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.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

painting with needle and thread
















the photos are shots of some of my latest squares i've worked on through the long Memorial weekend.  i still need to add the fabric to the sides to sew them together then add them to my quilt.

i'm having days.  not horrible.  not good.  sort of halfway between tragic and numb.  i'm sewing on the commissions and in talking to the ones who've trusted me with the clothes of their deceased spouses, i feel humble.  i start early and work until late.  my insomnia seems endless and i've heard, read, and been told that sleep becomes so rare as to be on the endangered list.  but the last few days, just over Memorial Day weekend, and now through this week, i've found that i'm exhausted along about 11 AM.  by then i've been up for 5 or 6 hours and i have to lie down.  and that's when i dream, the only time i dream.

my dreams are always of him.  i don't tell myself to dream of him, it isn't a "fragment of an underdone potato," it is my heart, i guess, trying to weave an ephemeral net of wishes and memories for me to find a moment's peace.  i find i don't want to wake up but, i have to face the rest of my day, the remainder of my life.

so i go back to sewing.  5 quilts ordered.  it's a good feeling that i deeply appreciate.  it means rent and food.  but at night when i knock off, i move into working on my own quilt.  i hold the piece of his clothing i want to work with next and i sketch lightly in white pencil what i want.  and then i paint it in with my needle, up and down, through the denim again and again, over and over carrying the colored floss to give life and depth to what's in my heart.  i work until my hands ache, until my fingers hurt and cramp.  by the time i set my own husband quilt aside, i've been sewing for 12 to 15 hours.

i can't stop this punishment of myself.  i look for more and more work.  tuesday i built a cactus garden for an elderly woman, weeded her garden areas, and started on a stone wall.  stone after stone set into place.  it was a back breaking day and she was not home.  she had left a couple of water bottles out for me.  it rained on me for about an hour and i felt like it was a mixed blessing.  i was so hot and it felt good, but it also felt so lonely working so hard alone.  i got it all done though, except for finishing the wall.  that is a work in progress.

at one point, i sat down on the walkway and cried.  i cried for my husband.  i cried should he ever find out how hard i was working.  i cried for the pittance i was being paid but she is an elderly widow on a fixed income, and i know how that is.  my own income is fixed on what i can scratch out of the dirt.  literally that day.  my husband's benefits haven't kicked in.  "it takes time."

if he were here, he'd rub my wrenched shoulders and my aching feet.  he'd brush my hair and tuck me into bed.  he'd crawl in beside me and hold me, whispering to me, and i'd fall asleep.  i'd be safe.  i'd be loved.  i wouldn't be a widow.

but that didn't happen.  i went home alone.  took my little dogs out.  they had missed me.  they panic a bit now whenever i'm gone for an extended period of time.  their master has been gone for a long time so i believe, foolishly probably, but in my exhaustion, i believe they worry about me.  i showered.  i made a grilled cheese sandwich.  and then i sewed into the night.  pushing the needle through the fabric, joining pieces of this shirt and those jeans, embroidering names and dates for other widows and widowers.

if i can't afford more oil paints, then i can comfort myself and others by painting with a needle and thread.  it's soft work.  something my husband used to like to watch me do.

i pretend he is at the other end of the sofa watching me in the soft light of the night.

Monday, May 25, 2009

for my husband on Memorial Day

http://www.history.com/video.do?name=militaryhistory&bcpid=1681730307&bclid=1830064993&bctid=22751690001

i hope you can follow this link to see the short video tribute the History Channel put together.  for my husband and for all veterans.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

this is as good as it's going to get ~ grief-stricken questions of faith


My husband died.  Suddenly.  Horribly.  I will always be able to recall the image of his face at the moment when I knew there was nothing anyone could do.  I was losing him and there was nothing I, or anyone else, could do. 

So this is grief.  Intense.  Lonely.  Painful.  Horrible grief.  I’ve had time to think about this.  I’ve had no one to sit with me.  I’ve had no one to counter my wandering thoughts or give me feedback.  My poor children are 22 and 25 and they are trying to work and build lives in this frightening economy.  They are young and building relationships, looking for, waiting for their one true love.  And they are trying to help me through this. 

But what is there to get through?  Where am I trying to go?  Healing Hearts is the name of the widow(er)s group I go to and have formed an odd attachment to but we’ve already been told and admitted to ourselves that we will not heal all the way.  So what are we reaching for? 

Anwers?  There aren’t any.  The questions are even vague and fluctuate with our pain or frustration at our day-to-day lives. 

Hope?  It’s for us to define and decide on how to get attain it.  And if we’ve arrived found it or ever will.  And isn’t the idea of hope in and of itself hope?  But what do I hope for?  That he will come back?  He can’t.  It would also be an insult to God and God is the last person, entity, Supreme Being, sigh, I don’t want to insult God.  He holds my husband. 

I have wicked thoughts, nightmarish thoughts and though I tried once at the widow(er)s group to express them, I was cut off and the questions squelched quickly.  They are not for the faint of heart. 

Which brings me to my crisis of faith.  Does He have my husband’s soul?  I pray every morning and every night to the God I was raised with.  I pray to the God I saw perform one miracle in an oncology ward when I was twenty.  It wasn’t a miracle for me but I witnessed it and that was enough.  But now that my husband has died and I have sat with his still body, touched his lifeless hand and talked to deaf ears, I am stumbling in the dark.  Is he in Heaven, awake and alive, no longer hurting, no longer tired?  Does he remember me or is he protected from those memories?  Does he still love me? Does he know I still love him?  Will I, indeed, see him again?  Grief asks.  

I’m terrified that death is like going to sleep.  We know nothing.  We are in a sense gone.  Do we wait until the end of the world as some interpret scripture and then we’ll all be standing before God for judgment?  Do I have to line up and wait to see if my bad thoughts, any lies I’ve told will keep me from Heaven?  Will keep me from my husband?  What?  What happens?  How do I keep faith that everything will be okay when the only person who helped it be okay here has been taken?  How can I not when the opposite of that belief means that he has died and is nothing and I will die and will be nothing and we will never see each other again?  That would be Hell. 

Am I mad at God?  No, not really.  My husband’s body hurt from all his years as a soldier.  The medications he took for pain and for arthritis would drop a horse.  His mind was at peace because I told him over and over and over how proud and honored I was to be with him, how much I love him, and that he was most certainly a hero.  He no longer hurts.  But where is he? 

