything.

The only difference was that my fiancé understood a couple more of the lyrics of what they were singing, though not many– he said it sounded something like “and we come in a’dancing!” or “and we go a’dancing!”

It was just so unsettling and spooky. And to be honest, the way the girls’ voices sounded, they didn’t sound mean or creepy– they seriously sounded like two, real little girls who were just having fun and teasing us. It didn’t feel or sound malevolent, or anything… it still creeped us out, just that it happened, though. We were both shaken up for the rest of the day, and I BEGGED him not to leave for work that afternoon (but he had to). The whole time he was at work, I kept every light in the house on, along with both the TVs in the living room and our bedroom. It’s never happened again, but it still creeps us both out just talking about it. TC mark

Now That I Know I Can’t Escape It, I Think It’s Time To Face The Creature That’s Following Me

Posted: 18 Oct 2015 02:54 PM PDT

Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/borisbaldinger/
Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/borisbaldinger/

You can read part one here and part two here.

I managed to make it a few more months.

Got to a new place, set up shop, went back to New Orleans for just a day trip to clear out my business in the basement. No one had messed with it, that was good, that was why I picked such a remote place in the first place. Me and my dad, we liked our privacy. You probably know that by now.

I went north this time, followed the ocean along the east and tried to find somewhere safe, somewhere dry. Somewhere that no one could leave handprints.

That's what was following me, right? The handprints? The voice? Worse, what was attached to those handprints?

It was always different, but it was always the same. My father, something else, my childhood, something else. Shifting, changing, unpredictable and terrifying. I wanted to tell someone about it but who was there to tell? Ma was in the ground five years now, my dad a lot longer than that. What they don't tell you about growing up is how alone you end up feeling.

I hunkered down in my place in the north. Waited. Because I knew it was coming. It had to be coming, right? The quiet was starting to get to me, it was worse somehow that I knew it was coming and knew it wouldn't stop but didn't know when or how.

It got so goddam close last time, you know? That Other Me, the thing that sounded like myself as a kid, like myself at age 8 when my dad had left me in the car parked outside some strange house for hours. Hadn't thought about that in a real long time, not until Other Me jogged some memories.

I started to think about it, though. While I waited. About how it took so long for my dad to come back, he'd told me to wait but I couldn't, I had to pee and I was worried so I figured getting out of the car for just a minute wouldn't hurt. Right? I mean, sure my dad was strict, but how could you expect a little kid to wait that long by himself?

After a while, summer faded into fall and it still hadn't shown up. Was it because we had a mild season? No snow, no rain, no crazy weather to bring it on? I hoped so. But when I started seeing that thin sheen of frost on my porch early in the morning, I decided it might be best to fix my sleep schedule. Like, no more late-night drinks, keep the whiskey to the daytime and fall into bed by 6pm, before nightfall. My dad did that, you know, after he got off the third shift for a few years. He said it did him good.

Main thing is, I didn't want to hear what could be outside. It only came at night and I was so tired of waiting, you know? I thought it might be best to just shut myself off during the times it could come. Because either it couldn't (or wouldn't) get inside without my help, or if it did, maybe I'd just go peacefully. In my sleep. That was a nice thought.

Then, once I started getting more sleep, I didn't just think about that night outside the strange house. I started to dream about it.

In the dreams, I'm little again — or maybe I'm not? I feel short but when I look at my hands they're man's hands, leathery and tough. Maybe they're my dad's hands. I don't know.

I use these hands to knock on the door. I have that tight, tense sensation in my bladder, the pinching need to pee. I cross my legs back and forth, hoping someone will come to the door but they never do. So I go to a window.

When I look inside, I see my dad. He's with a woman. It's not my mom.

He sees me, too. And he's real mad.

He yells, "DANNY!"

Then I wake up.

The same dream, over and over. The same way every time: in the car, have to pee, knock on the door, go to the window, dad with the woman. "DANNY!"

