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, September 18, 2009

inventory and a question to everyone

in the Language of Flowers, the sunflower means "adoration" and the daisy means "loyal love."

for the last three Tuesday's, and from now on until she is better, my phone rings at 9:05 PM. you can set your clock by it. a widow i have gotten to know in this new city needs me to talk her home. she gets off work at 9 and always before she'd call her husband to talk with for the drive. he'd be waiting there with lights on and a warm supper waiting.
i've offered myself as a very poor substitute. i stay on the phone with her, either as a sounding board or to fill her ear as she sobs while driving, until she is safely home, the lights are on, and the door is locked.

J-in-Wales's most recent post was of her and her husband's schedule and how it's so different. he worked away from home all week and she looked forward to the weekends, and the calls every night. there would be the news of the day exchanges, the shared stories, and the quiet "i love yous" to slowly end the call. it's another thing she has had to adjust to, endure.

at my daughter's wedding, a list formed in my mind of more things i missed because my Dragon died. they are like razors that cut from the inside out. i fell apart once during the day and got to the restroom. i looked in the mirror and saw a woman i didn't know. she looked shell shocked, haunted, and so sorrowful it hurt to see her. this is how i appear now. lost in a world of pain i can't get out of and am not doing too much to try to.
since the wedding i had a bad turn from the ex that got rectified by my son and more little things to add to my list, and a new list forming in my head.

it all brings me to this. it seems, and i'll just say i here because i don't know if J-in-Wales would really agree or if the Tuesday night widow would either, but i am still taking inventory over what i lost when my Dragon died. it's like a robbery and the police make you write up a list of what is missing. you think you have it all, but then weeks and months down the road, something else is missing and you have to add it to the list. belated but through the panic and shock, you didn't know it was yet missing.

immediately i lost my best friend. i lost my lover. i lost my husband. i lost the only man i could ever love. i lost the only man who has ever seen my scars besides the one who put them there and a doctor here and there. i lost the only person who could keep me safe. i lost the one who had loosened my laugh. i lost the only person who'd ever loved me even after he'd seen me eccentricities and all.

his funeral was on Valentine's Day - a day that will forever be shrouded in sorrow. it is also the day i drove out of our little village by the ocean and drove 1209 kilometers to where i am now. i lost being able to see the ocean and pick up shells for him, for my shrines.

in the first couple of weeks, i realized he always made my pitcher of tea. magic tea we called it because it was one of the little things he liked doing for me. he'd keep watch and then take the pitcher from me when he saw it was empty and he'd make more. i have come to realize i've lost our getting ready for bed together and our whispering in the dark. we always went to bed together, neither one of us staying up beyond the other. bed together. whispers in the dark. spooning to fall asleep.

and with the email from the ex after the wedding, i realized that i not only lost my Dragon, but i've lost a man who is elemental, who knows how to turn a phrase into a veiled threat to protect me from someone who is at the very least a sociopath. i'm vulnerable at a time when i am on my knees begging God for just some acknowledgment that i'll get to go be with him when it's my time.

my inventory will never be done of all the little things i miss since my Dragon died.

enter my son, my youngest. twenty-three and so handsome. he's a gentle spirit with the mind of an intellectual and the heart of a poet. he's a teacher at the university he attended. he teaches 3D and 4 D Cinema animation - computer stuff. he's done work for Universal Studios and a lot of his free lance can be seen in the commercials and transitions on the Golf Channel. he's 6'4" of kindness and decency, a soft heart who likes to read. the toughest thing he does is go surfing and play paintball.

but he loves me and though i thought he was sheltered from what he father is, i suddenly realize he knows. he knows almost all. enough to break my heart and make me ashamed that it happened to me. but he doesn't believe i was a doormat. he knows i was trapped financially. what i didn't know was that he can confront.

my Dragon could do it with words that were aggressive and that held promises he could and would execute. my son did it with shame. i've never seen shame work on the ex before but it did when it came from my son, his son. truth and shame were very effective. and my son's follow up email stated this: "i love you, mom. you made me the man i am today. only you. i won't let anything happen to you. you are safe. i know you miss him and i can't fix that, but i can promise to protect you as he would. call me anytime for anything. i'm here now."

so as i said, my inventory of what i miss now that the Dragon has gone ahead will be endless. but i have a new inventory to take. my son knows more and more what i went through. his father isn't as careful with his mask now. my son is having to handle his father, not like a son, but like a man who is protecting someone. it's heartbreaking.

and now, randomly, i have a question i'd like to put out here for anyone who cares to respond. since my daughter's wedding, i've been dreaming more and more fitfully, and waking up exhausted. i dream he's still here, that nothing bad happened. but even in my dream part of me knows it's only a dream and i'm so sad. then i wake up startled, suddenly. and i'm bereft. i want to just go back to sleep so i can see him again and have that interaction. but, and i guess thankfully, my dogs prevail or i think i would sleep a lot. has anyone done this? the dreams that they were still with their spouse? am i losing it but only at night? though the day could be speculated on.