So there’s some of the questions that have been unasked out loud since the moment the nurse walked me into the room where they had put him, quiet, a sterile white sheet up across his shoulders, his face so still, and his eyes forever closed. 

I was told at the widows group that I am standing in one place, not moving forward.  Where do I move?  Where am I supposed to go?  Does it really, seriously, really get better than this right now? 

I’ve laughed since my husband’s death and I don’t feel the heavy burden of guilt for it.  If it strikes me funny, I laugh.  I cry every day.  Not always for him.  Sometimes I’ve cried because the money is so tight and I’ve been hungry.  I cry because I’m scared.  I cry because I physically hurt.  I have a broken hand that was refused medical care because I have no insurance and it has healed wrong.  I have possible bone chips floating in one knee, just south of the patella.  And I have a heel that was hit by an iron U-boat that was carrying over 125 pounds of boxes.  I am sometimes in agonizing pain.  If I had money I would go to a doctor and a dentist. 

If I had money I would buy me a small place with a fenced back yard for my two Scotties and I would paint, write, sew, take photographs, design and build my stained glass windows, and carve wood.  I would create all the visions I have in my head in all the mediums I think would bear them out the best.  My daughter calls me a renaissance artist.  I just see things alive in different ways.   Glass is fragile and geometric.  It can only be cut a certain way so the design has to be considered with this in mind.  Sewing.  It’s tactile and soft and can become alive with color.  I’ve also discovered, or rather other people have discovered my abilities with a needle and my emotions.  I make memory quilts and try to capture a life that once was for the solace of the receiver of the quilt.  Paintings?  Oils or gauche and watercolors.  I paint what I see and then I insert my altered perception of what I see.  They are considered realism but it is my realism that I give to people and they never know it.  And I write.  I have four books almost finished, a thriller, a ghost story, a politically incorrect social satire, and one horror. 

So you see?  I have interests.  I have things to do.  I’m not stagnating in a world of depression or wallowing in tears.  But I do hurt, badly.  I miss him more than I have words and on this site, I’ve written a lot of words about grief and him. 

So what do the grieving expect out of life?  I see widows in the group who talk like pros but don’t seem to be really any further along though everyone tells me they are.  It’s in their eyes.  It’s in their statements, and their questions, and in their assurances that things are “okay.”  I can hear it.  I can see it.  Body language doesn’t lie.  They all have that certain loneliness that can only be defined as the realization that the person they were committed to spending their life with has died.  Whether six years or forty-five years of marriage, the depth of the bond was the same.  Total and complete love for this person and now they are in some mysterious place that we cannot go yet.  And maybe will be just as forever gone from us as we will be to our children and family when we die and realize, there might not be any place to go. 

And that is what is tormenting me, because I want to find another miracle.  I want my faith back to where it was when my mother and then my baby died.  I want some kind of assurance that this isn’t it.  That this painful life with that one brief period of peace and happiness that I had with my husband wasn’t all I got after all the years of being beaten. 

I want to know that I will get to hold his hand and touch his crinkles beside his eyes, and feel his arms go around me and hear him whisper, “I’ll always be here for you.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

so far, not so good


just a very bad day.  i'm so depressed.  i miss him so much i hurt all over.  it's a beautiful sunny day and i notice it only in so far as a statement to the weather.  i watered my plants.  i re-potted my lavender because it's thriving whereas i'm not.

i keep fantasizing about him.  he was so handsome.  he had great legs and such a smile.  his eyes would light up.  i miss his hands.  they had so many scars on them, little white ones and one big one where he'd gotten cut defending himself during the war.  he was so strong.  he'd survived so much.  why did he have to go?  i need him.  i want him so much.

i finished the quilt top for the woman from the group and it's in the frame.  i am going to start quilting it but i think i'm going to have to take a break and do some work on my own husband quilt.  i need to feel his clothes in my hands, embroidery the words he said to me on his jeans.

100 days.  i'm not doing very well today because i want him back.

the gift


today is one hundred days that i've been without him.  it's cold without him.  i didn't want to wake up but my two dogs wanted me to.  they cling to me.  we sleep in a pile on my bed.  they've stopped looking for him though i did find Scootie Wootums taking a nap inside the closet with his nose on top of his hiking boots.

Carmen Sophia has always been my girl but Scootie adored my husband.  two guys not afraid of anything.  one hundred days without him.

but i got a gift yesterday afternoon late.  one of the women from the group called me to ask if i might make a quilt for her.  and she has a bicycle i can use so i don't have to walk everywhere.  it was a Godsend.  a gift from someone who understands the pain and the struggle to live day-to-day.  today it will be minute-to-minute.  one hundred days.  it sounds like a long time and it is, but then sixty minutes without him was long.  i don't know how i've made it this long and i don't want to think about, or face, another day let alone the reminder of my life without him.

i've finished both sides of the first quilt i've been commissioned to do.  i'll put it in the frame today to start quilting.  i'm going to Netflix my brains out and quilt.  and try like hell to get through today.

maybe i'll take a break later and walk up to Loew's to see if they have any daisies.  

Monday, May 18, 2009

100 Days of Grief

“Parting is all we know of Heaven and all we need of Hell.”  ~ Emily Dickinson 

I attend a widow(er)’s group that is facilitated by a nun who has lead these groups for years.  Sister, as well as the other widows and widowers in the group, say that keeping a journal of private thoughts will allow me to look back and see for myself the progress I am making.  I was told that this progress is all about moving forward, not staying locked in one place.   I was told that grief is not something we get over but something we live with and that it will become familiar.  I listen to the other’s speak to their busy lives with their children, or their friends whom they call to rally around them for support.  I listen to them speak about work and co-workers.  I listen to the tone of their voices tell me if they believe their words or if they only want to.  I listen for that telltale sound of pain, to gauge how far along they are with moving forward. 

Sister asks us how we’re doing, what we’re doing with our time, and what certain times of the year or things make us feel like.  Have we removed our wedding rings?  What have we done with our deceased spouses things, or plan to do?  I listen to everyone discuss their lives and fears and small victories and I only feel cold inside.   Everyone has busier lives than I do, more and better connections to others that I simply don’t have nor, at this late date, will ever attain.  I am adrift without familiar land to spy and my oars are now broken.  On Wednesday, May 20th, they will have been broken for 100 days.

