how did i get here?

my husband, my beautiful Dragon, died suddenly at 12:03 AM on 9 February 2009. there was a cold, lovely full moon and 3 feet of snow on the ground. i "slept" for the following 10 months and "woke" to the physical and emotional pain and torments of deep grief. i "woke" to find i had moved the day of his funeral and that i am lost. i am looking for me while i figure out the abstract, unanswerable questions that follow behind any death. my art has evolved. his death changed that as well because i am forever changed and will forever bear the mark of losing the only man i can ever love.
there is alive and there is dead and there is a place in between. i am here wholly in my heart for my children, but i feel empty inside at this time. i miss him. i have not gotten very far in my grief journey. i make no apologies for this.
this is my place, my blog, where i write to tell the universe that i am still here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

inflatable duck while waiting for the Tylenol PM to kick in....

i'm waiting for the Tylenol PM to kick in but i think i'm getting immune or i waited until the pain in my knees and my hand was too far along.

i woke the dogs with my picture taking. they were so sound asleep. bless their hearts. i woke them up. i think they're worried about me. my sleep patterns have been disrupted since February 9th, that awful night. i can see a full moon coming on again. it's almost 8 months.

Carmen Sophia was perturbed by the flash.

Scootie Wootums had something to say about it. i stopped bothering them and found this duck. i do wish i had this duck. maybe i could sleep on his back.

he has a nice smile, a calm countenance. i bet he'd listen to my woes and never judge. ah well, maybe the Tylenol PM is finally kicking in. i hope someone liked my puppies and this duck. i hope i can sleep a little tonight.

i hope he comes to me in my dreams. a Dragon with moonlight-colored hair and a soft beard. i would sleep for a long time if only i could feel his arms around me ~~~~~~ just once more.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

i'm still here ~ sewing a unique quilt design

the tinnitus is a little better. the dizziness is abating. the pain in my ear is gone, finally. three nights and two days of spinning rooms and short dog walks in a whirling world but i am better. i feel wiped out.

i've been working on one of the quilts i've been commissioned to do. i had the interruption of my daughter's wedding one weekend and then three days of being quite sick immediately after. so with my ear thing i was not going to go lay down again. i need to finish this.

and it's turned into an altogether unique quilt. i finished the top and started piecing the back but i couldn't imagine quilting the front TO the back so i quilted the front on it's own. today i'm finishing the back and will pin it to the batting and a sheet to put in the frame. when it's finished, it will be a double-sided quilt. the top and the back will be dedicated individually to honor her husband's clothes.

i can't explain it. it is just what i felt from knowing her and the feeling i got when i was alone with the basket of clothes talking to him. "what do you want her to have?" it's the only question i ask out loud in my apartment while i work. they are as individual as grief, as the relationship of the two people personally involved with the quilt, and as i am.

hopefully i won't lift my head from the table and be too dizzy anymore. i want this ear thing completely over with. but i think i will nap a little bit today to try and gain a foothold. i'm just down right now. feeling sad and ill and missing my Dragon. wishing my nap was in his arms.

Friday, September 25, 2009

i was ill last night so i need him to come back to me.

i want him back. that's all. that's the only thing that will work.

i took the pictures last night of Mr. Scootie Wootums, Poetry Man and Lord of the Dance and Miss Carmen Sophia the Wild Gypsy Girl as i lay on the floor. i went there before i fell there. i got to feeling so ill last night and i got scared. i have an inner ear thing that can crop up without warning and make the room spin. i get dizzy and that makes me queazy and i have a hard time moving. but dogs have to be taken out and i have to get to bed somehow. i was terrified at 11:15 PM of going out with two Scotties on a coupler but they were good "kids," even when the three deer meandered past.

i am so tired today. and lost. i feel cut adrift in a world i don't know. so, i want him back.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

old photos, old fears

i cleaned out a closet looking for something and i found a few old rolls of 35 mm. i got them processed and put on a CD. it was a lot of photos of my Dragon before he grew his beard for me and his hair turned the color of moonlight. they are old enough to be grainy. i used to like to shoot black and white. something pure about it. now i shoot digital and can convert to black and white but i will always keep my old camera and shoot the occasional roll.