And see, here's the weird thing. I only have this dream in the daytime. Never had it at night.
Well, I guess maybe that's not the weirdest thing.

No, no handprints yet or anything. Nothing like that. But since the leaves have started to change, since they've gotten all colorful, red and orange and yellow, they've started showing up in my house.

First, they were on the porch. But that's pretty normal, right? Gust of wind blows 'em up there, no cause for concern. But then one day you wake up just after dawn, like usual, happy to see the sun coming up over the horizon, and you see a trail of them from your front door to the dining room. And they're pretty at first, see, they're those brilliant fall shades but they still have enough springy life in them to stay in one piece. At first, you sort of like them.

Then, as the season goes on, as you have the same dream over and over again about your dad and the woman and your big man hands, they start to die. They get crunchy and crumbly and you start to find them everywhere. Trailing through the house. Stuffed in your dresser drawers. Folded into quarters and stuck neatly between the bills in your wallet.

It's deliberate. It's a message. It's what it does when it can't leave handprints.

One morning you wake up coughing, sputtering, tongue drier than you can ever remember. You spit and spit and wouldn't you know, you're spitting out a mouthful of brittle autumn leaves.
Something has come into your house in the middle of the night and stuffed your fucking mouth with leaves.

God only knows what would've happened if you'd been awake when it came. Then, you wonder — is it really your dad you're hearing in the dreams? Is it really your dad yelling your name, or is it something… else? Something crouched by your bed as it parts your lips and begins shoving dead leaves inside?

And this, you know, this is what makes you realize you can't get away from it. You can't keep running. You could try, of course, you could keep sleeping through its cycle or moving with the weather or whatever, but one day you'll choke to death on whatever else it's decided to shove in your mouth and maybe next time it won't be as harmless as leaves.

So you — I — pack up and go to the last place you saw your dad alive. The last place you have really good, happy memories.

And you leave the leaves behind. TC mark

To read the final installation and discover Danny’s fate, preorder my debut horror collection Certain Dark Things. You’ll have first exclusive access to the finale of “For Everything There Is A Season (Danny’s Story)”!Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 6.50.48 PM

7 Things You Should Know Before You Date Someone Who Is Low Maintenance But Has High Standards

Posted: 18 Oct 2015 02:11 PM PDT

2071photo
2071photo

1. We care about what matters. So no, we're not going to pick a fight over the dishes not being done, but we're also not going to let the important things slide – like what's actually working in the relationship and not. After all – aggression over completely benign day-to-day things is usually indicative of some deeper problem anyway.

2. If you want to do something for us, it doesn't need to be extravagant, but it does need to be thoughtful. We're not going to hold you to elaborate (or expensive!) birthday weekend plans for example, but we are going to expect that you care enough to want to do something meaningful together. We expect you to know the difference between actually giving a crap about someone's life and just going through the motions of someone who is supposed to care.

3. We base the quality of our relationships on how genuine the connection feels. We don't really care about labels or symbols of commitment or public displays of affection. We aren't particular about many things, but we're not going to be happy until we feel like the connection – and the commitment – is real.

4. While it's true that you can't mind-read, we do expect you to have a basic, common sense approach to being considerate of our feelings. We don't need you to decode a microaggression or assume anything we say means other than, well, what we say, but we expect that you'll generally have some self-awareness when it comes to being considerate and mindful of other people's space, opinions, potential feelings, etc.

5. The relationships that work for us are the ones in which we are super comfortable with one another, yet find a way to maintain the spark as well. If it sounds a bit idealistic that's because it is, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. We can only be

6. We're not going to nag, but if something's wrong, you're going to hear about it point blank. We epitomize "do no harm but take no shit."

