Vita et Amissio: A Collection of Works on Life & Loss

Vita et Amissio: A Collection of Works on Life & Loss

Author’s Memo

Through all of the things that separate us, race, geography, religion, politics, economics, there is one universal experience that transcends all barriers, that breaks through all that works to separate us as a collective species: love.

Familial love, romantic love, platonic love, unrequited love, lost love, secret love. Every human being has likely felt love in some capacity at some point in their lives, and with the privilege of loving someone or something comes the inevitable consequences of loss, heartbreak, and grief. The beauty of love is not in its loud proclamations of togetherness, security, nor in the grandiose romantic gestures often seen fictionalized in nearly every love story written or viewed on screen. The beauty of love is in its briefness, its temporariness; in the fact that, one day, it will be gone. Perhaps it will fade, perhaps it will go unreturned, perhaps it will pass away, perhaps it was never truly there at all. In those brief moments where humans are lucky enough to share love with someone, there exists an invisible connection between everyone, everyone who has ever loved at all.

There exists, in the world today, such a need to find something different, something to scoff at, turn a nose up at, or rebuff, when there should exist a longing for sameness, for similarity, for something shared between two strangers that bridges the gap between enemy and friends, stranger and acquaintance, friend and foe. Love, loss, heartbreak, grief, are all feelings felt universally at one point or another. Find the common ground, seek out the stories others have to tell, offer an ear to someone who needs it, and perhaps the world won’t always feel so small.

By Christopher Beloch for Unsplash

Vita et Amissio: A Collection of Works on Life & Loss


Work 1-Haunted House

I can still smell you

Coffee and apples and newspaper ink

I can still feel you

Callused fingertips and soft palms

The way your touch faltered

Ever so briefly

Floating over scars that were here before you

Leaving invisible scars in new places

The crook of my neck

The curve of my spine

The jut of my collarbone

I can still hear you

The way you said my name in the morning

The way you whispered it at night

Like a secret

Like a dream

I can still sense you

Your warm breath at the back of my neck

Your fingertips counting the notches of my spine

Arms and legs and thick air and damp bed sheets

Your mouth making promises your eyes couldn’t keep

I can still see you

Furrowed brow and cracked knuckles

Crooked smiles and hollow eyes

But the room is empty

The absence of you hangs in the air

Like a vapor

A noxious cloud

A humid Georgia summer

It is dense and heavy

But you are gone

You who took everything

You who gave nothing

And I look around and see all traces of you

Pieces left behind

Like keepsakes in a hurricane

But you are a ghost

An echo in an empty room

Storm clouds after the rain

A  mirage in the desert

When all I needed

Was water

Work 2-Morning Coffee

Shadows of memories dance on the walls

Their incandescent condescension

Mingling with the peeling wallpaper

Stained with cigarette smoke

And unspoken words

Shadows of memories that we yearn to remember

But wish we could forget

You sit across from me

Reading the paper

Or just looking at it

I can never tell anymore

Your mouth is a straight line

Cracked with lines thick and deep

Pursed lips hide words I won’t ever hear

The silence stretches between us

A captain lost at sea

A wife marooned on an island

Ships passing in a storm

Dark, waves roaring, but we stand still

We’ve grown to live in the darkness

To prosper in the silence

I forgot to butter your toast

But you don’t notice

Or maybe you do

But you stay silent, your face unchanging

Your tie is crooked

I would have fixed that for you

Some time ago

Ask you how your morning is

And pretend not to miss the days when you would answer

“Wonderful, dear,” “Brilliant, dear”

With a smile

But now I watch you sit in your resolute quietness

As you suck in a sigh of complacency

Of defeat

And I pour the cream into my coffee

Watch as it floats on top

One last fruitless chance for escape

Before it sinks down to the bottom

Leaving nothing

Nothing but black

Work 3-I Have Never Seen the Snow

I have never seen the snow

Never stuck my tongue out to taste its tears

Never felt winters cold fingers

Leave traces of whispers

At the back of my neck

Never drawn in the smell of her

So pure and clean



I have never seen the snow

And I wonder

What it is I’ve been living for

All these years

Tirza Van Dijk for Unsplash

Three Little Pills

i take two pills at night

And one in the morning

Just to be able to think straight

And it’s in those moments

Between the second pill and the third

When i wonder

If You ever loved me at all

Or if i just misread

Every signal

Or maybe there were no signals

And i just read into every

Single little thing You did

To convince myself

That somewhere deep down

You loved me back

Because if You don’t love me

How am i supposed to

Love me

And i toss and turn

Take in the absence of You

Like an alcoholic

With no drink

A gambler with

An empty hand

And it’s in those moments

When the darkness takes over

And the silence is too loud

When i lay awake waiting for morning

But i don’t know why

Because i don’t want it to be morning

That i wonder

If anyone will ever love me

The way that i thought you

Loved me

Or am i destined to lay here

In the darkness

In the silence

Stretching on like an endless

Sea of want and need and misery

And hope and loss




For the pills to kick in


Featured Image by Engin Akyurt for Unsplash

Heart Balloons by Christopher Beloch for Unsplash

Pink Rose in a vase by Tirza Van Dijk for Unsplash

Learn More

New to autoethnography? Visit What Is Autoethnography? How Can I Learn More? to learn about autoethnographic writing and expressive arts. Interested in contributing? Then, view our editorial board’s What Do Editors Look for When Reviewing Evocative Autoethnographic Work?. Accordingly, check out our Submissions page. View Our Team in order to learn about our editorial board. Please see our Work with Us page to learn about volunteering at The AutoEthnographer. Visit Scholarships to learn about our annual student scholarship competition.

My name is Alexandra, though I mostly go by Alex, or Aly if you're family. I currently live in Sacramento, CA, and though I spend my days as a research and data analyst, my true passion has always been for writing.
I have a bachelors degree in Psychology, but am currently pursuing further education in Film Studies. My goal has always been to spend my life creating stories and characters that others can relate to, and perhaps see a bit of themselves in.
Creating stories based on authentic representations of those I've encountered, those I've loved, those I've hated, and those I hope to love is truly what brings me the most happiness.