how did i get here?

my husband, my beautiful Dragon, died suddenly at 12:03 AM on 9 February 2009. there was a cold, lovely full moon and 3 feet of snow on the ground. i "slept" for the following 10 months and "woke" to the physical and emotional pain and torments of deep grief. i "woke" to find i had moved the day of his funeral and that i am lost. i am looking for me while i figure out the abstract, unanswerable questions that follow behind any death. my art has evolved. his death changed that as well because i am forever changed and will forever bear the mark of losing the only man i can ever love.
there is alive and there is dead and there is a place in between. i am here wholly in my heart for my children, but i feel empty inside at this time. i miss him. i have not gotten very far in my grief journey. i make no apologies for this.
this is my place, my blog, where i write to tell the universe that i am still here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

sanctuary

i am starting the move to my sanctuary.
i have pictures.
i'm painting it and making it my own.


 the walls of the stairwell will be lavender.

my street.

i'll be moving in by August 1st.

i am in love with this space, with the yard, the street,
the peace and quiet.
i will post more photos as i get moved in.

i just wanted anyone who still reads this blog to know
that i am doing this; that this is my choice.
this is part of my journey to find a place for me that is all mine.

i got the transfer to the new store.
my fingers are crossed for a gentler life.
for a quieter life.
for a less stress-filled life.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

change in the air

there are changes in the air for me.  the possibility of chances to do different, be different.
okay, not really be different but to live differently.
i went on a job interview that looks promising.
we'll see.  it's a process.

i am waiting to see if i can transfer to a different store, a store closer to me.

i am going to really try to play a bit of golf here and there.

it's something i really like to do.

and i have the opportunity to move to a different place, a cheaper place.

i'll have to do all this when the time presents itself.
nothing can be hurried.
i want to make the right decision.
i want to make a good decision for myself.
i want to live more simply and try to start saving money.
the apartment is over someone's garage.
and it would be much smaller and considerably cheaper,
and a lot more private.
i'm going to go look at it on Monday evening.
i'm excited about it.

i got to see my son again.
today.
he is working the U.S. Open {he works for the Golf Channel}.
he got me a ticket to get in.
he got a bit of time off to show me around.
he drove us in a golf cart to some exclusive areas that he, by virtue of the Golf Channel,
could get us into.
it was very nice.
he was so proud to be able to do this for me.
i was just so happy to be with him.
i love him beyond words.
he and my daughter are my everything.

my longing for my Dragon is still there though.
it is a quieter longing.
it is a soft whisper when i am alone.
it is the sigh from my lips in a silent room.
the television is off.
the lights are low for sleep.
it is the heavy awareness that he is so far removed my where i am now.
or i am so far from where he was, where we were when he died.
and my heart breaks a little bit more.
 
i'm fine.  i have some chances here to make my situation a little better,
and i will be grateful and content.
but i still miss him.
i wish he were here to share in this with me.
he's gone.
he died.
and i accept that.
but i worry about him.
{not a crisis of faith, just being human}
i love him very much.
i miss him.
i miss our marriage.
i miss our friendship.
yes, still.

there is a change in the air.
i am hoping and, yes, praying, that things work out for me.
i really need them to.
but wherever i go,
whatever changes take place,
or don't take place,
i still love him and feel married to him.
i'm not looking to make any changes in that area of my life.

summer is here again, my love.
and i still love you. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

time

there is nothing to stop time and life from moving on.
certainly not grief.
life just keeps going.
bills must be paid.
chores must be done.
you just do it while you hurt.

the thing now is to find the smiles,
the tiny things that make the passing of time,
the moving away from the moment of his death,
the realization that my life is forever changed,
those things that make me okay ~ for the time being.

she could be any young mother holding her baby looking out the window.
it could be from any time period.
i took it today while i was over visiting her and my grandson.
she is my baby.  my oldest child.
all grown up.
time passed.
i turned around and she grew up.
she married.
she is now a mother.
the little girl with the long, tangled hair who
loved to wear tutus over her jeans and sang so loudly to our dog
had left me for a time as she did all the adult things of college, work, getting married.
she was as gone as if she walked into the forest to never come back.
but i see her again
as she discovers the magic of being young again.
she sings to her son.
she holds him and cuddles him.
she talks to him about ducks and flowers and ladybugs.
 she sings the songs i used to sing to her and her brother.
she carries him around and doesn't put him down for a nap,
but lets him nap on her,
as i used to do her and her brother.
she says she remembers how i was when she was little
and she wants to do the same thing for her son.
i got teary.
we hugged and she asked me to teach her the words to a song she remembers the tune to but not the words.
so i taught it to her today.
that's what she was singing when i took the photo of them.