7. We are confident about what we know we deserve, and likewise, what you deserve. We're going to be doing all we can do make sure that you're being treated the way you should be, and we expect the same of you. Again, we're talking basic consideration, a little mindfulness, and all the small things that so often get overlooked after you get comfortable with one another. TC mark

7 Women Reveal The Weird Things That Happen To Them When They Orgasm

Posted: 16 Oct 2015 03:32 PM PDT

Twenty20 / heyyehblog
Twenty20 / heyyehblog

1. "My hands cramp up and all of my fingers stick together so it literally looks like I have dinosaur claws or something. It's also super awkward when I try to touch him while this is happening. He probably feels like I'm clawing at him. It's so embarrassing, but surprisingly no one has ever asked about it, so apparently I'm good at hiding it." —Aubrey, 23

beetlejuice

2. "One time I couldn't speak. It was actually really scary. We were doing it kind of rough, and for a VERY long time, and I was getting kind of dizzy and he could tell, so he asked if I was okay. I couldn't even say that I was. I tried to talk and I couldn't form words, anything I said was either with a lisp or complete gibberish. I have no idea what happened, but it took about 10 minutes for me to be able to form actual sentences. I think I really freaked him out (Lol) but I was freaking out too!" —Isa, 25

beetlejuice

3. "My eyes always twitch when I'm orgasming. It is probably so unattractive, but I seriously can't stop it. The people I sleep with most likely think I'm uncontrollably winking at them. I'm so creepy." —Alicia, 23

beetlejuice

4. "Sometimes I black out mid orgasm. One time my boyfriend told me that I called his penis a 'fucking slut.' When I told him I had no recollection of that ever happening he thought I was lying. I swear I do NOT remember saying that. It's happened a few times, but with different phrases. No idea why it happens, or why I'm saying the things I do." —Heidi, 22

beetlejuice

5. "I lose feeling in my fingers. They feel like they've been out in the freezing cold for a really long time, not even tingly, just numb." —Tracy, 25

beetlejuice

6. “Occasionally I'll hear a ringing in my ear. I told my one friend about this and she said that happens to people with mental illnesses. Awesome.” —Natalia, 24

beetlejuice

7. “My right leg always shakes. It’s really noticeable, and I know this because anyone I’m having sex with always comments on it. One guy was strangely turned on by it because he said it was his way of knowing I was enjoying him.” —Danielle, 25 TC mark

12 Signs Your Mental Breakdown Is Actually An Emotional Breakthrough

Posted: 18 Oct 2015 01:38 PM PDT

prozipix
prozipix

1. You're questioning everything.

You're done believing that things are as they appear, or that what you were raised to believe about something is the right way to think overall. You're exploring new ideas of philosophy and spirituality and politics and thought, and you're coming to find that you didn't know what you didn't know.

2. You're realizing that there's a difference between happy thoughts and happy feelings.

You've been trying to fill yourself up with "happy thoughts" forever, only to find that you get attached to a certain outcome (that doesn't become reality) and you're even unhappier in the first place. You're realizing that there's a difference between "a way of thinking that lets you enjoy the moment" and "a way of thinking that makes you happy about potentials, possibilities, and things that are everything but what's actually happening."

3. You're starting to see patterns.

You're realizing that many of the things that keep resurfacing in your life – relationships, jobs, ideas, feelings – are products of what you believe they are or should be. They are patterns, and maybe if you could figure out how to change them, the way they emerge would change, too.

4. You feel irrationally angry.

Anger is a good emotion, that is, when you finally figure out that you're not mad at the world – you're mad at yourself. This is usually what happens right before change is going to be made. Anger's younger siblings: dissatisfaction, resentment, irritation, self-pity, etc. are unpleasant but not disturbing enough to make you act. Anger makes you act. It burns through you and delivers you somewhere new.

5. You're starting to question: "is this all there is?"

You're starting to wonder whether or not you really were meant to just sleep, eat, work then die. You're starting to wonder if this is all that exists, or if it's a small aperture for a far greater reality.

6. You had the million dollar idea, found The Relationship, got the big break, and all of a sudden, you're paralyzed.

We call this some good ol' resistance. When we perceive happiness, we perceive fear to an equal degree. It's not actually that you're resisting your new life, it's that your very clearly identifying what you want (and experiencing a natural, and balanced amount of fear about it).