i stayed up late, even for me, looking through the photos, each one of him when we were dating and shortly after our wedding. they brought back such a flood of sadness over the man i lost.

i have to admit it. let me stand up and say, "hello. i'm womanNshadows. i fell off the wagon. i went to that place. i sat with my big vice, an anemic Shirley Temple - 7up and grenadine, no cherry - and i wept over the past. i cried over things i cannot change. i have no courage for anything even remotely big to come along that i may need to change. and i am all out of wisdom or i would have tried to find, at the very least, a cherry substitute."

i want him back. we all say it. we all think it. we want our spouses back. i personally want it to be like it never happened. a long, bad dream. i want to be right back on my wedding day looking at him looking at me. i want my Dragon to come walking down the road towards me with his big dopey dog that looked ferocious but would cower and point his huge paw at the china cabinet. i to see that smile when he realizes i'm taking his picture and hear him laugh at me. "don't you have enough pictures of me?" no, there can never be enough and now there never will be another one. these last few rolls are all that's left.

i sobbed until my head ached and i asked myself why am i torturing myself? he would be so pissed at me for sitting there like that. no, he would be heartbroken that his death has caused me such intense pain. i am in mourning and he knows how much i love him, adore him, and he knows it will always be mourning for me, even at night. he would sit beside me and stroke my bowed head shaking with sobs. he would rub my back and tell me not to go on so. he'd try to tell me that he would watch over me but i can't hear him. is it because he can't find me? is he searching all over Cape Ann for me, calling out in a voice that blends in with the cry of the gulls then waiting to hear if i reply?

he's the Dragon. i have to tell myself he knows where i am or i'll go crazy. he can track anyone. it was part of his job. so i have to keep telling myself he can find me here. but i hope he's not looking. sometimes i wish he would visit for just one brief moment to let me know he's all right, but i sincerely pray he's waiting for me in Heaven. and i sincerely hope God let's me spend eternity with him because i can't bear the thought that that brief time was all i am going to be allowed to have.

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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

fantasy versus reality

i've had a terrible day. major set-back. been knocked completely off my feet. it involves the ex and an email he wrote to me today that i cannot go into. suffice to say i'm shattered, again. i was starting to find my footing with how it's going to be for me from now on here alone. small apartment. working by sewing for a living. believing that my little Memory Quilts were going to make a difference. and i'd be gaining his help piece mail, but he's jerked the rug out from under me. i read the email 3 times. all i could do was fall onto the bed, curl up with a pillow to my stomach, and sob myself into a terrorized nap, wail for my Dragon to come back and save me, fall further than the mattress into the deepest despair. i want my Dragon to come get me.

but he can't.

fantasy: my Dragon is with me, here. we're surviving a little better than we ever did because the kids are out of college and paying their own way, for the most part. he's working. i'm here sewing for a living. we are together. small dreams. i've never asked for a lot. i only wanted a small home, children, and a man who loves me and whom i love dearly.

we'd have done my daughter's wedding together. he would have been at my side. when the ex proclaimed publicly that he had no words for his father of the bride toast, my Dragon would have stepped up and her shocked embarrassment would have turned to smiles. our Dragon rescues her by showing his devotion.

if anyone got too close, maybe to say something to me, my Dragon would have stepped up to prove that he would be there to hear it all, watching them with that look that only a dragon can give. everyone would have seen and known that i was under his protection. i was his. i belonged to someone great and powerful. maybe not a financial giant, but in the world of claws and evil, in the world where women can get trampled and abused, he was The Dragon, and i belonged to him. his hand would have strayed, often, irreverently, to my tush.

we would have come home together and enjoyed the company of my son and his girl. we would have stood side-by-side the next morning watching them drive away and i would have turned to embrace him. he would have held me tight and whispered in my ear as i cried on his shoulder, "he'll be back for Thanksgiving. we'll have them both for Thanksgiving. come on back inside, baby. let me love you."