There is one woman whose husband died suddenly over two years ago.  She has come very close to befriending me, as much as she can with two very young children, and has told me to call her anytime.  I find I cannot even though I have had such panic that I have so desperately wanted to.  My hand does not move close to the phone.  I feel like an interloper.  She has a very close network of family and friends, a very busy life.  I feel horrible because she has been nothing but nice and compassionate to me.  It’s just me.  I can’t reach out.  I don’t feel good.  I don’t feel like I can.  I am so sensitive and fragile.  I cry too easily and I don’t know what to say other than “I miss him so much I can’t stand it.”

Sister told me that I am so new to my grief, still so raw, and I was thanked for being so open about it.  Then she went on to address the group by saying that we need to stay in touch with each other; that only those who have experienced grief can understand it.

I like going to the widow’s group because it is the only contact I have with another person beyond my daughter and my son.

I don’t like going to the group because I listen to myself and I hear what I’m saying, and I sound stupid.  I hear the words come out of my mouth and they aren’t what I want to say.  I can’t intelligently express myself there.  I try too hard.  Or I cry and cannot make sense.  Or I babble in my loneliness and desperation to be heard.

They are patient and they do address what I speak to, but remember, I said it wrong.  It’s not what I want to say.  It’s just something I desperately pull out of thin air to try and join.  Something to try and be a part of something I feel on the perimeter of.  These people cannot adequately speak to me if they do not know the grief I cannot speak to.  After I get the advice and counsel, they move on to other topics, other concerns, and I feel heat in my face.  I feel a humiliation that I am still not able to tell them what I’m feeling.

I’ll continue to go because it will mean that once a month, I will have someone else to talk to.  There will be people there who acknowledge that I am still here after a fashion.  I think I will work on not saying as much.  I’ll just listen and take a pass.  I think I’d rather reveal the truth of my depression by not speaking to it rather than trying to tell them and failing.  I’m not moving forward.  I’m not stagnant but I don’t feel any forward progress.  I’m depressed and as each day goes by I’m still the same depressed person.  I’m not more and more deeply depressed, just sitting in this one spot. 

I almost laughed at the last meeting.  It wouldn’t have been appropriate.  It would have been a caustic, humorless laugh of one who knows something that is a deep, dark secret.  Someone thought I looked better.  I felt like hell.  I hurt all over and I was straining myself not to start crying.  I felt horrible that night with no way to express it without sounding like I wanted it to be about me.  I don’t talk anymore unless it’s to my children when they call, and then I get there and I think I talk too much.  I am lonely and I guess I want people to know I’m there before the meeting ends and I’m shoved back offshore to drift alone in my little lifeboat.

The more I attend these meetings the more I realize that every grief is individualized and that no advice can cater to us all.  The details of a person’s life, what they came from, what they had with their spouse, what they lived through, how much support they have available to them, and what kind of death was brought to their door will keep us all apart even in our symmetry of being widows and widowers.  I wish I had a way of connecting to someone but I haven’t found it yet.  They are all so different.  They are all grieving and at various stages in that journey while I am indescribable.  My life has been so different from any of these people.  I lived in fear and intentionally diverted so much pain to myself to protect my children.  Few people will assist someone like me.  No one would want to sit and listen to my story of how it was, how it became for me after finding my beloved, and how it is for me now that he has died.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.  Love leaves a memory no one can steal.”  ~ epitaph on a grave in Ireland. 

I am new.  I am raw from this pain. The loss of him is more than I can bear and I cannot find comfort in anything and from anyone yet.  I heard myself say the word, “Making the quilts, and having her friendship, has helped me.”  And it has.  I would give almost anything to be so busy with quilts lined up one after the other that I had a waiting list.  Then I wouldn’t cry so and stress so about things like rent and food. 

But it will also keep me in this solitary life.  I wonder if I had more orders for quilts or the embellished jeans I make, if I could buy better food and could eat better, if I would sleep better?  Just having the necessary staples of life might make grieving, not easier, but I could actually address it without falling to my knees and putting my head in my hands and sobbing for the security I had with him.

I am without my beloved husband and there is no way out.  I love him so much and I can’t imagine anything that will heal me, even though the group calls itself “healing hearts.”

“She is no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.”  ~ George Eliot 

I do not want to grow old without him.  There.  I’ve said it.  He kept me alive instead of existing.  He showed me things I would have missed.  He gave me love that I had been conditioned into believing I didn’t deserve.  I miss him and I want him back.  I want him to take me in his arms and let my cry and tell him how awful it’s been without him.  I want him to rub my neck and my back and croon to me the soft words he had for me, the ones he’s whisper to make me smile and sigh.

“There’s no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.”  ~ Edith Wharton

I found this quote from Henri Nouwen:  

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand.  The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

The only person in my life, my entire life, who was that kind of friend, was my husband.  He gave to me.  He shared with me.  He got in front of me and fought for me.  He made the bogeyman shrink and go away.  He stayed with me when everything went wrong.  He never left me until he died and left me forever.  I miss him and there are no words beyond that.  If I say I want him back, does that defy God?

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” ~ William Shakespeare

I have words.  I have a lot of words.  But I have no outlet except to write them and put them online.  There is no one to come sit with me as the sun sets and hold my hand as I cry.  There is no one that will come listen to me talk about him for any length of time.  There is no face like his, no comfort like what I got from him, no love like what he gave me.  There is no bond like what I had with him.  I am alone now and always will be.

There is no comfort now.  There isn’t anyone to try.

“The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced.  Every other wound we seek to heal – every other affliction to forget: but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open – this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.”  ~ Washington Irving. 

