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, December 4, 2009

the cough

she felt it coming while trying to fall asleep Thanksgiving night. her son would be pulling out for his home in Florida the following morning. holiday over. one big day of company and she'd made it through. one bout of crying that no one knew about. no one's time was tinged with sadness. but now the pressure in her chest was building and she was a little upset. she'd felt it once before. and it had been bad. maybe it wouldn't be bad this time.

he felt it before she did. he could tell she was getting sick. aw, damnit. and he couldn't be there. he wouldn't be able to help her. she'd have to go through it alone. "please, please," he prayed, "by all that's Holy. don't let it be as bad as it was the last time." his spirit hovered close and tried to offer her comfort, but she had finally fallen asleep, a troubled sleep, but sleep of any kind for her was a luxury so he just watched.

she woke up and it was inside her. the cough. the congestion. she felt like hell but her son had to leave. he had to. his job was waiting so she smiled and drank so much juice that it drowned the harder coughs. still building. her son would be on his way before it got worse. good. it's easier to fake it on the phone. waving goodbye, she slumped her shoulders and went back inside her apartment and closed the door. her dogs had been out. she took two Advil and went to bed. and the cough kept building.

it was on her now, full force. he could feel the heat coming in waves off her body. joint aches. headache. the fever making her so uncomfortable. but it was the cough that worried him. every time she coughed she clutched her sides. her muscles were already strained from the constant paroxysms. she'd had it before and it's lasting affects had scarred her lungs. "she'll always be susceptible to pneumonia now. you'll have to watch her if she gets a cough." so he watched her. but that was all he could do. he was the Dragon but he was also dead.

she tossed and cried. hot tears down an equally hot face. her little dogs stayed close. too close. she was so hot. thank God for Capri Sun. her daughter was worried sick. she had work; 10 hours a day of work 6 days a week. she wouldn't be able to take care of her. turkey sandwiches and Capri Sun. her daughter stopped in each evening after work with a new box. "keep drinking, mom. you're gonna be fine. right?" she saw her daughter's anxious face. twenty-five had suddenly become fifteen. "of course. stupid cough. these things take time." her daughter would leave reluctantly and she would drop the smile and crawl into bed. dogs been out? check. fold over turkey sandwich? check. new cold medicine? check. lights out and cue to cry. she'd hug her pillow that had the photo of her Dragon on the case. "why did you have to go? i need you. i don't need you. i'm your wife and i will do it, but i want you. i want you so so much. are you here? can you hear me? it's back. my chest hurts and i want you so much. i can't breathe!"

he wrung his hands and snarled. how could he get through her misery to let her know he was close by? she had to feel him. she had to know he was with her. he would never leave her. but he had. and now she was so sick. her fever was so high. 103 is high for an adult. really high. like last time. but she was hanging tough. his woman was hanging in there and fighting it. tough stuff, she was, but Lord, she was so sick. pneumonia again? then he felt peace come over him. there were words in his thoughts that were not his own. "rest easy, Dragon. she'll be fine. she's doing everything she can. it's not like before." he knew who spoke. he also wished she could hear, but it wasn't her time. one day, he hoped far off for her, she would be beside him again, and he would tell her how he had been with her through it all. and she would hear the peace as well as know it.

she was worried. the full moon was coming. the moon would be out for just a short while before the clouds took her from sight. rain was coming. she and the moon had only a narrow window. another nap and maybe she'd feel like going outside to take the photograph. two hours later she woke with a start. 6:45 PM. she sat up cautiously. she felt cooler. her fever had finally broken. unsteadily she picked up her camera and stepped out onto the balcony. and there she was. the moon.

she reflected the sun's light back onto the darkened earth, full and silver white. she knew her craters where life had beaten her down were clearly etched across her face but there was nothing she could do. the alignment was right for all her sins and the sins done to her to be exposed. and she was cold. with so little atmosphere surrounding her she stayed cold, but not lifeless as they said. she was alive with emotions. like the ones coming from that widow down there who made the effort to come see her each and every time she was full. the widow would take her picture each time and then stand and stare at her and repeat that childlike poem. "i see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me, and my children, and my Dragon." such sorrow. such longing in that little poem. she shined brightly down on the widow and could see the sparkle of tears in her eyes. she tried her best to commune with the widow, to help ease her pain, but she, too, is a lonely woman and all she can offer is her company. so she keeps her vigil over the world and over her widow as the world and the widow keeps vigil over her.

the Dragon breathed warmth onto his wife as she stood alone on the balcony and prayed for him. he thanked God that her fever had broken. she would be down for a while longer but the cough would be leaving her chest. she would be alright. as much as he wanted her with him, he wanted her to find some kind of peace in life first. he wanted her to smile again. he wanted her to learn to live before she had to die. he watched her return inside and gather up her sewing. if she felt good enough to work a little before going back to bed, then she, too, knew the crisis had passed. he settled beside her silently to watch her work. he had always loved watching her sew. he always would.


Boo said...

beautiful, and I also know beyond any shadow of doubt that he was there. I have been ill, really ill just once with high blood pressure, and all night I swear he was there with me, I could almost feel his arms around me. He was there. Your dragon was there.

I am relieved you are a little better, was getting worried, but should have known your lovely daughter was bringing you something to eat and drink each day <3

Love to you

Suddenwidow said...

Beautiful. I've got nothing new to say - ditto to all Boo's comments. Sorry I'm not very original tonight. I'm tired from a long week and I think it's time for bed already.

So glad you're feeling better. Love and hugs to you.


judemiller1 said...

I have missed you and your I know why you weren't here for awhile. I am glad that Dragon was near and that Moon shone her healing light on you.

Daniel Cano said...

Wow, this entry is heartbreakingly beautiful, pure poetry. Thank you for sharing such a loving and intimate exchange. Your Dragon must have been something special.


Widow in the Middle said...

Thank you for taking the time to share your life, thoughts and feelings with us. You always touch me so deeply. Being sick when there is no one there to care for you is such a hard thing to get through. Know that many of us care about you and like the moon are out there somehow watching over you, in spirit and prayer. It is good to read that the Dragon hopes for you to smile again and live again... I am grateful you are feeling better and can sew a bit.

womanNshadows said...

thank you all so very much. after i wrote this, i ate my first good meal since Thanksgiving, i mean other than a fold over sandwich. i cooked scrambled eggs and hash browns. i watched Monk's final episode and then went back to bed. i woke up and am so happy to hear from you all. =0}

i had all those days and nights to lay there and think about him, my Dragon. my children would call as often as they could but otherwise the phone was silent. this solitude while being forced by illness to stay in bed and not work gave me a lot of time to go over my life. i haven't lived at all and i realize it. i've merely been surviving the people in my life.

but with my Dragon, after slowly building back money after paying off my son's college, i would have been able to live, safely, surrounded by love. he is my world. he is my protector. but he's gone now and i am scared. i know he'd want me to live as much as i can. i was always brave for my children. now i have to be brave for myself. i have to find the strength to try.

thank you all for being there in all the ways you have.

Widow in the Middle said...

Your words are giving me courage and hope! I thank the Universe for connecting me to you and am so grateful your kind and giving spirit is there for me through all of this. I wish you continued strength in getting better physically and for being brave in the weeks ahead.

XXX and hugs

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

He wants you to live before you have to die. I know it's true. I hear in your voice that you do, too. I'm glad.

I'm glad you're feeling better now. Could be a long road ahead... we'll all hold your hand.



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