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.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

settling in to depression

i've had to gather my thoughts about my daughter's wedding. the simplicity of them makes it harder to convey. i can't say, "i missed him," or "i am horribly ugly," or "i feel so alone" without explaining the magnitude of those words. everyone knows i miss him. no one knows that i feel ugly or why. they do know i feel alone but all believe that "this too shall pass."

it won't. nothing surrounding those three expressions will ever change. i think i'll take them one at a time and try to be brief though brevity is difficult.

1. "i missed him." i miss him. every day i wake to purgatory. no beautiful day, weather, event, or improved situation will alter that fact. i may smile, laugh, or seem animated in telling a story or memory, but i have merely stepped forward from behind the veil of sorrow that surrounds me. maybe someday there will be far less fabric to have to move aside to be truly seen. i do have moments of absolute clarity where i know that i can live with how badly i am feeling, but i also know how life is playing out. i miss him. right now i'm pathetic to see. so lonely, deeply grieving. i find i can talk too much when someone pays attention to me. i've been told that i need to tell my story of him again and again and yet i cannot find anyone who has the time. i miss him and no one compares to him. he is larger than life in the way he lived, how he looked, his character, his personality. no one can distract me from my adoration of him. he was too much of everything i ever wanted.

i miss him. i missed him. i am missing him. i always will be missing him.

2. "i am horribly ugly." my daughter and son know i feel this way. a widow from the group i attend was with me at the wedding during a moment of such absolute and overwhelming sorrow that i had had to hide myself away was caught off guard by the vehemence in my voice when i expressed this to her. it came tumbling out of my mouth between sobs. her standard response was, "you don't mean that." i snapped my head up and looked at her directly and said, "yes, i do. i am hideously ugly. and he's not here for me to see that i can be accepted as i am."
he, of course, would have been horrified to hear me say that. my Dragon would have been almost angry because he is the only one other than my daughter who knows where it comes from. forty plus years of being criticized modifies behavior. my Dragon was working with me to try to get me to see that though i am no Helen of Troy, i am his Helen. he loved the way i looked.
but he is not here anymore to defend me, even against myself.
my mother wanted me to look like Candace Bergen. i was close enough in my younger years for her to almost grasp the reality of this. but i failed. my ex started criticizing my looks when i got pregnant for the first time. "you're big." "you look awful." "are you having twins? what the hell? why do you look so big? why are your boobs getting so big?" after i had my children i did slim back down but then i didn't dress appropriately. "are you wearing that?" if i bought anything new, he would ask, "how much did that cost? why did you buy something? it's my money! you can't just go buy yourself a new blouse like that! not without permission!" so it was back to "why are you wearing that again? doesn't my mother deserve you to be better dressed than that?"
there was almost nothing left of me by the time i met my Dragon. i'm tired. i'm not grossly obese but i'm by no means a size zero. i have dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep. and if you look into my eyes, you'll see stark terror, the accumulation of abuse over the decades, and the deep sadness of having had to say goodbye to a Dragon, my Dragon, of losing the finest man i'll ever know and the only one i'll ever want.
i'm ugly. both inside and out. i dislike people. i pretend they haven't hurt me. i am untrue to myself in that regard but i am not a confrontational person. i will never see myself again as i did when i saw myself in his eyes. Dragon's eyes. his smile that filled his Dragon's eyes is all i think about. and all i know is that i'm ugly without him.

3. "i feel so alone." i feel like i exist parallel to everyone else. i'm living. i'm here in full view but i am set apart. part of that is me pulling away. i can't afford to get hurt anymore. i have only the barest minimum left to work with here. i am struggling financially. destitute really. my ex-husband is doling out an allowance to me from the money he owes me that he withheld during the divorce because of it being "his money." i'm waiting on the government to process my Dragon's death benefits. "expect a 10 to 16 month waiting period." i make the quilts as fast as i humanly can and now that the wedding is over, i can fully concentrate on them but my son and ex tell me i'm not charging enough for all the work i put into them. "charge by the hour." then no one could afford me. "at least charge more for your quilts - double even if you can." i'm afraid to. i want the business. i need the business. what if no one will pay even half more? and yet i am fully aware that with all i put into the quilts, another quilter would charge so very much more.
i'm scared. i'm alone in these decisions. i know what my work is worth. i know what i charge is so i can acquire the assignment.
i'm terrified of the future. six months down the road. two years. six years. my ex did give me food money at the very end of the wedding. my daughter was so frustrated. when she left with her new husband, he had not given me the money but told her he would. she called from the road and he still had not and we were cleaning up after the reception. she called again later on when she had cell reception again to see if i had gotten food money and i had. i had had to draw him away to get it. he was pleasant. he was smiling. i had had to beg. he was happy. i was destroyed and miserable. i sold my soul for food.
i am alone.

