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 1, 2009

friend request ~ denied

There is a commercial for gum that uses that phrase: friend request ~ accepted; friend request ~ denied.

It is no secret that I am in a situation of being utterly alone due to the way life worked out for me. The only chance for getting to know anyone has been through the widow’s group.

It’s hard being the odd man, or woman, out. People have lives here. They have friends from work, church, neighborhood, from lives spent living here and the opportunities they had to develop friendships. They are busy with children, work, grief, extended family, finding new loves, etc. I am new and I have no car to go to church, to join any other group, to go to see anyone when possibly something gets planned. I have to depend on my daughter for a ride or the generosity of others.

I don’t know if my grief is worse for not getting to sit with someone face to face to tell my story, to talk about my Dragon, to feel someone in the room who sympathizes, to have someone simply hold my hand or pat me on the back when I can’t stop crying.

I took one woman's advice from the group and walked to another widow's group meeting. I have tried to find friends there, people to meet to connect with. It has been anything but easy. And after today's phone call, I am not walking down there again. I am too tired. Come what may, I am just spent working this hard to find someone to try to become friends with.

There was one woman who started out being pretty good. I called her only once when in need of someone to talk to about my Dragon and my grief. She was busy at the time but she did call back a few days later to check on me. I didn’t call again, but I have to admit I’ve emailed about four times since I met her a few months ago. Not over the top harassment. But maybe it was too much for her. Maybe it was too needy. The last time she called me she explained she was very busy with her children and the new man in her life. She is starting a new chapter with a new love and I represent grief. She told me I frighten her by my being so alone. What if it happened to her? She has not been alone, she said, telling me that she has surrounded herself with her family and friends and has not spent one single night alone in all the few years since her husband has been gone. She does not understand how I can stand it. She feels “creepy” talking to me. It felt creepy hearing that.

I do it because I have no choice. I kept my voice even and kind when I told her she was blessed with so many friends and so much family. I told her it was okay, that I understood her change of heart, what she termed as her “discomfort” in talking to me. What else could I say? I can’t force someone to become a friend.

There has been another woman who called and called and then fell silent. I called her once and she was very excited about getting together, very determined and exacting with her plans for us, day, time, but she stood me up. I called her the next day to check to make sure she was all right. She was. A friend had called and wanted to go to the beach. It had sounded like more fun. She loves the beach. I told her I did to, that I very much understood the pull of the ocean. She made another plan to call. She hasn’t called. I haven’t tried calling her. It would be hard to hear her excitement for us to get together, and then wait for the phone to ring and it doesn’t.

One other woman. She has contacted me because she feels that I shouldn’t be alone. She thinks it’s very sad. She had had so many friends around her when her husband died. She knows the comfort of telling someone your story. She wants to hear mine. She wants to know about my Dragon, “whatever you want to talk about.” She was very verbose and eloquent in her emails back and forth setting up our lunch meeting. She’s planning on coming to pick me up and take me to a fabric store she knows about. She first wants to come up to see all that I’m working on personally. She loves creative people. She also loves my photographs.

She called today and spoke of my bringing my camera to take photos of her garden. She’d like to see what I “come up with.” I, of course, acquiesced. She’s coming to get me, after all. It’s not a problem. I love taking photos. Then she hesitated and said, “Of course I’m very busy so I know you of all people will understand if I need to cancel at the last minute. We can always set up the session in the garden for another time. Of course, I’ll still provide lunch. Then we can talk. Besides,” she continued, “fall is a beautiful time with the leaves changing colors.” She knows I’ll do a good job.

Our luncheon had become a session. I might be misunderstanding her wording but I’m guessing this isn’t about friendship so much as a photo session.

I sighed. I said, “Not a problem. I’m always here. Working. You can reach me anytime.”

She told me she knew that, that that was why she had felt so lucky to have met me and seen my photographs. She likes my style. Then she thanked me and rang off.

To the empty air, I said, “Not a problem. I’m always here. Working. You can reach me anytime.”

No one has to tell me that I need to cut these women slack. I know that they are dealing with their grief. For them it ranges from 3 years grieving to over 5 years. They are doing the best that they can with their feelings, wishes, desires, just the getting through each day without their spouses, and with the one, adjusting her family and friends to her new love. But why take me only so far and then drop me? If they cannot do it, do not feel any connection, why call me? And for the one, why tell me I am creepy because I am forced to live a very solitary life? It hurt to hear that. I know, more than any of them, what my life has become. Creepy is a very descriptive word.

