how did i get here?

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

Friday, January 1, 2010

an abstract life

the moon rises and is a warm color. buff or beige with the craters being the darker mottling on the surface. i've thought of her as a woman. the lonely woman next door who can only shine when the sun shines on her. sort of like me. i shined when my Dragon smiled at me. but i do know that the surface creates an illusion called "the Man in the Moon." masculine and feminine.

i feel a kinship with the moon and sometimes think of her in the feminine. but when i search for the moon, possessively and painstakingly wait for it to clear the trees so i can talk to the moon face to face, it is to my Dragon that i speak. only the moon can pull this off in my imagination. only in my imagination would it have to.
as the Earth turns, the moon appears smaller in the night sky and it starts to cool off in color. to me it looks more silver. it's subtle. maybe no one has noticed and you can't see what i see as a difference between the two photographs above. it might only look that way to me. value, hue; color has always been a huge part of my life as an artist.

this holiday season has been difficult to put it mildly. beyond the obvious of missing my Dragon, i have had to face some very harsh realities. i am alone. not to put too fine a point to it, or one that is melodramatic, but i realized yesterday that if i died right now, only two people would come to my funeral, my daughter and my son.

my brother doesn't speak because i committed the unspeakable. i became a Catholic.

i lived a segregated life before the Dragon and few kept up with me. after the divorce and becoming my Dragon's wife, we lived such poor lives, gypsy lives, that no one could know us, or me rather. the church at his funeral on Valentine's Day had almost 50 people that managed to drop everything to come and pay their respects to a man whom they cared about and deeply respected.

no, it is only me who has managed to get this far and leave no trace of my existence. only in an abstract sense am in here.

i am not pouting. i am merely trying to work this out in my head. seeing it in black and white helps.

people here online will suddenly realize that i am no longer here. my daughter has all my passwords and knows to post a notice should anything untoward happen. i value all i have "met" here and i am arrogant enough to think you all need to know why i might no longer be a "voice" here. that's it. it's you. all of you. and there is no way she would think to do a posting until after i am gone by at least a couple of weeks.

thus my funeral will be an "Eleanor Rigby."

why this horrible missive? what brought this on? a couple of things and i've been thinking about them for the last three days.

one. the woman who gave me the book inscribed to her friend called upon her return from her vacation over Christmas. i had been crying and she thought my voice sounded "rough." i explained and she thought i should try to sound better on the phone. i tried. she talked about her trip and how wonderful it was. i listened and murmured in the appropriate places but i admit i was sad that day. actively sad. New Year's was coming. that whole thing about it being a different year number than the one he died in. but i did listen. i heard everything and told her i was happy for her. but she said i did not sound excited enough for her, and that i should be because it had been such a reversal of emotional fortune for her (my terminology - verbatim it was: "i had the best time, better than i thought i would considering it's my first Christmas as a widow and you should be happy for me, well, sound happier. i'm sorry you're having a tough day but this is my time and i'm trying to tell you about it. you should rise to the occasion.")

i just could not manage to make my voice rise enough and she hung up on me. an email on New Year's eve from her confirmed her anger and criticism of my lack of understanding her needs. apparently i am not a good friend. i failed to measure up to. there is nothing i can do about it. i could not apologize enough nor make her understand that i was having a very bad day and i was alone through it.

second. with my dismissal from her life, i realized that should anything happen to me, only the fact that i would not answer my cell when my daughter called would anyone know something was wrong. no one but her calls daily. no friends check in with me because i have acquaintances. there is one widow who reads my writing and i do not want her to feel berated. she is young and dealing with her own pain. she touches base and i do feel that if i were doing a "Hamlet," a "to be or not to be" thing, i could call her. but you see, i will never get that close to the edge. i fight against that despair every minute of every day. and that is the only reason i would bother her.

i believe in God and in doing so, i have to at least acknowledge that there is evil. evil can be found in despair. it is the absence of all hope and i will not go there. i will fight and struggle and find a way to stay connected to a world that i have managed to leave no footprints on.