It will be 100 days.  I don’t know who to get through it other than to bow my head and get through it.  At least I have some commissions for quilts to keep my occupied.  I know he would be so proud of me.  I have to hang on to that thought.  For a long time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

accumulated silence


i can't get around the fact that he's gone forever.  i keep hoping he'll call.  i don't know if it helps or hurts that i'm in a place where he never was.  we have no history here together.  nothing is familiar.  i think i'm evolving into a hermit.

i feel out of step with the passing of time.  i can't find his memory here and i'm out of place.  not only is he not here with me, but i know he's never coming to join me.  i've surrounded myself with my things, my little shrines in different places around this small place, so that whatever little area i'm working in, i see pictures of him, of my children, of the places i used to walk through with him.

i can't make sense of him leaving like that so i'm trying to make sense of what he left behind.  the tangible things are here.  his clothes, his shoes, his medals, some of his military stuff.  i sleep with his Marine Corps sleeping bag, called a bivy bag.  it doesn't really smell like him anymore, but it bears the marks of his having been in it.  it has some blood stains on it and a bullet hole.  a close call, he said and though he smiled, it was rueful and didn't touch his eyes.  knowing the story, i can only hold that bag closer and be thankful i got him for the time i did.

i am left with his stories.  his life was filled with wild and incredible adventures.  such calculated risks he had to take with no idea how it would actually play out, how he would get home, only knowing that he would serve his country with honor, and no one would ever know.  but me.  he told me.  and i'll keep his secrets.  but i have them.  and that means i have a part of him that no one else ever did.  i took his guilt, his anguish, and his horror of war and helped him find a place of reconciliation within himself.  he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that i was in awe of him, what he endured, and that i truly believe he is a hero.  he'd never come close to thinking anyone would see him as such.  

i do have the knowledge of that.  that and the fact that i could embarrass him.  i adored his face, his body, the way he walked, his smile, his hands.  to me he was such a beautiful man.  i loved his scars, his muscles, and his laugh.  he has the most wonderful laugh.  but he would blush and look at me with patient frustration.  he never saw himself as handsome.  but he knew i thought of him that way.  he knew i adored him.  he'd try to sleep and i'd be looking at him, watching him in the darkness of the room, and he'd know.  he'd purse his lips and say he had no idea what i saw, but that he was glad i had found something in him good.  then i would kiss his face, his eyes, and stroke his beard, his hair, soothing him, lulling him to a sleep without nightmares.

and he would be there for me, for when my nightmares would come.

but he's not going to come back.  i'm alone with these sleepless nightmares.  everything is so screwed up.  i can't sleep and i am so tired during the day.  naps.  that's what i do.  i take short naps.  30 minutes here.  an hour and a half there.  one night i'll get maybe three hours at a stretch and then the next, maybe 45 minutes.

so i hold his sleeping bag close and play with the ties.  i read or get up and sew.

i asked a woman from the widow's group how long before she stopped crying every day.  and was i losing it because i still cry every single day.  she told me i was normal, that i was going through hell right now.  she told me i was too alone here.  she told me i was a bit of a worry because of my unique aloneness.  but it's odd that in the weeks right after i moved here, i wanted to find a friend.  the passing of the last six or seven days, through mother's day weekend, has found me not so worried about it.  i'm not sure why.

i just feel myself withdrawing deeper and deeper into a hermetic life.  i have my sewing commissions.  i want to get more.  i'm trying to stay hopeful that others will see the work i'm doing for this woman and hire me.  i'm falling into a routine of not speaking unless my daughter or son calls.  i talk in my head to my husband, but not out loud anymore.  i talk to my dogs so i'm not completely silent.  but if i need food or fresh library books, i can do it all without speaking to anyone.  all of it without saying a word.

the real truth has finally dawned on me in all this accumulated silence.  "it's not for us to know."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The F Word - Friendship


I am mourning the death of my husband.  I am deeply depressed and have written that I am so lonely.  It has been suggested that i may have friends who simply do not know what to do for me, that I may need to call them.  That is such a lovely thought, to be able to reach out to someone who knows me or knew me, or even better, knew us.  But I don’t know anyone.  I’ll try to explain but no one yet has understood.  It’s almost inconceivable to some how this can happen.  It was to me.  It still is.  This is not a life.

The life I had before I had met my beloved second husband was one of isolation.  My first husband kept me shut off from the world.  “Who called?”  “Why are you going to church on a Wednesday?  Okay, doing that for them is fine but then come straight back.”  “Who was there?  Anyone you really know?”  “What did you do while I was gone?”  Such harmless questions as these, under certain circumstances, can strike fear in someone’s mind.

We had no friends, or rather I had none.  I did things for people all the time.  I chaired church committees but gabbing was out of the question.  “Hello Everyone.  Thanks for volunteering.  I’d like to start with I am afraid of my husband.  No, no bruises today.  Not yet.  Nothing to prove to you that my words are true.”  He was so well liked during the times he’d put in an appearance.  Everyone liked him!  He has that ability to wear that benign demeanor.

He allowed me to teach preschool, to teach CCD, to help the elderly couple net door by weeding their garden and mowing their lawn.  It was to keep up appearances, and people let their behavior become modified by what they learned.  “Her?  Oh, she keeps close to the house.  They don’t really go out much.  Don’t bother inviting them.”  But when it came time to do some work, “Oh, she can do that for you.  She’s very trustworthy and you don’t even have to check in.  Just ask her and it will get done.   She’s like that story, The Shoemaker and the Elves.  She’s the elf.”

Twenty years of watching what he did and standing in one spot, between him and my children did not leave time for friends.  Telling others with the only thing to show for it was two broken bones in twenty years did not instill anything but the advice that I should go home and fix my marriage.  And stop complaining.  I had to laugh at that.  “You have a nice home, beautiful children, and a husband just seems like the nicest man.  You should be thanking God.” 

I’ve had all the questions thrown up at me by everyone who’s heard the story.  “Why didn’t you run?”  I did.  He found me.  I paid for it.  Running takes planning.  Planning takes time.  I took the time.  It doesn’t leave time for friends.  People who thought they knew you find they are just acquaintances and then they find they don’t want to get mixed up in something like that.  People like stories of tragedies better than tragedies too close to home.  They can’t look at you.  They stop calling.  They distance themselves with superficial talk of “How are the kids?  Did your eldest get her driver’s license yet?  Saw they both made honor roll again. You must be so proud.  Well, bye.  Gotta run.  Steve can be such a bear if I’m late with supper.”  Once when she said that, I asked. I had to.  It had happened to me.  “Are you all right?  Has he hurt you?”  The shock on her face, I’ll never forget it.  It was a suggestion so foreign that it was inconceivable.  “Of course not!  It’s just an expression!  We’ll just order pizza.  I’ve got to go!”  And she did go, in every way possible for a potential friend to leave a suddenly no longer potential friend.

When it was safe to divorce him, I had to face his calculated rage.  No time for shopping or chatting with women who “knew” me.  He took it all and no one knew me.  And then I met a dragon.