time will pass.
the sun will rise and it will set
all without him here.
but he is here with me.
i don't feel him near as in a presence.
i simply acknowledge to my quiet life that i love him.
and always will.

i work a lot and very hard.
but when i am home, i read, sew, and do it all while sitting with my lovely, furry roommates.
this is how we roll.
comfy on the sofa.
together.
snuggle buddies.
 but again i can see the passing of time; that cold, careless, unsympathetic torturer of relationships.

my gentle Scootie Wootums is getting older.  i can see his soft little face getting whiter.
he can't leap like he used to.
he likes to lay in the sunshine so that the warmth seeps into his bones.
 i understand that kind of pain.
i hurt deep in my back.
i hurt deep in my arms, my hands, and my knees are failing.
but i cannot stop working.
i have to provide for myself.

my sweet Carmen Sophia is getting older as well.  she and Scootie are litter mates.
they have only been separated once.
they were sold to different homes as puppies and grieved for each other.
they were returned to the breeder because they refused to eat.
once together again, they were happy.
i was called because i was on the list as a rescuer of dogs, given mostly senior dogs who were abandoned due to age.
so i took them in as puppies and have had the privilege of being in their lives all their lives.
and now, they are both older than i am.
time marches on and it's crushing me to see them get old.
i know what's coming.
so i take pictures.
i have so many pictures over our years together.
i love these dogs like i've loved no other that i have had in my life.
and i have deeply loved all my dogs.
i do not know how i will handle their passing.
but i will have to find a way.

time is not an enemy.  it simply is.
i try every day to appreciate the few who remain in my life.
i adore my Carmen Sophia and Scootie Wootums.
and i adore my daughter, my son, and my grandson.
time will pass and i will grow old.
but i have them.
and they make time worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

the years not spent together

i miss him.
i don't know if other widows or widowers; others who have lost their mate, their partner, do this, but i see other couples and i feel a twinge of, not envy, but longing.
i miss him.
it doesn't happen often, but i sometimes see couples who are truly mated.  perfect partners in life.
there is an obvious bond between them and i know they are a match.
like he and i were.
and all the feelings come rushing back of what we had together and i ache with longing for him.
i want to talk to him again.
i want to hold his hand.
i want to go to the grocery store with him.
simple things.
the everyday things that make up a life with someone.

i miss the years i would have had with him.
i still love him actively.  not passively as in my life is going forward or whatever phrase people use for someone who is ready to go out and actively search for a new partner.
i cannot fathom someone else on our sofa.
i cannot fathom someone else making my tea.
i cannot fathom the touch of someone else when i can still feel his so strongly.
i am thinking that ours was a true love story.

 i am exhausted these days.
i am working very hard and not making ends meet.
gas prices are so very high and i have to drive so very far.
when i get there i am tense and stressed thinking about where my gas needle sits and when i will have to get more of this black gold.

and people who come into the store are, pardon the expression, batshit crazy.
the collection of humanity who walks through our doors are, for the most part, selfish, arrogant, self-serving, hostile, and do not hesitate to show you their bad side.
all of us who work there have our stories of being treated like non-human servants in bondage.
it truly is retail hell.
and the things i see....the way these people treat their children.  it is scary.  i don't believe they realize the impact of their words and actions on these children.

after a long day i....okay, hold that thought.  immediately upon arrival i want to turn around and go home.
i want to go back to my little apartment where my two dogs wait for me.
i want to go back to my life as a hermit.
 i had thought i was lonely and needed a friend.
what i needed was my life as a hermit.
i am not strong anymore.  and i also get so pissed and wish i could say something to someone who treats me like these customers do.
i want to stand on the counter and shout to the entire store:
"i am a human being with a past and a present and a future however small!
i have feelings just as you do!
i have wishes and hopes and i have value!
stop being so mean !!!"
but i don't.  and they continue being mean.
and i stand there and take it and wish i could go home.