that's as brief as i can be. my life hasn't turned pretty. it never came close. i never had a shot at a happily ever after except with my Dragon. and they took him away from me. they didn't see fit to let me have him for long. i got a taste of something so fine that i still have not found the words to describe it, even after all these posts. he was the most magical person. i can say that and you'll think, "well, of course she thinks that. she loved him deeply." but he was. he really was. he was the most magical person i've ever met or seen. people were naturally drawn to him. he was strong, appealing, and powerful. he had a aura that was visible and yet indefinable. he had survived so much war and he deserved such lasting peace. but i wanted that peace to be here on earth with me. at least for a while longer. 30 more years. was that too much to ask for? i just wanted 30 or 40 years with him. i wanted him so badly when we first met. i want him back so much.

i am glad my daughter's wedding is over. i felt so self conscious. a couple of remarks were made about my appearance. i was the only female at my own daughter's wedding who hadn't been to the beauty shop. i was the only one who didn't wear makeup. i worked like a dog through the whole thing. but she loved her day. she was blissfully happy with the small exception of her dad and the money, and missing our Dragon. everything was beautiful and exactly how she wanted it. she was so grateful. we hugged so tightly before she left.

it wasn't all i wanted for her but it was all i could swing. between using all my quilt money and begging her dad, i got her the wedding that she wanted simple though it was.

so this week, my son has promised to call more often. there are people i can call in an emergency. but for the most part, i will be very much alone. i won't be using my voice at all except to talk to my little Carmen Sophia and Scootie Wootums. my Scotties are happy to have me back here again full time. no more galavanting around for me. i'm housebound with no car and now no wedding to run errands for with my daughter. this week i won't get a day off. she's gone on her honeymoon and i'm very much alone for the first time since i got here. i'll walk to the library and to the grocery store monday with my fresh $100. i'll be relieved to be able to get quite a bit of food. in fact, i won't be able to carry it in one trip. i'll have to shop 2 days in a row to carry what i need back. i get tired of walking and carrying heavy stuff. it makes my hand and back hurt. but i need the walk to lose more weight and to "get out and get fresh air."

if it's possible, i miss him more than i ever did. i am settling into a deep depression that no pill can alter. this is grief defined harshly. this is something that has to be worked through in my heart and in my mind. i have to arrive at a place i will have to accept and become familiar with. i will be alone for the rest of my life.

time is moving forward and i'm crawling to keep up. but i keep looking back to the past and my memories of him. i keep looking off to the side, lost in my own little world where i am safe from remarks that hurt and i can pretend that he has just gone to the store. i keep looking forward, past anyone in my line of sight to see if i can see him waiting up there for me.

oh, please be waiting for me. i need to see that. i need to know that you are up there, my Dragon, my love. i'm so tired. i can't do this alone. i really can't. i'm the weak one. it should have been me.


Boo said...

I believe that your Dragon was magical and I also believe that our husbands are somewhere, I don't know where, but they are waiting for us. I wrote about you on my blog today, here is the link if you'd like to read it:

I am thinking of you today and send you HUGS

Boo xx

Suddenwidow said...

I agree with Boo! And I loved talking to you today! You are a wonderful person! Remember that when you look in the mirror! I'm already looking into flights to N.C.! Have a good week, my friend!

judemiller1 said...

A truly beautiful post that brought tears to my eyes because, in describing your ex, you described mine--almost to a "T"--the begging for just a little for "our" daughter's wedding, for child support when she was younger, for all the times in our married life when I had to bring back the grocery receipt and the change from the pittance he had given me. He counted out the change and if I dared spend a dollar on a tube of lipstick, he wanted me to do a one of his chores for him to pay him back!

We both needed good men to finally come into out lives...thank goodness we had that. I am wishing you peace and comfort...I am praying for that for you.

womanNshadows said...

Boo, thank you. i am so glad to have found you. another sister who understands this monumental tragedy.

Suddenwidow, i can hardly wait to see you next spring, whenever you can. and i always love talking to you. my new friend. my new sister.

judemiller1, the ex thing has been so hard. having lived through that hell, then to have been found by my Dragon, only to lose him so permanently, is a fist to my stomach. i sometimes think i will not make it without him. but i have to. thank you for your words.

Boo said...

Oh my, I have just checked your memory and husband quilts. I am now 1000% sure that I was meant to find you :-) I have scribbled down lots of ideas to think about. They are beyond beautiful - they really do express so much about the person. I LOVE THEM. AND YOU MUST CHARGE MORE FOR THEM. DO MARKET RESEARCH AND FIND OUT WHAT OTHERS ARE CHARGING OR I WILL. (please) Love, Boo xx p.s. I am even now happy to release the special shirts that I was going to hang onto before :-)

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