7. It seems like your emotional state is unwarranted.

You shouldn't feel anxious and depressed, but you do. There's no reason for your irrational fears, but they're there. You can't quite make sense of what you're feeling, and you realize that's because you're in the process of developing that skill.

8. You're uncertain about who you really are.

You have come to terms with the fact that you've defined yourself based on either how people see you, or how you think you should be, and there's a bit discrepancy between what you think you want and what you actually want.

9. You're experiencing feelings and fears you had when you were a kid.

It's all coming back up to the surface, and what you're realizing is that it was never really gone in the first place. The thoughts, ideas, beliefs and feelings you kept tucked away were silently guiding your life. You just didn't know.

10. You're terrified of loss right now.

Namely, you're terrified of losing one specific thing that you think, in some way, will "save" you (even just emotionally). This is what happens when you begin to realize that nothing can do that for you. You're not afraid of loss, you're afraid of being forced to accept that reality before you think you're ready.

11. You're giving up on the things you need to give up on.

You're not giving up on your dreams. You're not giving up on your relationship. You are simply giving up on the idea that these things will be something more than what they are. You are giving up on what's not right for you. You're learning that "giving up" is such a negative term for something that's really healthy when necessary.

12. You've decided you're not going to be the victim of your own mind anymore.

People don't have breakdowns unless they are on the precipices of "breakthroughs." Breakdowns – or any kind of intense mental-emotional turmoil – is always a sign that things are in the process of changing. Otherwise, they'd just be "normal." You're done accepting your old "normal," and you're onto bigger, better, brighter, happier things. TC mark

12 People Share How They Knew They Were Falling In Love

Posted: 16 Oct 2015 12:51 PM PDT

Twenty20 / robinbobin
Twenty20 / robinbobin

1.. “Even when we argued, an hour and a half later something would happen and he’d be the first person I wanted to tell.” —Tara, 25

beetlejuice

1. “I love my alone time, and when I didn't mind that he was constantly at my place, and actually became sad when he left, that's when I thought I was falling for him.” —Maria, 23

beetlejuice

3. “We had a lot of the same interests and enjoyed spending time together. There was no drama and it basically felt like 'friends with benefits.' We’re best friends, and we love each other because of that.” —Jaqueline, 25

beetlejuice

4. “I was moving to my new apartment and we had to put my kitchen table together. She was completely clueless with any and every tool, and could barely understand the instructions, but she saw that I had other stuff to worry about, and tried really hard. Somehow she managed to put it together all by herself. Sounds stupid, but I was like damn, I love this girl.” —Josh, 25

beetlejuice

5. “When my family dog died he sent flowers to my parent’s house. So not only was he there to comfort me, but he even reached out to my family. Just the effort to show he was thinking about them was what made me realize how great of a guy he really was.” —Francesca, 24

beetlejuice

6. “I wasn’t attracted to him at first, and when he asked me out I flat out rejected him, which didn’t stop him from asking me out again, and again…and again. He was relentless. So when I finally gave him a chance I wasn’t blinded by pure attraction, I was just getting to know him for who he was, and eventually I began to love him for just that.” —Lori, 23

beetlejuice

7. “She gets totally weird with me, like bizarre behavior, but I love it. It shows she’s not afraid to be herself around me.” —Matt, 27

beetlejuice

8. “She slept with me on the first date, and I usually don’t look to have serious relationships with girls who do that, but she made me want to get to know her more. I think because I only experienced her physically (and really enjoyed it) I wanted to get to know her emotionally. Eventually I realized the reason she slept with me on the first date was because she was confident in what she wanted. That’s when I started falling for her, when she showed me she knew what she wanted and she wasn’t scared to go after it.” —Rob, 25

beetlejuice

9. “I don’t really know if there was an exact moment. I just know that I would put him before myself when he really needed me.” —Jay, 26