I need to try to shake that word. If my Dragon knew about this, you would have heard his roar. He always tried to protect me, and if he couldn't, he was always there for me to crawl to and be comforted. Now I just talk to him but I can't hear his reply.

I love the ocean. I love Fall. I love Winter. I love my Dragon. Oh, how I miss him. All he wanted from me was love. And my eccentricities were never a problem for him. He was always there. He always wanted to be.


twinmom said...

I hope you don't give up looking. A true friend is worth the wait, and weeding through. When I read your writing, I think you would be a wonderful companion with whom to sit and while away time, talking about whatever came to mind. You are so eloquent, and thoughtful. Someone genuine will see that. So don't give up, some things take time.

Suddenwidow said...

(((HUGS))) from me. I haven't been online in a few days as going back to work has been rough for me. And reading your last two posts just breaks my heart. I'm so sorry for all you're going through and I wish we were in the same place because I am certain that we would be friends. I feel that we are long distance friends, though I know having someone who can be physically present really adds to a friendship. I agree with everything twinmom has said. Please feel free to email me or call anytime. And please take care. There are many of us out here who care about you.

womanNshadows said...

twinmom, thank you for saying that. August was a very hard month all the way around for reasons of his birthday, our wedding anniversary, and just life stuff where i would have loved to have his insights. i won't give up. but for right now, i cannot work so hard at it. someone has to meet me halfway. but again, thank you for taking the time to leave a message and one so kind.

Suddenwidow, i felt such kinship with you after our phone conversation. i enjoyed it very much. i actually looked up photos on GoogleEarth to see the island where Austin's Channel is, and to see if anyone dropped in photos of the town close to you. what a beautiful area. someday, when i have money, maybe my daughter and i, or my son and i can come visit. but especially my daughter as she is the true photographer. thank you for your kind and generous thoughts. i'm sorry work has been so hard. i hope you an close your eyes at least once a day while you're there and can feel his presence, a presence that gives you a quiet joy and peace deep inside your heart. and you take care. winter comes early up north.

Widow in the Middle said...

I heard your Dragon roaring as I read this post. I am so sorry you have had these experiences. I'm not sure I'd want to be friends with any of the three women you described. All were terribly rude and I don't think their rudeness is excusable. They were not very kind to someone in your situation.

I cannot imagine the sense of being alone you must feel living in a new community and having no family to rely on but your daughter. I think it is very important that those grieving have someone in their life to talk to and to be accepted non-judgmentally. I ended up seeking out a grief therapist because I had to give my poor girlfriend a break! She deserves a special place in heaven just for the times she listened over and over to me rehashing the end of my marriage - she never complained or told me to stop.

I wish there was something I could do or suggest. Are you within walking distance to a downtown area or church? I have been in a women's bible study group that met on Tue. mornings. I also took some knitting classes, volunteered at school and in the community. I met people through those avenues. You are so talented you could advertise to teach quilting/craft/writing/photography classes. Our local park district offers all kinds of adult and kid education classes and needs instructors to teach them. I'm not sure if your community does that too? Maybe in time something like that could be an option for you and you'd end up meeting people that way. Also the library - ours has a book club where people meet to discuss books (free of charge). Maybe your friends will come from different circles than the widow group?

I know money is tight and that also puts limits on what one can do but I have in the past met some women I became friendly with by simply taking walks in my neighborhood. I know these ideas may not fit for you right now. If I think of anything else I'll pass them on.

womanNshadows said...

WITM, i've decided to take a break from working for or even thinking about a friend until after Sept. 12th, after my daughter's wedding. i need all my energy for those two days. then i guess i will keep trying but its the not having a car that handicaps me. in a city this size, it's a very big handicap. back in Rockport, i could walk all over town. from the southern town line to the north looking out over the North Atlantic, it was only a six mile walk, and you saw the entire town. it was friendly, scenic, and uncluttered. the ocean at your right. historic buildings and homes embracing it's shoreline.

ah well, what can you do. i'm here now and this is my life. i'll figure it out as it comes along. and if it comes along as a solitary venture, then i'll have to make the best of that. maybe some day things will turn around for me.

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