reality: i live alone. precariously fragile, suffering over the death of my love, my friend, my soul mate, my husband. i beg the ex for the money he owes me with no recourse if he chooses to withhold it. i work hard sewing, pretending that i and my work is worth something, when all the ex says is, "charge more and i won't have to help you with the bills." even if i was paying for all my own bills right now, he'd still owe me the money.

i'm exhausted. i'm tired. i do wish sometimes that it had been me. the wedding was harder than i even imagined it would be. too many snippy girl complaints that don't mean anything to anyone but me, but yes, things were said. my feelings got hurt. i ignored the jabs. i kept my head down and was very correct in my social behavior. yes, they knew i was hurt. yes, there was laughter. i had no Dragon to turn to, to turn in his arms and feel loved. i was alone.

when the ex told the family and guests waiting at the cake cutting that he didn't have anything to say as father of the bride, i reached into my pocket and brought out my prepared toast, my poem i wrote to her, my backup little speech just in case. and yes, her shocked embarrassment was transformed into smiles as i made a jest at my own expense to distract the unpleasantness surrounding her father's arrogance.

i came home and my son has returned to Florida and i'm alone. and now the email has come that i wish with all my heart i could talk to my daughter about, but she'll be on her honeymoon until Saturday. i'm scared and afraid and terrified. did i mention i am frightened?

i wish he were here. i want him to come back to me and make it all better. he would know what to do. my Dragon would be able to keep the demons at bay. when i was crying on the bed earlier i thought to myself, "it's like he died all over again." the ex makes me see in as many ways as possible how vulnerable i am, how alone i am.

i need him so much now and i can't have him. i can't even call him on the phone to hear his voice or the heavy breathing heavy he'd affect to make me laugh. i need him and i don't know how i'll make it without him. splitting headache from all the crying. my neck is tight and stiff from bending over a quilt i'm hand stitching the borders to and embroidering tonight.

fantasy versus reality. fantasy all the way. i wish i could just crawl under the covers and dream the rest of my life away. dream myself back into his arms. stroke his beard and touch the crinkles beside his eyes. i don't want to be awake. i want to be asleep and then wake up to find i'm with him.

but i have to face this. this is what life has decided i need to endure. why, i don't know. i don't think i'm a bad person. if i was, i think life would be working out better for me. the bad people i know seem to have it all while i get a day like today where i get punched (metaphorically) in the stomach and end up chewing on my hair in the corner. or a night like i did on 9 February when my Dragon stopped breathing forever.

"i'd rather be dreaming than living. living's just too hard to do....."

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.

the wedding

for more photos go to:

click on photos and then look for the folder titled "my daughter's wedding."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

i wish i had a river......

the culmination of all my sewing and planning with my daughter and all my organization is today. her wedding.

i made it through last night's dinner by sitting in my seat and talking only to my son and his girlfriend. i was animated, regaling her with stories of him. we three talked "shop." my son and his girlfriend are both creatives. their work is on computer - 3D and Cinema 4D MoDynamics animation, computer elites. besides his "day job" teaching at the university he attended, he does free lance for Universal Studios and the Golf Channel. he's a nice young man and he respects my background of having been an art director for an advertising agency out in Dallas where all my creative work was done on the board. so the three of us talked about clients and the difference of my having to wrist it all during meetings on paper or paper napkins while they bring laptops and "clamshells" to meetings and render on-screen. very different world.

we three sat and talked and i didn't have to think about everyone being paired. i didn't have to answer questions about "how are you doing?" there was only a couple of "oh, you poor dear, so alone now and still so young." one, "it's going to be such a long life for you and yet you're too old now, I guess, to find anyone new." and one very random, "did you love him?" to each one i said, "excuse me, i need to go take some photographs for the wedding album."