making that long drive home i wish he was waiting there for me.
now that the weather is warmer, i keep the radio off and have the windows down so the rush of wind buffets my face.  i see the moon, the stars, the occasional moonlit cloud pass close to that silver disk and i sigh with want.  i love the moon.
it also makes me lonely.  when i talk to him, i will look at the moon.
when i talk to Him, to God, i also look at the moon, as if the moon represents all that i long for.
i long for my husband.  i long to know that i will go to Heaven when i die.
i want peace and quiet.  i want the stress to go away.
i want to feel safe.

but then i get home and they are waiting for me.
i could have been gone 5 minutes or 12 hours; their joy at seeing me never changes, never waivers.
i love my dogs as much as i love my children.
 they are my roommates and my friends,
my confidants and my father confessors.
 we wait together for the time when our little pack is reunited.

so you see, i'm not doing very well, i guess.
i'm the same.
the intensity of the pain is less but it is still there.
memories and longing have replaced it though and my memory is very good.
i feel it all deeply.
and i miss him.
the years we won't have together are no less not spent together.
he is here with me.
i carry him in my heart.


"i carry your heart with me {i carry it in my heart}
i am never without it {anywhere i go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling}
i fear no fate {for you are my fate, my sweet}
i want no world {for beautiful, you are my world, my true}
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
{here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than the soul can hope or the mind can hide}
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart {i carry it in my heart}"
~ e.e. cummings

so you see?  the years we do not have together are still years together.
i love him.  i do not want anyone else.
i have my tiny family.  my children, my grandchild, my dogs.
and i have him.
i carry him in my heart.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

the long, slow goodbye

"every true story ends in death."  ~ ernest hemingway

grief is so very different for everyone.  it is also a very private affair.
it's an affair of the heart and only the person going through it knows how deep the pain goes.

he meant the world to me.  he means the world to me.

i admit i find secret comfort in widow(er)s both fictitious and real who have not moved on,
who have kept their sorrow inside and simply lived on with the memories.
there was a short-lived television show titled "10 things i hate about you."  in it the father character is aggressively, and unsuccessfully, seduced by a divorced woman.  he tells her he is not ready to date; that he is a recent widow.  the woman extends her sympathy and asks him how long it's been.
"7 years."
i loved that.  his face.  his expression.  the soft, lingering love for his dead wife.  he was still wearing his wedding ring.

or Jessica Fletcher of the television show "Murder, She Wrote."  she never dated nor married again.  she had a full life writing her novels, welcoming company to her home, and solving murders all over the globe.

and Betty White. she has been his widow for 34 years.  she's having fun with her acting and her animal charities, yet when she was on Inside the Actor's Studio and she was asked that last question, her answer was so very poignant.
"If heaven exists, what would you want God to say at the pearly gates?"
Betty said, "come on in, Betty.  here's Allen."

i've been told to never say never; that i do not know what's around the bend.
but .....
it's been 5 years and i still feel the same about him.

i will love him forever.
i think this is one of those long, slow goodbyes.


he was so much fun
and he gave me so much.
laughter and joy,
confidence and love,
and the ocean.
he took me to live beside the ocean.
we talked and shared.
we were a true meeting of the minds.
i love him.  he is so dear to me.


a long, slow goodbye.
i think of him quite a lot.
i do still dream of him.
my memories of him are so vivid.
i can hear his voice.
i can hear his laugh.
i feel this deep and abiding connection to him.
it is my most fervent hope and wish that i will be with him when i die.

a long, slow goodbye.
my memories keep me company.
and as i will one day die,
know that this is a true story.

i leave you with the words of a fictitious widow ~ Jessica Fletcher.

"i won't tell you that the hurt will disappear.
it doesn't,
but sooner or later it becomes different.
the pain subsides and the memories take over.
it isn't wonderful,
but it's better."