yes, i know. the quilts. and my writing. i get emails that instill me with hope that i matter. and i am humbly grateful. but again, it leaves only an abstract mark, like the feeling of a passing zephyr. you feel the gentle caress but then it passes and you will forget that moment. the quilts are tangible solace and once they are made, they are a tribute to the one whose clothes they are made from. that's the foundation of my creations. to honor and bring to a renewed life the clothing left behind. the quilts are for the families. i bow out and move to start on the next one. but i also worry about getting more commissions.

i worry about people wanting what i can make, what i can give them. i think these quilts will be my sole legacy besides my two children who really are enough. but i live such a solitary existence and i believe everyone wants to think that they will be missed. i believe everyone wants to believe that someone will stand in a church beside their remains, whether they be in a casket or as ash in an urn, and know that someone, several someones, knew them well enough to pick out hymns, readings, or composed something from the heart. i think people need to hold onto the idea that they will be missed and that friends as well as family will gather together and mourn them, that losing them will be awful and their life celebrated.

it's something i need to work out in my head. i need to find the lasting power of being abstract. it has just been hard to realize that my life is more abstract than most. the people who might miss me, won't miss me until it's all water under the bridge. that subtle wonder of where i might be. "she hasn't written in a while. i wonder what she's up to?"

sort of like the warm and cool colors of the moon. until someone points it out, you don't really notice.

7 comments:

Boo said...

I can see the difference in colour between the two moons. I do admit that I might not have without you posting them next to each other. It's the sort of detail that Cliff would have noticed straight away, but then ... he was special - as you are - to me.

I have to tell you that I was worried because you didn't post yesterday and for some reason, I thought you would. I should have called, sorry, to check ... but I called Cliff's family and it wore me out ... I didn't want to phone you on a downer.

That stupid feckin' woman, honestly. Why is she so arrogant that she thinks it is HER time ... we have all lost husbands/wives ... we are all in pain. Why should you spend what little energy you have on HER? I despair of plastic people like her. It's easy for me to say, but SHE ISN'T WORTH GETTING UPSET OVER. S.T.U.P.I.D.

Oh and I have some news, I can't say here which website it is ... but I think you have free advertising on a major widow's foundation website, which should alleviate some of your worrying about commissions. I have been waxing lyrical about your beautiful husband quilts to the CEO (who has become very dear to me) ... to be confirmed ... but looking VERY promising! She absolutely fell in love with your work. I should be a sales rep for you LOL ... I'm always showing people your art - it gives more comfort than even you realize, I think. Anyhow, so I was sharing with her that you are making a quilt for me and gave her links to your photos ... and told her how understanding you are about me relinquishing those precious memories and garments to you ... I did not portray you as a country mouse, simply told her that that was your sole income and that I thought you were not paid handsomely enough for your works of art and love ... but that you were hesitant to increase your charge in case it stopped the work coming in ... and she suggested it. Her idea is for me to send her photos of Cliff's quilt - and write an article about it - and then she would give you a slot on her foundation's website. I was elated and grabbed the offer on your behalf - I hope you approve.

OK, I will sign off now and call you ... to tell you which website it is! (Sorry folks, anyone else reading this comment will have to keep guessing. This is secret squirrel stuff.)

xxx

womanNshadows said...

my dear secret squirrel. thank you for the phone call. you helped lift my spirits. i wasn't on because i hadn't formulated my thoughts. l i don't like to write when i am feeling too angry. i like to mull over the "if i were in her shoes." but i could not say to anyone what she said to me so that goes out the window.

i healed myself in work on the quilt for Sudden widow's eldest son. i'll finish all the embroidery today. great SyFy junky lineup. i can work all the way up until 11 pm. i bought a pattern for a jacket that i want to make to wear at Camp Widow in August. i'll be planning how i want it to look and start sewing on it after work hours. =0)

as for being my sales rep, the benefits are pretty good. i'll sew, paint, make pretty much anything you'd like. thank you, sister, for your confidence in me. thank you for the phone call. thank you for being there. i feel blessed by you and everyone who writes back to me.

Boo said...

hon, it is a pleasure to talk with you <3 it lifts my spirits and mood too :-)

I have utter confidence in you ... as the Dragon does .... you will see it in yourself one day. You are special! (and loved)

xx

judemiller1 said...