 My beloved was a Marine, Force Recon.  He had impish eyes and a Santa Claus smile.  And he knew me without asking.  I met him when I went to pick up my son at his friend’s house.  My son and his friend were out in the yard tossing a lacrosse ball to his friend’s father and my future husband.  They were friends, all friends, four guys in the yard practicing stick handling for lacrosse.  Meeting him had been a random thing, so out of the blue that it was kismet.  He was instantly attracted.  I was instantly wary.  I had learned to look at men and judge them by their eyes and their hands.  My ex-husband looked like a choirboy, acted like a sociopath and had dead eyes.  His hands however were always flexing.  This man had muscles my ex had never acquired, had eyes alive with fire, and his hands gripping that lacrosse stick were huge.  I smiled and was polite.

 He called me that night.  And we talked.  We talked for weeks.  My daughter talked to him on the phone, too, when she picked up while I was occupied.  She liked him.  More talking.  Encouraged by my children, I met him for lunch.  And I liked him.  And then I needed him.  The first time I called him, I needed him.  He had never been to my house.  My ex had had a fit and broken my doorknob.  I was trying to replace it and could not get it out of the door.  It was so busted in the door I could not get it out.  I called him and he came.  He had stopped to buy a new doorknob, an expensive one with a wonderful deadbolt.  He, he repaired my door.  When he handed me my new keys, he looked me in the eyes and said, “I’ll always be here.  Call me anytime, no matter what.  I’ll take care of it.”  Then he said the thing that broke me.  “I know what he’s done.  I believe the rumors.  I will always be here for you.”

And he was.  Right up until the day he died.  We knew people but we moved around a lot.  He had retired from active duty just before he had met me.  Even with all his combat pay, not much had been accrued.  I was in worse shape with my ex having dumped all the bills on me and taking every account there was.  Financial crisis. Credit crunch.  International trade deals taking forever.  We were living on a string, moving around to cheaper and cheaper housing.  No one would understand unless they knew all the details.  Suffice to say we were living like gypsies.  But we were together.  Together we’d gotten my son and daughter through college.  That’s where the bulk of our money went.  Sacrifices for them were never hard.  They adored him and though they were upset with how we were forced to live, they honored us by never condemning us.  They knew our story.  They honored us by never doing anything to jeopardize their futures.  No drugs.  No drinking.  Both worked so hard in school and graduated with honors, my daughter in two and a half years, and my son, salutatorian, in three.   She’s a commercial/family portrait/animal photographer and my son, at 21, started teaching at the college he’d attended.

In all our moving around, my husband and I met people who knew us as acquaintances.  No one knew us.  But we had each other.  We lived every day of our lives together enjoying the beauty around us.  Our entertainment was free.  Walking.  Hiking.  The ocean.  Shells.  Talking.  Dancing on the beach.  He gave me what I’d never had; security even though we were poor, laughter when it was hard to do, strength when mine would falter, and a love I’d never known I could feel or receive.

I’m here in North Carolina now and I don’t know anyone.  I have a sheet of phone numbers and only two faces to match two names.  One has urged me to call.  She had told me it is all right to call.  I probably should but she has two small children and her life is chaotic with trying to sell her house.  I’ll talk to her about my feelings on this when I see her again.  I’ll watch her eyes closely this time, hopefully without tears in mine, and I’ll see if the offer is coming from her heart.   I cannot go where I am not truly wanted and I do not have the strength right now to face the rejection that could come from her if I misinterpreted her offer.

Now that my husband has died, my best and only friend has died.  My lover has died.  My husband.  “I’ll always be here for you.”  He told me that when we first met.  He’d tell me that when I’d get scared about money.  I wish I could feel him near me now, but I don’t.  I hear some of the women in the group say that.  “I feel him near me.”  I try to think of it as; he is in Heaven and is doing a recon for when I get to come.  And then he’ll show me everything he’s found.  I wonder what the seashells in Heaven look like?

“I’ll always be here for you.”  The words of a true friend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dark Night of the Soul

"in the real dark night of the soul, it's always 3 o'clock in the morning, day after day."  F. Scott Fitzgerald.

it's almost 2:20 AM right now.  again.  i can't sleep.  i haven't been able to since he died.  i miss him.  it's so tragic and it takes my breath away.  i'm exhausted and nothing can knock me out.  a glass of wine.  a cup of tea.  no pill i've taken.  i don't know what to do to shut my mind off for just a single night of even 6 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep.  i ache all over but not from any flu.  i ache from life.  dare i say i'm tired of living?  it doesn't look good to see it sitting there.  people freak when they hear someone say they are tired of living.  but it's a true statement.  some people have lives that just wear them out.  it has nothing to do with helping it along to the finish line.  it is a simple statement that mean life has hurt you, taken from you more than you can bear to lose.

i am so alone.  my daughter has been so busy.  i haven't seen her since last week.   i'm lonely for some company to just visit with me.  i'd like to see more of this city than the grocery store once every two weeks.  i walk to the library but the books i read take me nowhere, not like they used to.

i am so tired.  money is so tight.  i'd like to go shopping.  just buy something.  a candle.  a silk flower.  a daisy.

my husband used to sing to me.  he had a low, deep, whiskey voice.  he like country music, older songs.  i had not danced since high school until i met him.  my first husband thought i looked stupid.  humiliation is a powerful reminder not to do something.  but my beloved second husband, my dragon, taught me to dance.  he'd hold me and we'd waltz around the house.  and he'd sing.

"He remembers the first time he met her
He remembered the first thing she said
He remembered the first time he held her
And the night that she came to his bed
He remembers her sweet way of sayin'
Honey has something gone wrong
He remembered the fun and the teasin'
And the reason he wrote her this song.

I'll give you a daisy a day dear
I'll give you a daisy a day
I'll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away."

there are more verses and he'd sing them all to me sometimes.  he sang it to me on the day that he died.  we'd gone to walk the beach.  it was February in Rockport and there was snow and ice everywhere.  the waves were coming in hard from a storm further out at sea.  we dressed warmly and held mitten-covered hands.  he pulled me close and held me tight and we danced on the beach while he sang that song in my ear.  i laughed and kept my face in his neck to keep my nose warm.  it's a moment that i'll remember forever.  it will haunt me just as long.

"I'll give you a daisy a day dear
I'll give you a daisy a day
I'll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away."

i wonder if where he is he's aware he still loves me?  i want so desperately to know that he's at peace in Heaven and waiting for me but at almost 2:30 AM, i'm so tired and in such despair.  i have no one to call.  

"it's the friends you can call at 3 AM that really matter."  i don't have a friend i can call at 3 PM.  and i won't share this burden with my adult daughter.  she's worried enough about not doing enough.