beetlejuice

10. “I said it to him for the first time by accident. I had just gotten off the phone with my mom, and I usually say, ‘I love you,’ when I say goodbye. When I called him right after her, I did the same thing, but I had never said it to him before. I hung up immediately because I felt stupid, but when I actually thought about it I was like maybe I do love him, and I did.” —Elizabeth, 27

beetlejuice

11. “I’m really close with my family, and after the first time she met them they couldn’t stop talking about her (in a good way). My mom would call and ask how my girlfriend was before she’d ask about me. It was cool to see that she meshed so well with the people who mattered to me most.” —Nate, 24

beetlejuice

12. “He made me feel good about myself, and it was more than just being happy when I was with him. He motivated me to do things, and in a way that I felt I could actually do them. When someone else believes in you it means a lot.” —Alice, 25 TC mark

Tell Me What I Want To Hear

Posted: 16 Oct 2015 08:19 AM PDT

Twenty20 / NickBulanovv
Twenty20 / NickBulanovv

Tell me what I want to hear so that I won't know what you're really thinking. Be afraid of my reaction, yet not brave enough to hear it. Be scared of breaking my heart, because you know you're not the first one to dent it. I'm not as fragile as you think. If you can't admit to either of us what you're really feeling it says more about your weakness than mine.

You think I like when you play pretend, but I don't want you to play anything. This only began to be a game when we both began to be afraid of losing, but what we need to realize is that we're not opponents. I'm not against you, I'm with you, and I have to trust that you feel the same.

And it's hard to trust when there's something you're hiding. Your thoughts are on mute, but I'm reading closed captions. They're telling me everything you won't. Because you're only telling me what you think I want to hear, but you're mistaking me to be predictable.

There's no doubt that I'll be fooled at first, falling under and over every line, because no matter how many times it's been said to me before, each time it sounds a little different. But there's only so much you can say before I realize I'm no exception.

Because once I’ve realized that, it won’t matter how hard I’ve fallen, and you’ll reach out your hand to help me up, but I’ll want to stay right where I am. If I accept your kind gesture it will only lead to more. And the more I pass and resist the more persistent you’ll become because you think my reluctance is simply me denying my desires. And you’re probably right because I’m scared you’re reaching out your hand to help yourself more than me, and that’s why I wont reach back.

So what happens when you stop telling me everything you think I want to hear? It's like a bad after taste, that moment when everything I want to hear becomes everything I've already heard. TC mark

Things We Did Before Falling Out Of Love

Posted: 18 Oct 2015 10:11 AM PDT

maria_foto
maria_foto

You kissed me in a bar. You kissed me on the street. You kissed me on the pavement outside of my apartment. You texted me good night. I texted you unintelligible letters.

You kissed me in a Halloween costume. You kissed me in your bed. You kissed my naked skin and lent me money for a cab ride home. You texted me, "I had a good time." I texted you nothing back.

You bought a red and white striped sweater that I liked. I cut your hair. You bought me an AC Newman CD from the used record shop around the corner. You slept in my bed more nights than not.

When the weather was bad, you got us Vietnamese take out from the Pho shop down the road. We scrounged pennies to buy Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and Captain Morgan's spiced rum. I kissed you with fervor when I was drunk. You walked me home in the cold.

I went away. We said we'd make the distance work. We didn't make it work.

I took up kickboxing. You met someone else.

I came back in the wintertime. We took a trip to Niagara Falls. You held my hand on the bus ride home. You said it was like we'd never left. We put a Christmas tree up in my apartment with the hardwood floors. You said you loved me. We ordered pizza and had sex long into the night.

I taught you how to rock climb. You taught me how to love. On the sunny days we packed up bags with flashlights and trail mix and chalk bags and emergency first aid kits and we headed out to nowhere for weekends at a time. You said, "Let's move to a cabin in the woods," I said, "Yes," and we kissed inside our four-person tent like we were the only two people on earth.