i didn't cry in public. i couldn't cry when i got back to the apartment because my son and his girlfriend are staying with me. nice. this is the first time since i got to this town after my Dragon's funeral that i haven't been alone at night. i can't like it too much or think about it at all because my son and his girl leave for their respective homes in Florida Sunday. *sigh*

i laid awake until 3 AM thinking of my Dragon. i wish he were here. it's that simple. i wish he were with me for this. i don't know how to deal with people. if i don't talk too much because of my aloneness, i shut down and am in my own world. i'm not good with people beyond being a vendor of advice, work, or favors. when the attention is turned onto me, i do not know how to act/respond/be. i'm a behind the scenes person.

so i laid awake and cried alone in the dark. silent crying unheard over the fan and the itunes. my little dogs snuggled in close and knew, "it's one of those nights." i thought about my daughter going away on her honeymoon. i can't ask her to call me to check in everyday like she does normally. it's her honeymoon. i can last one week without speaking to anyone. can't i? then i thought that one thought that was the worst. i'll really be alone for the next week. my son's schedule is crazy wild and he calls only once a week, sometimes twice. but it is my daughter whose my "daughter all the days of her life." but she deserves a break from me.

hell, i deserve a break from me.

which brings me full circle to my Dragon. i want him back. i want to lie down with him in the circle of his arms and have him whisper to me all the sweet words he used to say. i want him to finger comb my hair and tell me it's all going to be okay. that he loves me and i'm beautiful and he'll never leave me. he always promised he'd never leave me.

why did they make him go? why did they take him from me when i'm the weak one? i've been so alone all my life, defending myself during childhood, protecting myself and my children during my first marriage. always alone. always the one out front taking the hits. i was already so whipped and tired. i was already so weak, my strength gone, my inner reserves almost depleted.

and then i met my Dragon.

and i wasn't alone. but now all my dreams have been shattered. all my hopes are shot so full of holes they are unrecognizable. i'm terrified. i have nothing left inside me to give anymore because i trusted that it was finally my time to have something good and i gave all of myself to my Dragon, because he told me every night before we shut our eyes, "i love you. you are my whole world. i'll always be here for you. sweet dreams, my love."

i haven't heard that in 7 months now. 7 very short, very long months.

so the wedding is today. all the people will come. i have a lot to do before it starts. i'll have a lot to clean up after the happy couple leave. and then i'll be alone again. i have no money to get anymore food until i finish another quilt. my daughter is working on her dad to loan me some but so far...... he loves the control. i have a court document that says he owes me 300K left over from the divorce that he refuses to pay saying "it's my money." i know he won't let me starve but the games are exhausting and demeaning for my daughter and me. she sees him now without the mask of "dad" attached to his name. he's let her see who he really is and she gets nauseous sometimes. she's so worried and it's her wedding today. her last comment to me last night as we parted was, "i'll talk to him again. we'll get you some money, mom." my last comment to her was, "don't you worry. i can take care of this. please, relax and enjoy all this. he's not going to keep this up much longer. he'll give me some money to last."

we hugged. we had tears in our eyes. two women who knew the unspoken. i might not be alright, not without giving up more of myself in whatever way he wants. he may want me to sew something for free. he may want me to acknowledge how he holds all the cards. and i'll diminish myself and do it. acquiescence isn't submission. it's just another strategy until a better one presents itself.

oh, God, i am already so tired this morning. i wish you could have let me have my Dragon for a little bit longer. i wish you could have allowed his deals to close before he died so that i wasn't in this financial position.

"i wish i had a river i could skate away on....."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

interrupting my hiatus to bring you this poem

it's almost here. the wedding that has taken all my time and thoughts these last almost 2 weeks. i've been dreaming of my Dragon and missing him a lot, too much. i feel his absence more as the wedding draws closer. i'm back to not sleeping and i feel tired. so i write on any piece of paper i find by the bed so i don't have to get up.

i wrote this. it's a completely, fall down on my knees, self pity poem where every thought shines the light on how great he is - how great he was - is - was. i have no idea anymore. just because he isn't here doesn't mean he stopped being who he was - is - was. past tense is just so hard to admit to. i'm in sad shape.

when the Dragon smiled
she always returned with one of her own
but always in complete awe of his.

