A Region in Hell

We have all been weaving our way through the wilderness of brambles and branches that have caused us to isolate and wrap ourselves in blankets of greyness due to the potential for a known virus to not only invade our lives but to possibly take our lives away from us.

We have spent over a year trying to navigate our way out of this wilderness and in all the writing I have done, all the talking I have done, all the help I have given others I have reached a point where I need help in return. It is not to say people have not supported me, that people have not reached out, because they have. I have Covid depressing days and these days punch me in the gut.

Loneliness is as hell AF. When I read an article this morning from one of my favorite grief writers, Megan Devine, it struck such a resonating chord in me.  I knew I would sit down and write my feelings because I do not think many people truly see me.

Devine wrote “Loneliness is its own special region of hell, and being single – by choice or by circumstance – is tough in a coupled-up, locked-down world.”

I have had days of absolute despair wondering why I am still here without my loving husband at my side. It wasn’t supposed to be over yet. We had plans, years of plans.

I have to cheer myself up every day. I have to remind myself I am here for a reason, and then I look at the photo of us hanging on my bedroom wall and I curse at it because I no longer live in a coupled-up world.

I have never been this lonely without someone who cared about me for this long and Devine is right, this is a very special region of hell.

In complete honesty I need to spend time with my son, in my house, no distractions of his responsibilities. I need to see him and take care of him as much as I want him to take care of me.

The audacity of grief. The fucking audacity of grief to come into my world and turn it upside down and inside out and then slap me across the face with a pandemic. Oh, I know there are other people who feel the same way, however for one moment in time I am only writing about me.

Every single one of us needs other people. I have said that out loud hoping that my words would carry across time and space and come to rest into the part of our brains that give us that moment when we realize “Carole needs me.”

I won’t apologize for sharing my feelings to anyone, I own them, and there are a handful of friends who do understand, who do reach out to me, who do virtually take care of me.

This is how grief works and I wish to heaven I wasn’t it’s victim.

What Are the Chances?

Really, what are the chances?

I am sitting here in my office, and the TV is on and Kelly Clarkson’s talk show starts up and her only guest is Garth Brooks.

What are the chances I would turn the TV on at that moment and that the first two songs Garth would sing are “The Dance” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes”?

Earlier today I published an article on medium.com that I titled “The Sounds of Music”. In this article I wrote about how music has really helped me in life and how I finally had the courage to listen to songs that were songs from our marriage and our love.

What are the chances that Garth would sing 2 songs that have honor the depth of my grief with “The Dance” and then the song that brought Larry to tears every time he heard it? Larry would look at me and ask me that question. My answer was always the same. I told him I would know every day for the rest of my life how much he loved me if tomorrow never comes. If that is bad grammar, oh well.

Larry’s tomorrows stopped and all I need to do is look at the photo on the back cover of my book to see how much he loved me.

Then I think back to filling out the form to join an online dating site 22 years ago – I mean what were the chances that my answers would touch the heart of a man who would tell me “Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go” and mean it.

By the way, I listened to Garth and I wrote this article too without tears. You see I find joy in the memories of the love.

If you want to read my article on medium.com here is the link:




I am an #authoronfire. I realized this yesterday when a friend posted something that lit the fire in my heart.

This is what she wrote: There is a lot being said about 2020. While we have witnessed, and maybe even personally experienced, traumatic situations, we are still here… still here.

I don’t know about how that feels for you, but it humbles me and strengthens my resolve to take all self-imposed limitations off of my life.

Without ignoring pain, sadness and suffering, I also recognize healing, joy and prosperity.

What are you going to do with the life you have? Thank you LaFern Kitt Batie.

Well, for me it was a simple answer. I am going to rock 2021 because I can and I will.

This week due to the necessity of being home to have workers in my house I am going to throw some energy at my vision board for 2021.

Larry always admired my ability to look into my future, our futures, and plan and dream for it all.