You introduced me to your parents. I introduced you to my past. We stripped all the mistakes from our skin and we swore never to tell each others secrets. I watched movies that I didn't even like for you. You told me that you hoped we'd die at ninety-five years old, in a tragic car accident with our hands clasped together, so that we never had to live in a world without each other.

We moved into the apartment with only one window. We bought black sheets to stretch over the bed. We fucked on the counters. We fucked on the dryer. We fucked on the living room floor. You said you'd work eighty hours a week if you had to, and sometimes you did. I did too.

We took vacations. We were the envy of our friends. We took pictures of ourselves with tanned skin, holding coconut drinks and kissing one another on exotic foreign beaches. We laughed at ourselves for being average. We took another sip and let it slide.

We let the seasons change. We let each other change, into people we didn't always know. We got high and reveled in each other's bodies. We got low and kissed the sadness from our skin. On the days when things were bad, I hid each knife in the apartment before I left for work. On the days when things were good, we got wine drunk and promised all of our tomorrows to each other.

You kissed me in the car. You kissed me at the doctor's office. You kissed me with your eyes all lit up and terrified of all the tomorrows and maybes. When the cold came, we moved in closer to each other. We swore that we'd make it okay. We swore that the spring would come someday.

When the earth thawed, we planted flowers in rows outside our house. I caught you staring, in the daytime, at the wild, rambling roads that used to beckon you home. Your mother said the colour had returned to your skin and I stopped hiding the knives in the back of the pantry when I left early for work. You told me you believed people could save one another. You kissed me slowly. I kissed you hard. You kissed me in the dirt and on the concrete and in the early morning hours when the sun had barely risen.

You said, "I'm never going to fall out of love with you."

I told you, "Me too." TC mark

7 Things That Happen When You Lose Your Parents Way Too Young

Posted: 18 Oct 2015 10:35 AM PDT

You become more of an adult than ever before

After the passing of my only remaining parent, I was suddenly the last generation of my immediate family. Here I was, an adult orphan at the ripe old age of 29. The only problem was I still felt like a child, wondering who was going to be there to offer advice, to comfort me, to be a safe house to go to when everything else would fall apart.

The interesting thing was however, that by organizing estates, funeral arrangements, delivering the eulogy and comforting others, is I was suddenly 'adulting' in a way that I never had before. Even though it didn't minimize the huge sense of loss, there was the realization that somehow I was getting through something this tough without the backing of my parents. With that I realized I was now a 'grown up' and that if I could get through this, I'd be ready to take on almost anything.

Others didn’t always understand my grief, and it can be isolating

I expected that people wouldn't know what to say, but I wasn't prepared for how isolating grief could at times feel. Despite friends and acquaintances only trying to help, being told by people to 'keep busy' and to be 'thankful for the times you did have' only seemed to make me feel like I shouldn't be indulging in grief for too long, and only seemed to widen the chasm of separation I felt from others and what I was going through.

The truth is that unless others have gone through the death of an immediate family member themselves, especially the loss of a parent, they likely won't understand – how could they? After all, I didn't. For me it was important to communicate this rollercoaster of emotions, so I spoke to my brothers in the exact same situation as me, and friends who had lost a parent. I've still got the number of a counsellor at the ready for whenever I need the expertise of someone trained to deal with the negative emotions, including feeling of withdrawal, and even resenting those with families fully in tact. The truth is that not many people are yet to face death, only reading about it in the news or through friends. Everyone someday will however, and I like to think I'll be able to pay it forward and be as emotionally available as I can for others in their time of need.

You will discover what you really want to do in life

In the days after the death of my mother, discussions about trivial matters like workplaces, gossip about mutual friends, and everything else that would have been of interest a few weeks earlier suddenly became so insignificant.