God, it's such a simple little tune.  "i'll give you a daisy a day dear....."  it gets into your mind, attaches to the rhythm of your heart beat and stays there.

i wish i could sleep.  dream of him.  even if i dream him alive and wake crying, i've had that chance to be near him once more.  once more every night.  "to sleep perchance to dream."

i'm so tired.  i wish i could sleep.  maybe its so bad at night because i think of the time he died.  midnight.  it's like looking at a painting.  stand too close and all you see are patches of color.  stand too far back and you miss the detail.  maybe i'm too close to the painting.  i need to try to find a place to put that time.  midnight.  11:30 PM until 12:30 AM.  midnight in the garden of good and evil.

what a great book.  the garden is the stone garden, the cemetery.  11:30 to midnight, good magic can be done.  midnight to 12:30, and on i guess, it's bad magic.  he died just after midnight.  i looked at the clock.  they came and told me they hadn't been able to save him at 12:03 AM.  midnight in the garden of evil.

i wish i could sleep.  i wish i could go to sleep just one more night beside him and feel his heart beating steadily, strongly, warmly under my hand.  i wish he would sing me that song one more time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the art of grief - the making of a shrine








after my husband died, i had a lot to deal with.  suffering through his death has been just that, suffering.  i love him.  deeply.  still.  always.  there are people who care and advise on what to do.  one of the things i was told was moving the day of his funeral was the worst thing i could have done.  didn't have a choice.  the other thing i was told to do was the get rid of all his clothes.  "get them out of the house.  you'll feel better not looking at them."

i was stunned.  how could i do that?  why?  they smell like him.  his sock, his underwear?  all of it?  now?  they were his and i want them.  his jeans.  he was a jeans man and all of them are so beautifully worn out.  how could i get rid of his jeans when almost every picture i have of him, he's in his jeans?  we're out somewhere hiking, bouldering, walking the beach.  i'd know his jeans anywhere, in any pile, no matter how large.

i know that everyone is different.  i know widows (ers) who have their spouses clothes years later.  i know of some who have to give it all away as soon as possible to start their own healing process.  i'm a shrine person.  i build shrines.  if you've ever seen a rock cairn on a beach, i'm one of those people who spend the time to create one.  i pay homage to places i've been with something that will most assuredly fall.  but it was once there.

i build shrines.  i had so many small things of his that i was trying to lay out and getting so upset.  clutter.  that's what it looked like but they were his and ours and i wanted to see them.  there were patches from the Marine Corps, pins, those little poppies you can buy on Memorial Day, trim from our wedding (i made our clothes).  i had just finished sewing a crazy quilt to get rid of scrap fabric when my daughter suggested i make a quilt from my husband's jeans.

and so i am.  it's a mess but it's soothing to work on.  it isn't planned in any way.  there is layout.  it is a stream of consciousness.  i'm having a hard time cutting up his clothes.  i cry.  but each time i cut, i create.  i'm using back pockets and front pockets.  i'm saving the zippers and the button fly.  they aren't squares but i'm piecing them together with parts of the legs of his jeans to square it off.  the legs also are filler squares, will be part of the binding and the backing.  i am going to use his underwear, too.  {his socks i'm making into sock animals but that's another story.}

i'm working from sentiment, sewing on all the loose things onto the denim.  i'm adding quotes as well, what he said to me at our wedding and on a black satin square i've embroidered a quote from Romeo and Juliet:  "when he shall die, take him and cut him out into little stars and he will make the face of Heaven so fine that all the world will worship night and pay no worship to the garish sun."

this quilt is saving me right now.   it's a labor of love.  it's also given me much needed work from outside sources.  a woman in the widow's group i attend has hired me to make three quilts for her out of her husband's clothes.  one for each of her children and one for her mother-in-law who is suffering intense grief.  it has been a journey for her as i talk about what i see in her eyes, what i see in her husband's clothes, and what i plan.  she tells me she is healing in a way she hadn't yet and it has been over two years for her.  for me, i find i can be of use.  i have a purpose for someone.  i'm hoping for others who may want me to do this for them.  her quilt is more straightforward, much more planned for her comfort zone.

mine?  as you can see from the photos, mine is my own vision.  it reflects the life my husband and i shared.  the warrior and bold adventurer that was him.  the reclusive artist who lived life through her dreams.  i reached out and joined hands with a dragon of a man and found what i had never had.

when finished it will not be a museum piece, but an heirloom with things that belong to him, to me, and to us.  our story.  it is a quilt of scattered thoughts that represents a broken heart hanging on to every tangible piece of him that i can.  i can't make sense of why he had to die so i am taking what he left behind to create something as beautiful as he was.

it is a quilt of my heart.  it is how i want it to look, not as anyone says it should.  it is how i need it to look, how i need it to feel.  and isn't that the purpose of a quilt?  to feel good?  to wrap around you for comfort when, if not the weather, but deep inside you, you feel cold, and alone, and deep in sorrow.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dead Like Me

i have no descriptive language tonight.  i'm tired and i still have hours of sewing to go before i go to bed and not sleep.  i'm always complaining it seems.  not complaining, grieving.  since writing is the only way my voice can be heard and i need to be heard tonight, i'm taking a break from sewing and i'm at the keyboard.

i miss him.

i can describe to you exactly why i love  him, his qualities and his quirks.  you can see his photo on my blog, but you can't know him enough to do more than empathize.  you won't feel the sense of loss that i do at his being taken from me.  that's how i see it.  he was taken from me because he would never have left me willingly.  we needed each other.  we weren't two halves of a whole, nothing greeting card-ish.  we were more than that.  we were two people who had found each other, found something in each other that we needed, longed for, desired.  we each had something the other wanted to be close to, like pulling up a chair to a hearth during a bad winter storm.  it doesn't matter if you're in a palace or a cabin.  frankly the cabin would be the best.  you're comfortable.  stew on the stove, warm fire, and each other.  i think people get lost in palaces.  too many rooms to separate yourselves into.  my husband was my cabin.  i was the warmth.  i entered into his life.  i warmed his lonely soul.  

i wonder if he's lonely tonight.  i wonder if he pines for me as i long for him.  my mind tries to remind me of my faith but my heart is broken and sitting in the shattered mess of itself sobbing like a lost child.

