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, September 15, 2009

fantasy versus reality

i've had a terrible day. major set-back. been knocked completely off my feet. it involves the ex and an email he wrote to me today that i cannot go into. suffice to say i'm shattered, again. i was starting to find my footing with how it's going to be for me from now on here alone. small apartment. working by sewing for a living. believing that my little Memory Quilts were going to make a difference. and i'd be gaining his help piece mail, but he's jerked the rug out from under me. i read the email 3 times. all i could do was fall onto the bed, curl up with a pillow to my stomach, and sob myself into a terrorized nap, wail for my Dragon to come back and save me, fall further than the mattress into the deepest despair. i want my Dragon to come get me.

but he can't.

fantasy: my Dragon is with me, here. we're surviving a little better than we ever did because the kids are out of college and paying their own way, for the most part. he's working. i'm here sewing for a living. we are together. small dreams. i've never asked for a lot. i only wanted a small home, children, and a man who loves me and whom i love dearly.

we'd have done my daughter's wedding together. he would have been at my side. when the ex proclaimed publicly that he had no words for his father of the bride toast, my Dragon would have stepped up and her shocked embarrassment would have turned to smiles. our Dragon rescues her by showing his devotion.

if anyone got too close, maybe to say something to me, my Dragon would have stepped up to prove that he would be there to hear it all, watching them with that look that only a dragon can give. everyone would have seen and known that i was under his protection. i was his. i belonged to someone great and powerful. maybe not a financial giant, but in the world of claws and evil, in the world where women can get trampled and abused, he was The Dragon, and i belonged to him. his hand would have strayed, often, irreverently, to my tush.

we would have come home together and enjoyed the company of my son and his girl. we would have stood side-by-side the next morning watching them drive away and i would have turned to embrace him. he would have held me tight and whispered in my ear as i cried on his shoulder, "he'll be back for Thanksgiving. we'll have them both for Thanksgiving. come on back inside, baby. let me love you."

reality: i live alone. precariously fragile, suffering over the death of my love, my friend, my soul mate, my husband. i beg the ex for the money he owes me with no recourse if he chooses to withhold it. i work hard sewing, pretending that i and my work is worth something, when all the ex says is, "charge more and i won't have to help you with the bills." even if i was paying for all my own bills right now, he'd still owe me the money.

i'm exhausted. i'm tired. i do wish sometimes that it had been me. the wedding was harder than i even imagined it would be. too many snippy girl complaints that don't mean anything to anyone but me, but yes, things were said. my feelings got hurt. i ignored the jabs. i kept my head down and was very correct in my social behavior. yes, they knew i was hurt. yes, there was laughter. i had no Dragon to turn to, to turn in his arms and feel loved. i was alone.

when the ex told the family and guests waiting at the cake cutting that he didn't have anything to say as father of the bride, i reached into my pocket and brought out my prepared toast, my poem i wrote to her, my backup little speech just in case. and yes, her shocked embarrassment was transformed into smiles as i made a jest at my own expense to distract the unpleasantness surrounding her father's arrogance.

i came home and my son has returned to Florida and i'm alone. and now the email has come that i wish with all my heart i could talk to my daughter about, but she'll be on her honeymoon until Saturday. i'm scared and afraid and terrified. did i mention i am frightened?

i wish he were here. i want him to come back to me and make it all better. he would know what to do. my Dragon would be able to keep the demons at bay. when i was crying on the bed earlier i thought to myself, "it's like he died all over again." the ex makes me see in as many ways as possible how vulnerable i am, how alone i am.

i need him so much now and i can't have him. i can't even call him on the phone to hear his voice or the heavy breathing heavy he'd affect to make me laugh. i need him and i don't know how i'll make it without him. splitting headache from all the crying. my neck is tight and stiff from bending over a quilt i'm hand stitching the borders to and embroidering tonight.

fantasy versus reality. fantasy all the way. i wish i could just crawl under the covers and dream the rest of my life away. dream myself back into his arms. stroke his beard and touch the crinkles beside his eyes. i don't want to be awake. i want to be asleep and then wake up to find i'm with him.

but i have to face this. this is what life has decided i need to endure. why, i don't know. i don't think i'm a bad person. if i was, i think life would be working out better for me. the bad people i know seem to have it all while i get a day like today where i get punched (metaphorically) in the stomach and end up chewing on my hair in the corner. or a night like i did on 9 February when my Dragon stopped breathing forever.

"i'd rather be dreaming than living. living's just too hard to do....."


Suddenwidow said...