There's nothing like death to make you realize how short life is and to get you thinking about the future. Due to this recognition of how quickly it can all be taken away, I became much more philosophical and even spiritual about life's meaning, vowing to follow my heart and rejecting anything that didn't offer nourishment for my soul. I drank lots of tea, I immersed myself in nature, and I focused on planning a future that was true to myself and which focused on what I loved. This path of self realization will likely be different for everyone, but for me, keeping up with the Joneses suddenly seemed a disgusting waste of energy, and saying goodbye to my mother became a catalyst to make the most of what time I did have. I'd heard pearls of wisdom to "follow your dreams" and "do what you love" many times before, and understood their truth, but they had never resonated in quite the same way. When I considered it was some of the exact same advice my mum would offer, it became even more poignant.

Some people will be unbelievably kind, others will disappoint you

I found that opening up to people and letting people be there during the immediate aftermath of my mothers passing one of the most important ways to heal, and I was positively overwhelmed with messages of condolences. After hearing the sad news, many people I had never expected, or who I didn't know particularly well, sent messages of support, flowers and cards. The outpouring of support was a great comfort and a reminder of how many people cared enough to sympathise with the immense sadness. Some of the most amazing people were those who seemed to understand that support shouldn't just be contained to the initial weeks after the death. Even though I didn't always have much to say, and people likely didn't know what to say themselves, it was a great comfort having people check in the weeks and months after the funeral, acknowledging that I was still learning to live in my 'new normal.'

The other side of this was that some of the people that I had most expected to be supported by stayed deafeningly silent. Some even seemed to avoid me, and the topic altogether. I came to the conclusion it was likely not that they didn't care, but that didn't know how to care, or even what to say. I did conclude for people that stayed completely off the radar, grief was a way to crystalize who was really there for me, and there support or lack thereof, was a way to help assess relationships that were worth my time and energy maintaining.

You will see what really matters

As mum was dying, she told me that at the end of life, all that matters is not the job you had, the car you drove or the amount of money in your bank account, only the kind of person you were and after death everything else fades away, leaving only your character. From speaking to others, I came to realize her most important legacy was the effect she had on others – especially me. Because of her generosity, listening, patience, and strength she inspired so many others and it became important to me that the things I admired most about her character would live on. So I vowed to aim towards an existence filled with as much virtue as hers was. Her inspirational character was her most important parting gift, and made me resolve to live life practicing what she had taught me – all of the other that are people use to assess their self worth were no longer important.

You will channel your loved one’s advice for years to come

After losing my mother who was the core of my support network and part of very own life story and identity, life instantly seemed lesser. Instead of her being on the other end of text message or phone call there was be silence, and I grieved at how I'd never hear her opinion, advice, and her take on any given situation.

What I learned was that even after losing my mother, I could almost hear her voice, or at the least imagine what she'd say about almost anything I would talk to her about. It wasn't the same as her being always available, but I took incredible comfort that in my heart I knew how she'd see things. I learned that I now don't need to look far when I need guidance and a voice of reason. Because of her engaging personality, and the fact she gave so much of herself to others, she left a vault of comforting memories that everyone that knew and loved her could always draw upon.

You will appreciate the little things in life

Despite the sleepless nights, the foggy days and feeling tired far too often than I could have ever imagined, eventually I started get back to some semblance of normality. At first I felt guilty about this, feeling as if I was almost betraying her memory. I soon learned however, that these moments of peace and normality were a blessing, and an important part of letting myself heal.

Life went on and in time the pain lessened and I found new things to be grateful for. These were often the small things, small glimmers of happiness throughout the day such as a fresh breeze, a plant in full bloom or a scented candle. Despite facing what seemed like immense feeling of unfairness of someone being taken away, I learned a newfound appreciation for life, and honored and appreciated my mother in ways I didn't when she was alive. I learned I was stronger than I first thought, and despite the hurt and sadness, death really didn't take away as much as I had first thought.

After losing both of parents at 29, I also learned that life is stronger than death, and the love of someone so cherished will always live on. TC mark