i miss him tonight.  its raining.  we seldom watched television.   we read.  each on the sofa, our feet entwined.  okay, that sounds kinda Hallmark card-ish, but its what we did.  bibliophiles, no.  bilio-holics.  we would go to the library and check out armfuls of books and read, interrupting each other with a particularly wonderful passage.  discuss and then read more.  i miss that.  facing each other with our legs all jumbled up.  never again have to untangle to grab the phone.

i've been encouraged to join a group, any group, outside the widow's group.  Bible study, craft group.  something.  anything.  "make friends in your new city."  i can't make the effort.  i'm able to converse within the context of the perimeters of a meeting but to reach out and make friends?  i can't do that.  i am more of the commodity type.  people call on me for things, not to do things with.

i went to a grief counselor.  she only wanted to talk about my first abusive marriage.  why?  what for?  i married a man who dropped his mask during the first six months and trapped me financially and physically and emotionally.  he hurt me.  i protected my children.  i finally got away - naked, stripped of everything but custody, but i survived.  grief is what i don't feel like i'll survive.  getting choked is a lot less painful than death taking the love of your life.  i wanted to talk about loneliness and Heaven and my husband.  my soul mate.  i wanted to talk about the present pain.  she didn't feel it relevant right now and her curiosity for something that has been long ago set aside is irrelevant to me, so i won't be going back.  so that's an extracurriculur activity i quit.

i'm so tired of not sleeping.  i am so tired of my love being gone.  i want him back.  i know it's wrong.  it's not God's plan but i don't think God really had a plan per say.  i think my husband's heart wore out and  God is just as sad as i am.  i think He's crying right now because He knows i'm hurting so badly i want to crawl in a hole and stay there until my husband can come get me.

but alas, there's always an alas, i can't do that.  that's called quitting.  q-u-i-t-t-i-n-g.  i hate that word.  it's so closely associated with failure.  i guess you could say i failed grief counseling but i look at it as she failed me.  grief counseling.  not abuse counseling.  i can't quit living and i don't want to fail my husband, so, breathe in, breathe out.  

i hate it when people offer you, "you should be doing it for yourself and not for him.  he's gone."  i want to curse.  if i can't do it for myself right now, at least i'm doing it for someone.  and "he's not gone, he's just away."  saw that on a card, too.  breathe in, breathe out.

i never sent anyone a condolence greeting card.  condolence and greeting card seem like an oxymoron.

i'm rambling.  this is sounding more and more like a monologue from that show on television Dead Like Me.  the irony is that i feel dead inside.  i have to go sew now.  breathe in.....

Cellophane Woman

i got my first comment on blogspot.  someone knows i’m here.  i wish to thank Split-Second Single Father for his kind words.  and i’m in a category all my own.  he has “young widows,” “young widows with small children,” “young widowers with small children,” “young widows with teens,” and “young widowers with teens.”  i’m “yet more widow/ers.”  it seems the whole world is crying as one category or another.  and, though i have not yet managed to read every blog,” most seem to write with a candle lit against the darkness. mine keeps blowing out.

i sometimes feel like i’m made of cellophane.  that is why i was so shocked to see a comment and to start a category all my own.  i’m that easily overlooked or i’m else that well trained; to bow my head and take it.  my husband had just about given me back my self-worth.  i felt so alive and, the only word is valued.  he valued me.  i don't see feeling that way ever again.  maybe it's just that i'm so down now.  everything hurts.  physically, i hurt.

my daughter is engaged.  his mother is a trained ER-experienced physician’s assistant.  my daughter has a great relationship with her future mother-in-law and talked to her about me.  she was excited to meet me.  that’s the parenthetical information, now for the background.

i broke my hand – two knuckles with bone fragments floating - and with no health insurance, was refused help.  thank you, Massachusetts.  i was taped with that white athletic tape and sent home.  my husband was furious.  we didn’t have the full amount but tried to set up a payment plan.  we were told to go home and call to set that up before service could be rendered as it was not life threatening.  never got done.  working within a system within a system was demoralizing and frustrating.  by the time we had all the money they wanted from us to “pay up front,” we suddenly needed more because my bones had started healing wrong and needed to be re-broken.  back to going home and having to call to re-establish a payment plan as per our budget.  now back to the future, or the present.

my daughter told her future mother-in-law about my hand and she was appalled.  yes, she would take a look at it, bring me to dinner.  so my first night out in my new city, not quite three weeks after becoming a widow, was to meet my daughter's future mother-in-law and her husband, have dinner in her home.  “so you’re a widow now.  you’re still young.  you’ll find someone else.”  without touching my hand she diagnosed “probably arthritis setting in. so do you want wine?  you know, my brother’s divorce is final now and he’s ready to move on.  when you’re ready, let me know.”

my daughter didn’t know what to say to me on the way back to my apartment.  i wasn’t expecting free service.  i wasn’t expecting her to do anything for me that would tax her good will.  i did, however, hope for some empathy, a suggestion or two, the name of a free clinic or sliding scale health clinic.

“if you want to be seen by someone, you should just get some health care and go.  there are some really great doctors here.”

ah, yes, health care.  even now all i can do is chuckle.  i am an artist.  i haven’t been able to get a “real” job here.  where i am is number 10 in the nation for unemployment, 350 teachers and faculty are being let go in June, and college students are flooding the city looking for summer jobs.  all of these people are younger, happier, and have more energy than an older, "other widow" with no car.

so i create.  i cover my hand with the generic of Ben-Gay and wrap it.  and i right now, i'm getting commissions for sewing.  i'm making ends meet, barely.  but i can't afford health care.  my husband would cry if he knew how it is for me now.  he would be so angry for me and he would try to "work a miracle" as he'd always tried before.  soldiers don't earn a great deal of money.  even combat pay is less than what you'd expect.  for a man who could do what he did, be sent where he was sent, and asked to sacrifice that part of his soul, he wasn't paid much.  but i hear Madonna just bought another home, spent $40 million and that's not including her renovations.  and yeah, i know the woman is known for carrying a tune.  but can she sneak into a rebel camp and rescue hostages?  

and bitterness blows out the candle.  sorry.

