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.

Friday, July 10, 2009

dark secrets and the man from the sun

someone once loved me, for as long as he could, he loved me. you'd have to know me to comprehend the magnitude of that statement. i've never been loved before. yes, my children love me but i took care of them, i protected them, i guided them and then let them go to live their lives. yes, i had parents but they didn't love me, not like you think parents should or can. i wasn't what they wanted. to my father, i was a female, not a son. to my mother, i wasn't a cheerleader-flirt-most popular blonde in school type of girl. i was a philosopher, someone who studied life and all the minute details that make it what it is, both good and bad. i walked looking either straight down for beautiful rocks, or straight up at clouds, rainbows, birds. my imagination lent itself to wondering what tribe of fairies lived in flowers growing out of the moss rather than what purse went with what outfit. i was a disappointment and she told me so quite often. all the way to her deathbed. "you're not what i wished for; not exactly."

i'm not what anyone would wish for. my first husband saw in me a gentle soul who kept CPA perfect ledgers, a clean house, "did art" for extra money, was a great mother, and an asset in the intelligence department. i wasn't good enough at cooking, driving, sweeping a broom (don't ask), or anything else a wife does. He didn't like me in that way. Humiliation. Absolute Humiliation. you can't possibly know unless you've stood and been angrily lectured to not touch someone because you're not good at it. there it is out on the table. it's only one of my terrible secrets but been one of the darkest, one of the ones that hurt the most. and now it's out of me after all these years of silence. i spent decades knowing i wasn't good enough, of being unworthy of being taught. i had years of criticism and my own self-hatred being laid at my feet one brick at a time. i had taken each brick and built a circular tower wall around me that keeps everyone out so they won't be disgusted, but it also keeps me inside, safe from anymore harsh revelations.

and then i met my Marine. and i was good enough to be seen with, talk to, hold hands with, to touch, and most of all, to love. i was loved for who i was. i was loved for my mind, my heart, my spirit. what i said had value. what i thought was important. what i felt was even more important. he loved me and i wasn't alone in the world. he found a way in and brought me out into the sunlight. it's a metaphor but it's also the truth. his smile, his eyes - the way he looked at me. it was like he was a man who came from the sun and brought it's light to me. he loved me. i hope he still does. he was always this broad-shouldered silhouette back lit by the sun, bringing it to me, making it shine on me, and warming me. because of him people saw that i existed.

and then it ended, abruptly. i look in the mirror and see who i am now since his death. i remember who i was before. i also know who i could have been before, from when i was a little girl who had her own dreams and the confidence to think they would come true. i didn't take the wrong road or make a wrong turn. i did nothing wrong except be wrong. i wasn't good enough compared to the daughter someone wanted, the mother someone came from. i wasn't prepared for how life was going to turn out and for how hard it was going to be from the start.

i have a fantastic sense of humor that only my children know about, and my Marine. he got it out of me. he saw me for what i could have been, was meant to be. there’s always one in any room, the one who smiles but says little. i am the one you see across the room at a party who is nothing if not polite, but pays no respect. i'm the quiet one with eyes that take it all in, that hide unspoken opinions. my Marine loved my opinions. i could make him laugh until his sides hurt. no one who knew me from before ever knew i had it in me. i can be caustic. i can be lethal with tongue and pen. especially pen. the sharpest, most permanent weapon.

my husband was the only one who wanted to hear my voice. he said he liked the timbre of it. he said i sounded like Suzanne Pleshette and looked like Candace Bergen. i would laugh and clean his glasses. but i would laugh.

there is this scene in the film Titanic in which the wonderful actress, Gloria Stewart who plays the elderly Rose, says, "he save me, in every way a person can save someone." my Marine did that for me. he saved me. and now he's gone. he died just when i was out of the brick tower, just when i thought that, though life had been so bad for the first 40 years, it had saved the best for last for me. well, it only gave me a taste.

i don't talk a lot now. only when my daughter calls, or my son. i wonder if my voice will completely disappear from lack of use. i wonder if what's left of me will start to fade away, like a ghost when someone gets too close. i wonder if there will be any sign that i had ever been here since i've left no real mark on the world. i have my children and they are leaving their mark so in a way i can stand off to the side on that one. but as for being remembered for something? only he would have remembered me. my passing would only have affected him. i think back to his funeral and see all the people who came. then i superimpose my funeral and see only him and my two children sitting there. i kid you not. there is no one that i mean enough to, friend to grieve or foe to dance, for anyone to come. no one knows who i am. no one knows me at all.

no one knows me at all. i'm womanNshadows. i'm sitting just outside the tower wall, by the door, looking for his silhouette against the sun but finding only darkness. how can i endure a lifetime of darkness after having had that one shining moment in the sun, after finally knowing what it feels like to be loved?


Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Thank you, Marine, for helping break down that brick wall. Thank you, widowhood, although you are rude and mean, for bringing me my wonderful friend, WomanNShadows. The world needs to see her light. She's going to be happy out here. We'll help.

I never knew you, Marine, but I love you for loving her and for seeing her strength.



womanNshadows said...

thank you Supa. and our talk on the phone still resonates for me. we'll have to plan on doing it again soon.

Ann said...

I found your blog from a comment you left on another's blog. Your wound is still so fresh, but you articulate it so very well. I only relatively recently started seeking out blogs on widowhood although I have now been widowed for three years. You are brave beyond belief to share yourself this way.

Your thoughts about your husband are so similar to mine. I too found the love of my life in my second husband who I was married to for only 14 months before he passed. He is still in my every thought and always will be. He brought me back to life as your Marine did for you.

And I thought I was the only one. . .

We are not alone!

womanNshadows said...

hello, Ann. i'm glad you found me.

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