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.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cellophane Woman

i got my first comment on blogspot.  someone knows i’m here.  i wish to thank Split-Second Single Father for his kind words.  and i’m in a category all my own.  he has “young widows,” “young widows with small children,” “young widowers with small children,” “young widows with teens,” and “young widowers with teens.”  i’m “yet more widow/ers.”  it seems the whole world is crying as one category or another.  and, though i have not yet managed to read every blog,” most seem to write with a candle lit against the darkness. mine keeps blowing out.

i sometimes feel like i’m made of cellophane.  that is why i was so shocked to see a comment and to start a category all my own.  i’m that easily overlooked or i’m else that well trained; to bow my head and take it.  my husband had just about given me back my self-worth.  i felt so alive and, the only word is valued.  he valued me.  i don't see feeling that way ever again.  maybe it's just that i'm so down now.  everything hurts.  physically, i hurt.

my daughter is engaged.  his mother is a trained ER-experienced physician’s assistant.  my daughter has a great relationship with her future mother-in-law and talked to her about me.  she was excited to meet me.  that’s the parenthetical information, now for the background.

i broke my hand – two knuckles with bone fragments floating - and with no health insurance, was refused help.  thank you, Massachusetts.  i was taped with that white athletic tape and sent home.  my husband was furious.  we didn’t have the full amount but tried to set up a payment plan.  we were told to go home and call to set that up before service could be rendered as it was not life threatening.  never got done.  working within a system within a system was demoralizing and frustrating.  by the time we had all the money they wanted from us to “pay up front,” we suddenly needed more because my bones had started healing wrong and needed to be re-broken.  back to going home and having to call to re-establish a payment plan as per our budget.  now back to the future, or the present.

my daughter told her future mother-in-law about my hand and she was appalled.  yes, she would take a look at it, bring me to dinner.  so my first night out in my new city, not quite three weeks after becoming a widow, was to meet my daughter's future mother-in-law and her husband, have dinner in her home.  “so you’re a widow now.  you’re still young.  you’ll find someone else.”  without touching my hand she diagnosed “probably arthritis setting in. so do you want wine?  you know, my brother’s divorce is final now and he’s ready to move on.  when you’re ready, let me know.”

my daughter didn’t know what to say to me on the way back to my apartment.  i wasn’t expecting free service.  i wasn’t expecting her to do anything for me that would tax her good will.  i did, however, hope for some empathy, a suggestion or two, the name of a free clinic or sliding scale health clinic.

“if you want to be seen by someone, you should just get some health care and go.  there are some really great doctors here.”

ah, yes, health care.  even now all i can do is chuckle.  i am an artist.  i haven’t been able to get a “real” job here.  where i am is number 10 in the nation for unemployment, 350 teachers and faculty are being let go in June, and college students are flooding the city looking for summer jobs.  all of these people are younger, happier, and have more energy than an older, "other widow" with no car.

so i create.  i cover my hand with the generic of Ben-Gay and wrap it.  and i right now, i'm getting commissions for sewing.  i'm making ends meet, barely.  but i can't afford health care.  my husband would cry if he knew how it is for me now.  he would be so angry for me and he would try to "work a miracle" as he'd always tried before.  soldiers don't earn a great deal of money.  even combat pay is less than what you'd expect.  for a man who could do what he did, be sent where he was sent, and asked to sacrifice that part of his soul, he wasn't paid much.  but i hear Madonna just bought another home, spent $40 million and that's not including her renovations.  and yeah, i know the woman is known for carrying a tune.  but can she sneak into a rebel camp and rescue hostages?  

and bitterness blows out the candle.  sorry.

back to the out-law.  i also do not want to date her brother.  i don't want to date at all, to think of dating, to consider dating. i don’t want anyone but him, my husband.  he is magic.  you don’t get that twice.  i wasn’t made of cellophane in his eyes.  he saw me.  and that was all I ever wanted.


Split-Second Single Father said...

It seems that widow/ers of any age are an anomoly. People are anxious for us to "get over it", find someone else, and move back into the "normal" (coupled) world. I feel sad for these people. I can't help but assume that they are not loving their significant others the way some of us who've lost ours do/did.

I hope that I did not offend you by not adding "young" to your category. Initially I was just going to profile young widow/ers with kids, then I started finding blogs of young widows without children, and now one with grown children... there are just too many of us out here, but I'm glad we're blogging and finding each other. The categories were to make it easy for people to find other bloggers with the most similarities. But as it turns out, I've learned as much from people in other "categories" as I have the ones who are most like me. I went with "yet" to keep the categorical alliteration, but I would be happy to change it to Young Widows with Adult/Grown Children if you'd like...

One more thing-I liked the Mr. Cellophane reference. It was a good comparison and people who've seen Chicago will really appreciate it.

womanNshadows said...

i was not offended in any way by your not calling me young. i haven't been young in a very long time. i turned 51 in January and though i've been told i look 5 or 6 years younger, that was before my husband's death. i look and feel much, so much older - my opinion anyway. it's not the years but the mileage as they say. i was thankful to be noticed.

i am glad to find someone who agrees with my feelings of not wanting to "get back out there." people who deeply love their spouses as i do my husband, and as you and those in your network write about, cringe at the thought. i know that, though older than you, but a rookie to widow(er)hood, i believe my feelings will not change on this. he was a force of nature and forever changed my views on men. he was unique in all the world.

the film Chicago - i felt such empathy for that character and the actor who portrayed him did a fine job. i love that song, the way it was staged. it came to mind during my mutterings above.

thank you for continuing to reach out to me. it is most assuredly appreciated and you and your daughter are very much in my prayers. after reading your words i know she is blessed with you as her father. speaking as one who raised a daughter as well as a son with, at best an uncaring father, they found their "dad" in my Carl. i've seen both sides of the coin in men. a woman's greatest fear is dying and leaving her children with a bad father. of all the worries mothers can have, seeing you through your writings, i feel sure your wife did not have that particular fear.

take care and thank you

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