back to the out-law.  i also do not want to date her brother.  i don't want to date at all, to think of dating, to consider dating. i don’t want anyone but him, my husband.  he is magic.  you don’t get that twice.  i wasn’t made of cellophane in his eyes.  he saw me.  and that was all I ever wanted.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Passing of Time


sleep is still such a rare commodity for me.  i catch it as i can between writing the articles for the other site to earn money and the sewing i do.  i have a commission for three quilts from one of the women in the widow's group.  seeing her renewed pain as she looks at her husband's shirts and pants cut up reminds me how fresh mine is.  her husband died over two years ago and yet the grief is still so close to the surface.  but seeing her attachment to the quilt, it makes up for the both of us the trauma of what i do to get the finished quilt.  her mother-in-law, her children, all will be able to wrap themselves in those quilts and have them forever.

which brings to me to this missive.  what is forever?  tonight at midnight my Carl will have been gone from me for three months.  only three and yet already three months.  it feels like forever and it feels like nothing.  i feel so raw.  i feel like i will never feel any better than this.  i feel so lost.

and i am lost.  nothing is familiar.  nothing is the same.  my walking partner, my companion, my friend, my lover, my husband has died and nothing will ever be good.  i don't feel safe.  i don't feel well.  i sometimes don't feel like anyone knows i'm still alive but my children.  i've faded from life.  easily sacrificed because he is no longer by my side.  i know i was the quiet one, or when i did speak, so easily overlooked.  i quit to easily.  i accept that i am not worth befriending, sitting with, not worth hanging on to.  that is another reason why his death is so hard.  i am so utterly alone.

my children have their lives and are so busy.  i have no other family.  i am in a new city that is nothing like where i was with him.  concrete and asphalt instead of paths to the beach.  car horns and sirens instead of ocean waves.  birds call but they don't cry like our seagulls.  what lonely, austere lives they lead.  mostly solitary.  harsh environment.  seagulls seem to have become a metaphor for my life now.  ugly, austere, mostly solitary, and a harsh environment.  if i fall, who would know?  my children, yes, but they would grieve and move on.  or am i not giving myself enough value?

i always had my own identity.  i was the artist.  he was the Marine.  i was his.  he was mine.  he helped me find my voice but now its fading, as i am.  people pass me by without a glance.  i walk everywhere and i guess that is good but i reinforces how lonely i am without him.  we held hands when we walked.  his holding mine so tightly.  i felt such a sense of well-being beside him.  i felt loved.

three months.  i keep counting.  it ticks in my head every sunday all day.  each hour passing gets closer to midnight.  every night is like that but sundays are the worst.  and i am alone.

i wonder how bad it will feel on his birthday?  on our anniversary?  Christmas?  i'm crying inside even when my eyes are dry.  i can't stop crying.  i also can't get a song out of my head.  the Righteous Brothers, Unchained Melody.  it won't leave no matter what i do.  and it will probably be there tonight when i give up and lay down.  to read.  never to sleep.  that's something else that grief took from me; my ability to drift off and and dream of him.  

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm the One Who is Lost

My husband died.  It was sudden by the truest definition of the word.  He went to sleep and was gone in under ten minutes.  Asleep one moment, gasping the next, lost to me forever somewhere in the next two.  Sudden.  Without warning.  I lost him.  I lost the one person whom I could love and who loved me.  Lost. 

I lost my husband.  That is such an odd euphemism for death.  He isn’t lost.  I know where his body is.  He is ashes in a black box with his name on it.  His medals, his dog tags, and his flag surround it.  It’s folded so that all you see is the field of blue and the embroidered white stars.  My Marine.  My husband.  My soul mate.

“Oh, you lost your husband.  I’m sorry.”  Really?  How sorry?  Sorry enough to come sit with me and talk to me?  To listen to me?  How sorry are you?  How sympathetic do you feel?  How empathetic?  Enough to know that it is not he that is lost, but I?  I am lost.  I am without him.

I lost my best and only friend.  He went where I am not allowed to go just yet.  He went on ahead of me and I am left here on this road and I’ve lost my way.  I can’t find him.  I lost my heart and most of my soul.  I dropped them along the way back there, somewhere between the moment the doctor came out and told me there was nothing she could do and the few minutes I took walking out of the church to the car after his funeral carrying his ashes and his flag.  I think they might be there.  Maybe they are in the hospital parking lot after I had to leave him there to be picked up by the funeral home.  To be honest I haven’t bothered nor cared to look.  My feeling right now is, “Why bother?”  He is not with me and I have no need of those parts of my heart and soul.  Those parts had been reserved exclusively for him.  Life has forever changed for me and I am so different.  He wouldn’t know me, and that makes me crumple inside.

I’m the one who is lost.  I don’t recognize where I am.  Nothing is familiar anymore.  Where I used to walk a small seaside community, I walk concrete and asphalt.  Where I used to see waves either gently caressing rocks and sand or pounding explosively, I see buildings and shopping centers that trap pockets of trees and grass.  I hear car horns and sirens instead of wind and ocean waves.  The birds that live here call but they don’t cry like seagulls do; that lonely lament sent out to a lonely sea and sky.  It is hauntingly beautiful to see and hear a lone gull send its cry into the infinite.  My husband and I would feel its solitary existence in our souls and join hands to reassure each other that we had each other.  But there is no longer a hand for me to reach for.  He has died and I am lost.  So very lost.

Jesus Christ is supposed to be the Way, the Truth, and the Light.  I am trying to find my way.  The truth of my life right now is devastating.  I cannot find a light to walk towards.  I pray more often than everyday.  I pray throughout the day it seems, but I hear nothing in the silence of the room and I’m afraid to tempt myself with belief in mere signs.  I grasp the promise that I will see my husband again like a small child grabs a blanket.  I hold it close and cry into the folds of that promise as if my life depended on it.  And right now it does.  It’s all I have since he has died.

I wonder if someday, if I find myself, I can get back on that path to being allowed to be with him.  Only then, when his hand is back holding mine, will I no longer feel lost.

I don’t want you to be gone///You mean the world to me

My heart is shattered///My soul in tatters

Your death has damaged me.


Everything about you was exactly right,///You are the man of my dreams.

I loved looking at you///Day after day

But now life is over it seems.


Lying beside you, against you, so close///I was safe, and warm, and yours

No one could hurt us///No one could touch us

The world was easy to ignore.

 

I love you so much, the thought of you///Keeps me drifting from reality

Nothing is right///You’re nowhere in sight

I’m no longer part of our “we.”

 

What love has joined no man can part///But it seems we weren’t part of the plan

They came in the night///Claiming you as their right

Your absence is something I can’t stand.


Falling apart in day and in dark///I haven’t slept since you died

I want you so much///Your laughter, your touch

All I've done since you died is cried.