I saw the full moon last night and thought of you--knowing that both of us were gazing at it, at the same time. Made me feel a little closer to you.

I know how you feel about people coming to the funeral--I have often wondered how long I would be dead before any of my daughter's would know. Unlike yours, mine rarely call and never visit even though they live only a few miles from me. When I lived all alone, I wondered about that a lot.

I would miss you terribly if you were gone, as I come here everyday to see what you have written--your words so helpful to me. If you have not posted I always wonder why and yet that is stupid because no one posts everyday...not even me who is so wordy.

Please take good care of yourself and tell your daughter I so appreciate her for watching over you and caring for you as she does. That is at least something you have.

I think your "friend"(?) was not only over sensitive, but a real dummy (I could use stronger language, but...)

love you--

Widow in the Middle said...

This woman has a lot of nerve and I am sorry you have had to be subjected to her ignorance. I would have hung up on her first by now or said or written her something nasty. Enough is enough. Anyway, I hope she leaves you alone or you're out walking your dogs if she calls again so you will miss her.

When I look at the moon I often think of you and wish you well from afar. I have worried about you in the past when you haven't posted and I am sure the reaction would be immediate if you did not post for a day or two. We have all gotten used to hearing from you on a very regular basis and I know there would be some panic if we did not.

All of us have to struggle with mortality and what we will leave behind. Sam only has an estranged sister in his life, an ex-wife, his 11-year-old son and me and the boys. My family is so estranged from me I don't even think I'd want them at my funeral if I had one. I know you are searching for answers that will ring true for you.

For me, I think what we end up leaving is all intangible. Love is what remains and what goes with us. Your quilts and posts are full of love. Your art, photos and words radiate love in ways that we cannot see or comprehend. You said that you have not left any footprints on this world but I would disagree. We might not be able to see any but they are there. You have left love in people's hearts and that might even be more powerful than any old footprints which can get swept away in the wind and rain. What you've imprinted on hearts will be safely kept within forever.

Lonesome Dove said...

wNs, my heart aches for you every time I read one of your posts like this one. And I do try to respond, but many times after composing a message, for whatever reason, it will not post. (I think I have to be logged in ahead of time, so I'm trying it that way right now).

That woman who called you, so but I'm going to say it....SHE IS A ROYAL BITCH! WHO THE FUCK DOES SHE THINK SHE IS??? Sorry, but people like that just piss me off! I made a decision long ago that high-maintenance friends would no longer be my friends...and they aren't, and I'm quite happy with it. Just ignore her, put her number on block, don't answer the door is she comes over (pretend you are in the shower).....or better yet, if you can't avoid her, tell her! Tell her you are not comfortable with the relationship you two have, and as she pointed out so "eloquently" that you are "...not a good friend." Yeah, well neither is she. You do not need people like that in your life. PISS ON HER!

OK, now back to your post. I think we all have similar feelings about our own demise. I live with my sister and my youngest daughter, and even with them here, I have wondered if I were to die, how long would it be before they noticed. They have their own schedules, and I have none, so it could be late in the day before anyone noticed. Not something any of us want to really think about, but that is reality. And we all know at some point, it will happen.

Your footprints are most definitely there. You tread lightly, so they may appear faint, but they are there. Your words, your sewing, your love for your Dragon and your children....they are there.

And I also understand the loneliness you speak of. I don't have real "friends"; I have people I speak to on occasion, family that I can call and visit, but never have had a bevy of "friends". There are times I lament on the whole "girlfriend" thing. Never had it and wonder if it is something wrong with me...am I socially inept? am I too old? am I too (fill in the blank)? But I do know that I am happy with ME.

I worry about you not having transportation and being able to just get away. I wish the weather was nicer; I have the urge to get away....I could be at your place in 18 hours. You could show me your beautiful stitching projects and we could discuss stained glass (a passion of mine) and talk about our real best friends who are no longer with us and drive to the beach and cry together and go throw eggs at that nasty woman. ;)

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Please do not let that toxic woman have any part of your life from this point on.

Please remember, too, that although this is a sort of nadir of the year for many of us, online and in real life, the truth is that the days are getting longer now, day by day.

X

Supa

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