My heart is breaking for you. Please know that your quilts DO make a difference. We don't even have ours yet and they are already part of our conversations and our lives. Everyone who knows what you are doing for us thinks the quilts are such an amazing idea. I have to go and put my kids to bed and do some marking for school but please send me an email if you need to touch base with someone. I'm here for you. And I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this crap.

Boo said...

oh oh oh, I wish I was a big hairy biker on a Harley who happened to live in NC ... just for 5 minutes ... long enough to find out the ex's abode so I could pop round and "have a talk" (as Cliff used to call it) with him.

I know what I went through when I was betrayed (trust was misplaced in someone). Our boats are already on such uneven keels that one person's remark or action can actually put us at risk of capsizing ... I too felt worse than I had since the night that Cliff died. The feeling is actually indescribable and I never want to feel like that again.

So my beautiful sister-in-arms, know this. We love you. We are here for you. You are helping to give us comfort with our quilts. To give a gift when you are in pain, is the greatest gift of all. And that's what you do. Day in, day out. You are a good person.

Your ex has an ugly heart. One day he will have to face The Dragon again, and the Dragon's heart will win. I would not want to be your ex on that day. Fantasize about that.

Same offer that Debbie made goes for me. I'll be home at around 22h00 UK time today, so could phone you if you want a friendly voice ...


Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Oh sweetie, your ex is such a jerk!
How can he make you feel small, when we know your power is great? You make us smile, you love others, you give with your artwork... You still associate that power and strength with your dragon, but it's yours, too. Your dragon knew it.

LOVE and hugs,


womanNshadows said...

hi everyone, i'm actually a little better now. my son took charge and called his dad. he told him how it needed to be, what his obligation was, and that went a long way in correcting his dad's behavior to me. i'm not without a man standing up for me. only now, it's my son. my beautiful little boy is a man and i didn't want him to know but he sees more than i realized.

Suddenwidow, it's always a great blessing to talk on the phone and laugh with you. i can hardly wait until next year when you can plan a trip to see me, us, my "sisters" as Boo calls them, here.

Boo, someday i'd love to have the funds to come visit you. i'd love to see where you live. maybe someday. making the quilts gives me a connection to people i never had. it was always me alone, then me under my Dragon's wing. now it gives me a chance to be seen how my Dragon saw me. as someone who cares for other people and can make nice things for them.

Supa, i had to smile at your comment. "my power is great?" i need to find it inside myself. my Dragon was the strength. i was his little shadow, always following, always smiling at him, always worshipful. but your words mirror his. he wanted me to bloom. maybe the quilts are my way to bloom a little. i just wish he were here to give me one of his long, slow kisses, or to hold my hand.

thanks to all of your for metaphorically crowding around to offer comfort. i need to find my own strength, but for now, while i am so low missing my Dragon, i can turn to my son for the hard stuff. =o}

Suddenwidow said...

So glad to hear that today is better for you! I think that allowing your son be be part of your solution is so great. Being able to help people we love is enpowering. And anytime you need reassurance from afar, we're here! I completely agree with Boo and Supa and your Dragon. You have power within!

Split-Second Single Father said...

I've been outside the widow/er-network lately, so have just caught up on this week's posts (avoiding my own pain means avoiding others' as well I suppose, but I think I am ready to face it again for now).

The wedding photos were beautiful. You do amazingly beautiful work.

And your ex does not deserve to be called a man. A real man wouldn't treat a lady the way he treats you. Your son, however, seems to be completely deserving of the title.

I'm glad the ladies have been rallying around you, but I still wanted to add my own testosterone-infused two cents'. Just remember that while you will always have the reality, you'll always have the fantasy as well.

Hang in there.

Boo said...

I so agree with all that SSSF said - your son is a man and I am so pleased that he is there for you.

Am in Savannah next month but unfortunately already have a jam-packed itinerary(only over for one week), but plan on returning every 18 months (old friend lives there) so next time, I could get to Charlotte easily and we could have a day together or something ... I would LOVE that.

Away on business meeting tomorrow, then school reunion all weekend, so will look in on you on Monday xxxxxxx

womanNshadows said...

Suddenwidow, thank you.

SSSF, thank you for the compliment on the wedding photos. rushing around. thank God for autofocus. my son makes me so proud. such a good person. decent. and yes, i will always have my fantasies of my Dragon. i'm alone so much that i tend to live in them while i work. don't know if that's bad but i'm not hurting anyone so....dreaming on.

Boo, i'm glad my son is there for me. it's hard to see both of them as grown up. i have always protected them. this sudden role reversal has been shocking. i feel vulnerable, but i've been the sentry for a quarter of a century now. i guess it's time i had some help. and i would love to see you. so, about 18 months? it's a plan. =o) see you Monday.

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