Saturday, February 8, 2014

five years of grief

five years

it used to burn ~ this grief that i still feel.
it used to burn me up inside.
it was as if someone had started a fire inside me to burn all that i was.
the fire ate away my insides for a long time yet it deliberately stopped short of killing me.
that was it's way of torturing me.
it never finished the job.
i continued to live.

and i got used to the heat.

then grief changed tactics.
it showed me loneliness.
it brought me back into the crowded world where no one notices me.
no one sees my pain.
no one accepts you can grieve after a year, after two and a half years,
after four years.
the world is a place where sympathy stops while the pain continues.
that is loneliness;
when your pain goes unrecognized, or unaccepted.
when you are expected to rejoin a world that fundamentally hasn't changed,
but you have.
i have.
i'm grieving.

and i got used to the loneliness.

it is now five years.
five long years.
grief is introducing me to it's next experience.
i am cold.
i feel chilled inside.
so cold i burn.
i feel detached at times, like i am a spectator to the world.
i am there but not included.
i refuse to be what i not and what i am not is this:
i am not through grieving.
i do not feel comfortable away from my tiny home.
but when i am home i still feel cold.
i can vividly recall his laugh.  i can conjure up an afternoon spent with him.
i can hear his voice in my head, my heart, deep in my soul.
time has taken nothing from my memory.
nothing has faded.
nothing has dimmed.
it is all still there.
but it is like being on the outside looking in on my own life
during that time we were together.
i remember what it felt like being with him but that is the one thing i cannot get back;
that feeling of safety, that feeling of being loved.
so i feel cold.

so i crawl on.

a mental picture of me is this:
imagine meeting a woman who is kind, funny, genuinely easy to be around.
you can tell she is a heartfelt listener and cares about others.
and you listen to her for a brief moment.
her words are soothing, make you smile, make you feel warm inside.
but there is something a bit off about her.
for all her smiles, her eyes seem sad.
even when she looks at you, you can see that her soul is split.
and her voice.
it sounds as if there is another voice speaking in chorus with her.
two voices from one soul.
that is me and my grief talking.
she and i speak simultaneously.
we are no longer separate.
we are a unit; a team.
we are entwined much like he and i were entwined while he lived.

my grief lives inside me or i live inside her.
it depends upon the day.
we color my existence together.
we share my life.
she is company.
i know her very well.
she lets me ask the hard questions and counsels with her silence.

my one and only consolation ~
the night before he died, we made love.
the night he died, i was lying in his arms in bed.
we had said, "i love you" to each other;
not with that peck on the cheek or a quick press of lips that makes a travesty of passion.
it was as it always was between us.
it was a soft, lingering kiss.
it was shared breath.
it was the silent acknowledgement that
"parting is such sweet sorrow"
even if only for sleep.

ten minutes later his body betrayed him.
it began separating his soul from me.
twenty minutes after that we were severed.

but we had that kiss.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

beauty among the ruins

there is a wonderful book by Robert Clark titled "Love Among the Ruins" about two teenagers who fall in love during 1968.  the title has stuck with me for a long time and came around to my mind again shortly after my Dragon died.

and approaching 5 years, which, if you're read the previous couple of missives here, is hitting me pretty hard.
 i love my dogs....
... and my children.....
...and my grandson.

i like sewing.  i would like to get back to painting and making stained glass.  this last quilt commission to finish; which is approaching over 550 hours of work, and i will be free of the pressure of another person's judgement. my time free time off from work will be my own for the first time in 5 years.  i look very much forward to that.

this commission has been huge.  hundreds of hours.  no more compensation for my work. after asking for so much, she now says she is "strapped for money."   i have ended up resenting this commission.  i am finishing this pro bono.  *sigh*  i do not understand as i see her photographs of her and her new husband, the things they get to do, their trips.  but maybe they get those things cheaper than they appear, or they were gifts.  i do not know and should not judge.  it is my duty to finish this quilt and i will do so.
i feel like i am living among the ruins of my life:  a tiny apartment {but it's mine}, a job that takes away a lot of my soul {but i renew it everyday with thoughts of him, my children, my grandson, taking photos of the sky, etc.}, loneliness for him i can do nothing about {i talk to him though, and i talk to God}.

there is beauty among the ruins of my life.  i brought the photo up there under my blog title over from a page from Facebook; a page called Earth Porn.  it reminds me of Van Gogh's painting, "Starry Night."  i made me smile and stare at it, and come back to it.  i think it is beautiful.  had i be fortunate to be present on that day, i would have stayed outside until dark, or the clouds passed.  

there is beauty in the world in the shape of clouds and those of us left behind.

i miss my Dragon so very much.  five years is a long time to be without him.  it's a long time to sit here and know it will be longer before i hope to see him again.  five years of life among the ruins, but there is so much beauty here that i can take in and keep in my memories.
there will be a lot of tell him about when we meet.