That ability did not end because he died,it got better, it got bigger, it grew to enormous heights.

My sadness will always be here. Grief doesn’t end. I will miss Larry until I am no longer here, but while I am here I will honor his beliefs in me.

He had my back. He still does.

I am an #authoronfire.

Dammit it Grief, it’s Christmas

Dammit grief, it’s Christmas go somewhere else. Stop showing up as if you are the ghost of Christmas past and bringing with you a carousel of memories. Be gone. It’s Christmas.

Maybe it showed up because I wrote that piece about not liking turkey. Oh well, I don’t like turkey. I am good with saying that, and while Larry loved it to the point of filling a freezer with leftovers, I do not miss seeing those containers that he would enjoy thawing to eat turkey and stuffing as long as he could.

I spent the weekend after Thanksgiving bringing Christmas into my new home. In anger and sadness I had sold so much of our decorations knowing I would never use them again. I kept the beautiful collection of Santa’s, the ornaments that meant the most to me, and the gnomes we bought on one of our holiday trips to Las Vegas.

I put the new tree up, and only shed some tears when I hung the ornaments we collected for our dogs. The tree was sparsely decorated so I added the antique ornaments from my parents, and then I opened the box of turquoise and gold ornaments from our bedroom tree. I separated out the gold from the turquoise and used the gold ones as filler for the empty spots. I look at my tree now and see it is a combination of what Larry and I collected, my parents, and our beautiful master bedroom tree. It is all good.

Christmas music fills the house, I light Larry’s favorite candles (he picked them all out) and I am happy with everything I see. While it is different from 21 years of decorating, it is all that I need at this time.

I sat with a glass of wine, a Christmas movie on the TV and that is when it happened. That is when grief blew in extinguishing the beauty of everything I had been enjoying. While I was sitting there I heard a car door close and for one damn moment I thought Larry was home.

Dammit grief go away.

Paying it Forward for December


I am letting everyone know right here, right now that if you ordered a book in my pre-sale event last month or if you order one now through 12/14/2020 and you think you know someone who would or could benefit from reading it I will send them a digital copy of it on 12/28/2020.

I have an army of supporters who have ordered telling me they know others who should have a copy.

To do this all you have to do is send me an email to carolelsanek@fractured.life and include their email address (with their permission to receive a copy, please). I will be sending out emails to those who have already ordered it.

I am doing this to pay it forward from you and from me. My book is so important to me because my goal in writing it was to help others, but I couldn’t write it without including the love story that still lives on.

Thank you all so much.

My Heart is Crushed

Yes, my heart is crushed. I fall in and out of tears. My face is a mess. My eyelids are swollen, I cannot eat, I sleep fitfully and I have heart pain.

I keep asking why I am being tested. What have I done to deserve to have all this trauma again, all this pain?

My heart hurts. It is heavy in my chest. I have a lump in my throat and breathing is difficult.

Darling little Willie the one-eyed wonder dog left this world Sunday morning at 10:10AM and with her last breath my wilderness, that shitty wilderness of grief, opened up again. It thrust me to the very beginning of darkness, sharp edges, rough rocks tearing at my soul and scraping the skin off my body. I tried to wrap myself up and protect myself from the searing pain, but it took me to my knees and it is so much harder to get up this time.

The sweet angel I rescued almost 10 years ago had liver failure. There was no saving her, no treating her, there was nothing that anyone could do. I am devastated.

I don’t know how to pull myself up again. I don’t think I have the energy.

Darling Willie.

Fractured – Chapter 6

My goal is to send my manuscript to my writing coach by the end of this week at the latest (so if you are reading this months after May of 2020 and holding a copy of my book welcome).

I have braided my story by writing from the life of grieving and then going back in time and adding stories of our love.

I have been asked how I wrote a book. Well, I started with a list of ideas I wanted to include on my white board. Many of these turned into titles of chapters. Then I wrote an outline of my story with the chapter titles.