Suddenwidow said...

I've only had a couple of dreams of Austin and in them I always knew he was dead but it was so great to see him and be with him for a short time. I wish I could dream of him more. I often go to sleep talking to him, asking him to visit my dreams.

Starting to think about the list of things we've lost is so overwhelming. I tried to think of some positive things that we have in our lives now but they all feel heartbreaking because they only exist because Ugh!

Off to celebrate my eldest's son b-day tonight by taking some of his friends to a movie. His actual b-day is on Wed. but weekdays are too hectic for friend parties and I want him to have some joy as he becomes a teenager but without his Dad. It's very bittersweet. But he's a great kid and damn it, we're going to celebrate! I'll save my tears for later, when we pass our 6 month marker on Sunday.

I hope you have some peace this weekend and some restful sleep.

Split-Second Single Father said...

I'll start by echoing what I said following your last post. You have raised a good man, one you can take both credit for and pride in.

As for the dreams, even two and a half years out, I have had very few (which I wrote about here: ) I've heard about people who dream about their loved ones quite often, but I am not one of them. I don't think it makes either one of us crazy. It's simply another way grief manifests itself differently from one person to the next.

Wishing only peaceful dreams for you in the coming weeks.

womanNshadows said...

Suddenwidow, i will hold you and your sons in my heart on Sunday. and i'll try to find solace in my erratic dreams and try to carry it over in my waking.

SSSF, i'll ready your writing on this. i have to wonder if the dream have come only because of the stress of the wedding and the situation that cropped up so immediately after. but i will sleep and not fight the dreams that do come, and as i said, i'll try to relax into the dreams of my Dragon and understand from whence it comes. and possibly will go.

thank you both. your words mean a great deal. your "presence" is a comfort.

twinmom said...

While I cannot speak as a widow, I do believe that dreams are an outlet for our deepest fears and desires. Many many years ago, my little brother became very ill and nearly died from hepatits (he miraculously recovered and has gone on to a live a happy life). There was a time during which we did not know whether he would live one night my parents were called to the hospital where he was being cared for and told to say goodbye. I was 11 years old or so, and deeply affected. I had dream after dream of things such as rescuing him just before he would have been struck by a car, knowing 2 boys were missing and one was found dead in a lake while the other lived and then found out later in the dream that my brother was the survivor, etc. They were so vivid that I still remember them some 35 years later. My point in telling you this is that perhaps your dreams are the result of your mind finding some peace, albeit temporarily. Your mind is trying to deal with the unbearable pain by giving you back your Dragon, even if just for a moment. Perhaps it is what is helping keep you sane right now, rather than the opposite.

Boo said...

I cried when I read what your son put on his email to you. Role reversal is always hard to adjust to ... but right now you are grieving for your Dragon ... let him look after you. What a beautiful person you have raised and taught so well xxx

The list? OMG, I can start it, but it truly IS endless.

And dreams, I have had a few and even when asleep I seem to be aware that he is gone ... perhaps it's our brain's way of protecting our sanity? I love seeing him even if it's only in that twilight zone HUGS

Split-Second Single Father said...

Just wanted to say a special thank you for this post. I often write my own posts just before bed, yet somehow after reading this one I was blessed with my fourth and fifth dreams of my wife in the last two and a half years (one each Friday and Saturday night). They were both very different, but equally special to me, and I can't help but think that something in your post sparked the possibility of these dreams. Thank you.

womanNshadows said...

twinmom, thank you for your insights. your thoughts are most welcome.

Boo, yes, i am very blessed with both my children though the connotation of that word is that they are young. they are both adults, 25 and 23, and right now, when i am so defeated, it is still hard to accept the role reversal.

SSSF, i am glad you had those dreams. if some thought i expressed here was the catalyst, then i am humbly grateful. i am glad they were good dreams and ones that you can hold in your heart. peace always.

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