when the Dragon laughed
she delighted in the sound
that he shared only with her.

when the Dragon was deep in thought
she studied his face, his lines, his strength
and hoped his thoughts were of her.

when the Dragon spoke
she listened to his tone, his words,
and she fell in love all over again.

when the Dragon slept
she kept vigil with a quiet hand on his chest
and was calmed by the steady beats and his breath.

when the Dragon loved her
she believed in the forever she found
in his great arms and gentle eyes.

and when the Dragon died
she saw her world torn apart
and her soul left without it's other half.

as time has gone on, without her Dragon
she has been felled with the burden of carrying on
while missing her Dragon, wanting him, loving him.

and now, back to the wedding.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

i'm disappearing for a while

i think i'll be disappearing for a while. i'm going to duck my head until the wedding is over. i've been sewing and sewing, finished the wedding runner and going to be steam pressing it over the next couple of days. i still have my daughter's going away skirt to finish the hand applique on, and the flowers get delivered to me next Wednesday for me to start making the arrangements.

her father, his wife, and his mother are coming in a week from tomorrow and the demands have already been phoned in to me for how things are going to go. they aren't going to go that way, not the way they want. but i can't confront directly. not these three. i want my daughter's wedding to be peaceful BUT exactly as she wants it. it's HER DAY.

so the chess match has started. they move. i silently counter. it will be interesting. and it will be exhausting.

i'm already tired. i still have a lot of creating to do. as my daughter says, "magic." i don't make magic. i just make things. the runner is pretty. i put hundreds of hours into it in and around all the other things i made for her wedding plus the Memory Quilts i'm working on.

i'm so tired. i've been crying a lot more lately, over simply ridiculous things. my gentle little Scootie Wootums, innocent Scottie extraordinaire leaped almost three feet into the air and snatched a blue and black butterfly out of the air. he didn't eat it but he killed it just the same. and i cried. standing outside on the small hill beside my apartment all alone with my two little dogs, i cried. he didn't know. he was being a little dog. but i cried all the same.

i miss my husband. i miss him. i feel lost and empty. i feel less. i know it goes against the natural order of things but for this one weekend, i want him back. i want him standing with me. i want to be somebody one more time. when he was alive, i was a person. now, i don't know what i am but i know that people do not hesitate to dismiss me, expect the impossible, ignore me, stand me up, tell me i'm creepy, wrong, and have the talent to decimate my feelings. i'm tired and i'm fragile.

i am planning on hiding behind the camera at my daughter's wedding. i'm the official photographer anyway so it's a good excuse. i do not think i will be able to deal with too much more than making sure the swarming vultures do not harm my daughter with either actions or words. she's going to be so happy, so vested in her day that i know she could easily get blind sided. protecting her is all i have the energy for. but who will protect me?

i miss him. three small words that in no way convey the depth of pain behind them. i have an ache inside that feels colder as this wedding approaches. i want to be able to turn and see the love he had for me, the laughter in his eyes when people act silly. i want to know that he has my back.

i don't think i've felt so alone since that first 2 or 3 months. it's coming up on 7 months since he died and i'm not getting any better. i'm existing. i'm working very hard. i laugh sometimes but i don't feel it deeply. i'm not laughing inside. i'm falling into a routine of silence and monotony. i don't look too far into the future, not beyond the next day or so. i worry about food, paying the rent, and weather for walking to the library.

i miss him. i want him back. it's almost been 7 months since he died and i don't see the improvement that the facilitator of the group claims is coming. i'm lonely. for him. i'd like a friend but for some reason people don't take to me. not for long.

he is my friend and i want him back. he means everything to me but he's gone. i still can't believe it sometimes. i still get that punch in the stomach when i fully face the statement, "he died." so i think maybe i should disappear for a while. i think i'm going to duck my head and get my daughter's wedding over with. i'm going to focus on juggling the demands made with the strategy of keeping them from hurting her.

i just really need a dragon for this. i need my Dragon.

i'll be back after the weekend of September 12th.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

friend request ~ denied

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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