I divided the book into 3 parts and it is 24 chapters long with a Prologue, Epilogue and a letter to Larry my coach asked me to include.

As I stitched it all together over the past week, I knew there was one chapter that still needed a story from our past. I knew what that story was about, after all I wrote the outline of ideas.

It was absolutely the most difficult story to write, and that is why I kept putting it off. However, the rubber was meeting the road and heading to the finish line and today I wrote it with tears falling down my cheeks and onto my chest. I cried all the way through it as I knew I would.

It was the one and only time I saw Larry fall to pieces and physically fall to the floor in pain. I had never seen him like this before and I truly never wanted to see it again.

This is part of a paragraph I wrote yesterday in the story I knew I would write in time:

My husband, the man who took no prisoners in business, the man who took down gang members fighting at his nightclub, the man whose voice when raised scared many people, that man collapsed with the agony of having his dog die in his arms.  That man could not stop crying.  That man couldn’t get to his feet because he was grieving so deeply……..

It was at that moment I knew why I loved this man so much and this is where I was after writing it:

The End is Near

The end is near for sure.  I have written a prologue, an epilogue, a letter to Larry that my writing coach asked me to write, and 18 chapters are in Parts 1 and 2 of my story, my book.

I am about to start Part 3 where I wrap it all up and bring it home.  I have so many ideas running around in my head and I will probably have some late nights sitting here at my computer getting this all ready for final review and on to editing.

I was sitting here at my computer one day when words just started falling out of my brain and I am not sure where they came from, how I found them, but I did.

I knew when I re-read them they would be the perfect last 4 paragraphs for my book.  All of Part 3 will add up to these last 4 paragraphs, only I did not know that until I looked at them and had a huge “Oprah moment”.

I knew then where the last part of this book would take myself and my readers and this discovery amazed me because it is the perfect way to tie it all together, and as I wrote above, it is the way I will bring it home.

My Last 4 Paragraphs

I was done, despite those who wanted to make me all undone for one night, or one week, and leave me in a crumpled mess on the floor.

My energy was gone, and spent by those who did not want to stay and just when I felt used up, washed up, the man I called a beast found me.  He was captivated, mystified, and intrigued as if I were the finest wine he had ever brought to his lips and had at yet never tasted.

He got down on the floor with me. All the love he had longed for encircled him like a ring of fire, and eventually that ring of fire surrounded me and we could see forever in each other’s eyes.

Loving each other was better than anything or anyone who had come before. His forever ended leaving me to lie on the floor where the rings of fire had once burned extinguished by my tears.  ~ Carole L. Sanek

Therapy – It’s What’s for Dinner

I know what you are thinking how could therapy, it’s what’s for dinner, be a thing?

In my wilderness it is a thing because dinner resides in the trauma area in my brain, and I need help.

There, I said it.

I need help.

When Larry first died, I posted on Facebook that I needed food.  I got gift cards.  I appreciated the fact that people did this for me, but I needed food.  I wasn’t cooking.

Larry had dismantled my kitchen the weekend before he had his stroke.  I had no real appetite, and I had no desire to cook.

I thought my love of cooking would come back.  It has not.  I am fine for breakfast and lunch; dinner ends up in the trash.

It doesn’t hit the trash every night, but there are many nights where it does, and I want to be able to sit down to dinner and eat as I used to eat because I like my cooking.

I can’t.

It’s time to take it to my therapist.  When I left therapy on Monday, we were pretty sure I would only need one more A.R.T. session and that was the one dealing with holidays. 

Then I realized I need therapy for dinner.

Larry stroked right after dinner.  In fact, dinner was still on the table.

Larry was also my prep chef.  Almost every meal I created had him at my side slicing, chopping, mixing, and we would drink wine, laugh, and every meal was a date night.

I will work through this in therapy and trust that it will work because it has worked on my other trauma issues.

I miss cooking. I miss cooking with Larry.