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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

the bell in the fog

i just got an email from a woman who was reaching out to me. a stranger who gave me her phone number in case i wanted to talk. i do and i don't. what do i say to an absolute stranger? a face i've not seen? i walked to the Loew's that is about a mile down the road one morning for a larger clay pot for my lavender and i broke down to the checkout clerk. for a moment i couldn't find my debit card. i panicked and she was very sweet, a woman close to my own age whose husband worked in the lumber department there but whose sister lived with them, moved in after her husband was killed in a convenience store robbery.

i found the debit card and admitted i was a recent widow for whom little things break me. still. probably will for a while. i'm so poor. so broke. and i work so hard for the little i earn off the quilts and things.

so the reaching out email caught me by surprise. i loved that someone saw how badly off i am doing emotionally and i want to call, but i cry so much. it would be pointless. and there is nothing, nothing they can do for me. and the link that was offered up to a blog that has taken off. so many have huge amounts of followers. they write of friends and family, of whom, "without them i wouldn't have survived this." i have to be honest, completely honest here and say to read things like that brings a bitter laugh. my life has been so much less. and yet i'm still here. so much bad and yet, like that scene in Steve McQueen's film Papillon where he says, "I'm still here, you bastards," i'm still here. but i'm also still getting backhanded, still getting hurt. Job, from the Book of, and i should get together and talk.

two things.

one, my ex-husband is now back on the peripheral of my life and cranking up for the rest of my life, to control, to verbally slap me. in contact with him for financial help for my daughter's wedding. deals with the devil. not even the devil. that's too much credit. he's the ground maggot on the hoof of the devil but he's the one i have to work with. i don't bother with hating him. that, again, gives him too much credit. God, the strings attached to that money and when i read Split Second Single Father's words, and other widowers words for their daughters, i weep for my own. she is a wonderful, beautiful girl. young woman. she wants her step-father back as much as i do. our Marine. my husband. it is so unfair to take him now when the demon is still so near.

two, there is a woman from my husband's high school who found his name on who is hounding me. i've blocked her from every angle but she keeps popping up like a rat finds a way inside a house. she's had one of her friends contact me. she's tried to "befriend" my husband on facebook and myspace. i keep both those sites up because i get contacted by his former Marine mates through there. i block, block, block. but it's her words before i realized what she was. "we were engaged before he went off to Vietnam. i'm sorry you have to tell me, a stranger to you, but not to him, that he has died. we meant so much to each other......." she found him after he died. why she's doing this i'll never know. it's been almost 40 years. she saw his picture on myspace. she was wanting so reconnect. she'd missed him. she knew a wife somewhere had been mentioned in connection with him......... the melodrama. i don't have the time or energy. i also don't have the strength. nor do my tear ducts. why this gets to me i can't explain. why i cry, again, no idea. i'm just low right now. really, really low. i'm treading water as it is and i don't need this weight. and to tell me to "snap out of it, forget her," would be a low blow. i'm trying to dismiss it as a woman off her meds. i block. i'll keep blocking. i don't read anymore.

i know of her. my husband told me of his life, childhood stories, of being drafted his senior year in high school. of worrying he would go to Vietnam and be killed. he told me he'd asked a girl to marry him and had been engaged all of two months before logic took over. he wanted a career in the Marines. he didn't want Vietnam but it was part of being a Marine and he was going because it was his duty. she had told him she hated the military and wanted him to quit. you don't quit the draft. anyway, they broke up and he went to Vietnam for three tours, and had a lifetime in the Marines.

Me? i love him. i have an enormous amount of respect for the Marines. i am proud to say, "my husband is a Marine, Force Recon." he is my hero.

but the fog is all around me now. i don't know which way to go so i'm not going anywhere. my beloved is gone. there is no hand holding mine on this beach, or in this tumultous water. i feel like i've gotten so lost that i'm probably fighting it too hard, trying to find footing, even if it's shifting sand. i'm on constant watch against my ex-husband. i'm having to play an old, old game of "you're not going to hurt her, hurt me instead. i'm the one you want to hurt." i hate that game. i played it for 20 years until i could get away. i'm angry that my Marine had to die. everyone knows that when the situation is hopeless you call in the Marines. i need him.

i got a phone number from a stranger who offered an ear. a woman from my husband's 18th year is wildly hounding me with her love for him that she never got over.

the fog is close all around me and i don't know where to turn. my grief for him, my memories of his smiles and his love are the only real things in my life right now.

there is a story of a blind man who would swim in the ocean while his wife stayed onshore ringing a bell for him to hear so he could return safely to the beach. he swims and swims, confident in that bell and his own independence. blindness will not keep him from doing what he loves. he tires and pauses, treading water. he listens for the bell and hears its comforting sound. he swims towards that sound. ding. ding. ding. it's closer now. the water is getting choppy now and he realizes he's swum for a long time. but the bell sounds a little inconsistent. his wife must be as tired of ringing the bell as he is of swimming. so with renewed energy, love for his wife, confidence in that sound coming through the fog of his blindness, he swims on towards the mile marker in the channel.


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