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, August 24, 2009

hard dreaming, mortality, Split-Second Single Father, and Widower Howe

the first photo is because of something Split-Second Single Father wrote and my story of the photo I'll get to in a minute.

my sleeping habits have gone to H-E double L since my Dragon died. i am in physical pain from arthritis and from stress. i ache more now for reasons i will only tell you are this: he's gone and everything is magnified.

i have been working myself so very hard on the Memory Quilts and the sewing for my daughter's wedding. i told myself that on his birthday, back on August 5th, and on our wedding anniversary, back on August 11th, that i would take a break and work on my own Husband Quilt, try to get it finished for myself through both those days, but i didn't touch it. the top is done and i showed it to chillingwithlemonade when she stopped by for her pillow and grey sock dog but, well, i haven't finished it yet. it's become more wall art that a true wrap-around me quilt. i'll take all his t-shirts and make me one of those later on. but back to the reason for taking a break to write.

i was exhausted and took a short nap, a "snap" if you will, after eating lunch while working with Photoshop on my daughter's wedding program. (see, i can multi-task with the youngest of them.) now i've taken "snaps" before but this one is the first one where i woke myself up crying. i heard a sound and thought it was one of my Scotties but, it was me. crying. for the Dragon.

i was disoriented after i woke up but somehow through my dreams i'd figured out how to make my daughter's wedding gloves. on the aside, has anyone had to price lace wedding gloves yet? oh my stars above. they cost that much, all the stars above. (note to Split-Second Single Father - start saving.) i woke up with it all figured out - how to make them from my old wedding veil. "something old."

but in my disorientation i felt waves of panic. when i die, wait, what if i die very soon? before i get it all done? and then i thought, what if i can't find him? it was wave upon wave of panic and not the good waves of warm ocean water that can bring about bliss. these were frightening crashes over my fragile psyche and i cried so hard i gave myself a headache. stupid. so stupid to my rational mind and yet, when it comes to missing my Dragon, i'm emotional. all emotion. hence the second photo. i took it solely for this day's writing. as with the third photo.

my Dragon, had be been here, would have comforted me. he would have catered to my iced tea-aholicism and then finger-combed my hair. he would have sat with me and held my hand and talked to me. he always knew i suffered from an overly creative mind. a curse and a blessing. it helps me create things but it also takes me down very dark roads. "she's insane? she's an artist? ahhhh. therein lies the answer."

now for the first photo. this one is for all of us and the catalyst comes from Split-Sec. Single Father and also from criticism i've received for "not getting over it" as fast as some think i should. i should be "further along." well, since i cannot curse here, then i say "go away. i don't need you and here's the story of Widower Howe."

the Widower Howe lived in the town where i lived during the majority of my 20 years with my first husband. it is a rural little town in southern New Hampshire with lots of cows, horses, apple orchards, and a feed store. the center of town had the general store called the "Common Cracker," the library, the Feed Store, the church where 3 faiths alternated services every weekend, and then the fancy, rich people's houses. around the center of town no building is younger than 75 years old.

Widower Howe and his wife Esther were born in the same month in the same hospital in the neighboring larger city. they grew up 1/2 a mile apart and married when they were both 21, her father's request. she gave him 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls and died in 1947 from a sudden and unknown heart condition. Widower Howe was understandably bereft. seventeen years of marriage and at the age of 38, he was alone to finish raising their children.

by that time, though he was a prosperous man having bought into the only feed store in town called, yes, you got it, The Feed Store. he owned it outright and was an expert on grasses, grains, and food for horses and cattle. you could get dog food and supplies there and on the side he had taught his sons carpentry and two of them went into business together starting with bird houses and eventually going into building homes for people. one of his sons was a United States Marine who was killed in Korea. his daughters married boys there in town and never lived far from him. basically he had all his children close and kept his Marine son's ashes on the mantle along with his flag and photograph all the time i knew of it. now his eldest daughter has carried on the tradition.

Widower Howe, for that's how he got to be called, never remarried. he never dated. he never tried. women tried, but his eyes were only on the horizon. that's what one of the old men who sat "cutting wood" on the porch of The Feed Store would say. ("i don't whittle, i cut wood with my pocket knife." though i did ask to buy a little bird he "cut." he gave it to me for simply noticing him in a kind way. sweet old man. - you can see why i loved this town.) "Widower Howe keeps his eyes on the horizon for that's where she is a'waitin'."

when he died in 2004, my Dragon and i went, along with the entire town, to Widower Howe's funeral. the pastor who spoke said, "Widower Howe is 95 years old and for each one of those years, he was a kind and gracious man who always took care of his family and friends. he extended credit when times were hard and he carried folks for longer than their own relatives would. Widower Howe never got over the untimely death of his beloved Esther, but we can all take comfort that he's joined her now. he was lonely for 57 years. Widower Howe is lonely no more."

i want to find my Dragon like i like to believe, along with everyone else, that Widower Howe found his Esther. i want to be back in his arms again. i want to rest and sleep safe with his great and strong wings surrounding me. i want his breath on my neck and his whispered words in my ear.

i want to quietly grieve for him and wait for him with the same courtesy that all of that tiny, rural town allowed Widower Howe to grieve and wait for his wife. we say very often that "no one gets it." they don't have to "get it." they just need to "leave it alone."


Ann said...

One month ago, I would have agreed 100%. I wanted nothing more than to sit back and wait for heaven and my sweetheart. And then, I was given a gift. A man, a widower, came into my life. Without looking for it, both of us have found reason to hope again. It was completely unexpected and all I can say is never say never.

Widow in the Middle said...

I too, will add that you just never know what the Universe has planned for your future.

But with that said, I totally sympathize with your feelings right now. You have a right to be where you are and no one should criticize that. I believe that we all know what is best for ourselves and we should be respected for the decisions we make.

Over the years, I have been dumbfounded at the amount of criticism I've faced, especially about parenting decisions I've made as an "only" parent. I always thought that people would be more patient, tolerant and kind toward widows but that has certainly not been my case. In fact, I found people often more critical and demanding of me. How difficult it is to be in a diminished state and having to always justify yourself.

Anyway, like you said about people just needing to let us be - trust your heart to lead you where you need to go. You're getting feedback from others through the blogger network and can take what fits for you, gain from other perspectives and leave behind that which doesn't seem right.

I have to add that it upsets me that people have thought you need to be "getting over it" faster. What do they expect of you just six months following your husband's death? To be living it up at a singles dance? to be not talking about your Dragon as much? There was a good blog post today on the topic of how everyone needs to grieve at their own pace at Rosehip or Prune?

womanNshadows said...

congratulations to you. i pray your lives together are peaceful and long.

i'm not saying never. however, i know that no one can come close to the man my Dragon is or what he meant to me. it was hard enough to explain the physical scars on my body from an abusive first marriage to him let alone have to face going through it again with someone else. my Dragon healed me. there can be no one i trust like i trusted him.

judemiller1 said...

Gettint over it? You will never get over will just learn to live with it...a tad bit easier month after month.

Split-Second Single Father said...

Thank you for sharing the story of the Widower Howe. It gives me hope and a sense of normalcy. As you've read in my recent posts, people assume when you're widowed under 30 (or 40 or 50 for that matter) that you are automatically going to remarry at some point, and sooner rather than later. That's not to say I never will, but where's the harm in me (or you) taking my time to grieve? The world doesn't see things the way we do. Until they are forced to see it that way through their own loss, however untimely.

Your ending to this entry could not have been more appropriate (and what an amazing town you must have lived in!).

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