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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

musings after one year

i walked a mile with pleasure

she chatted all the way

but left me none the wiser

for all she had to say.

i walked a mile with sorrow

and ne'er a word said she

but oh, the things i learned from her

when sorrow walked with me.

my first year without him is over. the anniversary of his funeral on Valentine’s Day is over. i have no big excuse at the moment for feeling this badly other than he’s gone. he’s not coming back. i’ll never touch him, hear his voice, or be in his arms again.

if you’ve read my writing before you know i love the ocean.

i would give anything to be back walking the beach with him, climbing the rocks, and taking my photographs. i miss it with a heartache that won’t be healed. i have never found the serenity i experienced living by the ocean. it didn’t matter how wild the weather was, the ocean calmed my spirit. i felt free there. i can breathe there. wading. swimming. walking beside it. holding his hand and listening to the world, and his voice.

my Dragon’s and my last day together was spent by the ocean. we walked the beach and talked about nothing. we laughed. we shivered in the cold. a few hours later he was gone. i had no idea for a whole year what to do. i was confused and lost and desolate.

but a year has passed and from just barely into this side of it……. i am still confused and lost and desolate. when i sew i can stay focused on this life, mine, the one i still have. but when i stop sewing, or if i pause, i think about what it would be like if my Dragon was still alive and i know the truth. i would also be alive.

Unless you can muse in a crowd all day

On the absent face that fixed you

Unless you can love as the angels may

With the breadth of Heaven betwixt you

Unless you can dream that his faith is fast

Through behoving and unbehoving

Unless you can die when the dream is past

Oh never call it loving.

~ E. Browning.

my mind is a muddle, or maybe it’s a symphony, i try to look on the bright side. my mind is a maelstrom of thoughts, songs, pieces from literature, poems. i think of things and they all make me think of him, remind me of our time together, glittering moments in the sun or under the moon and stars.

Tennyson wrote of the walls of Camelot, “They were never built and therefore built forever.” magic is like that. some love stories are magic.

i know about time. i know how long a minute is. waiting for the Paramedics to come, doing CPR, talking to him, trying to convince God to let him stay with me. then waiting for the doctor at the ER, alone in a cold waiting room, minute after minute. there were ten of them that culminated with an empty life, a shattered heart, and a broken spirit.

i know how long an hour is. i was agonizingly alone for 20 of them waiting for my children to fly to me, to get to me. hour after hour sitting silently alone. i just sat in a chair holding his coat. i would get up to walk the dogs but then i would return to that chair in front of the picture window. i stared at the ocean the rest of that dark night, and all that day, and into the evening until my children came to me. of all the days following his death that are lost in a haze, i remember those 20 hours of solitude. no sound except the ocean and the gulls.

and i watched the sun come up.

there it is. the first sunrise over a Dragon-less Rockport, over a Dragon-less world. the pain in my chest was a terrible thing to feel. i still feel it at times. he’s gone and he’s never coming back.

i know how long a year is. it is endless days and nights without him. i can't smell him, hear him, touch him, talk to him, cry in his arms, languish in his arms, be in his arms, his strong arms that kept me safe and warm, and loved. now that i know, facing the coming years without him is bringing me to my knees. i’m trying to focus on work so here is some news.

i won the Camp Widow photo contest. i sent in two so i’m not sure which one won. my quilts and i will be part of the expo at Camp Widow. there will be an article about me in the newsletter Hope Matters. i have a new website up. the link is on the right side over there under his photo. i’m trying hard to drum up more commissions, also by letting people know i can do more than just the Memory Quilts. please go to my new website and see if there is anything i can do for you, or someone you know. pass it along.

sewing, quilting, creating things is my tether to this life. but i wish my life was beside the ocean again.

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

~ Masefield

but i’d trade being beside the ocean for him. i’d live in a desert to be with him again. i’d live here in this apartment and give up ever seeing the ocean again just to be in his arms.


Widow in the Middle said...

Congratulations on winning the Camp Widow photo award and being in the newsletter. What amazing accomplishments! The photos in this post are breathtaking.

You have just gone through a very tiring and tumultuous journey marked by the significant calendar year. Time is needed for the dust to settle and for you to have some time where your mind isn't spinning with so many words and images. I think it is okay for all us to have moments where we just be and just are. Where we can put aside all that we have been remembering and thinking about and let our minds rest for a little while.

I know these following words will not provide much comfort - they are only mere words. But I do want to relate that despite the events of the past year, you have gone on to create art and help soothe other broken hearts. There is power, strength, love, truth and great beauty in that achievement. The photo award and newsletter article will serve to reach others and inspire hope. Thank you for the inspiration you provide to all of us every day.

judemiller1 said...

I am so happy that you won! Your photos and art and words always fill me with awe. I think the first year is filled with not only grief, but shock. You might forget for just a moment and then you awake and the first thought is that our loved one is gone and it is a shock--a daily shock. I don't think the second year or the third really get any easier--perhaps that shock mellows, but now comes the real grief because all becomes so very real.

Suddenwidow said...

Congratulations on winning the contest! You are accomplishing great things, even while living through your grief. I hope you are proud of all you're doing while grieving your Dragon. For us to function and grieve is huge. Give yourself a big pat on the back!!! I love your new website!!

Masefield's poem was Austin's favorite. He'd memorized it in high school and would recite it once in a while. My Mom did a cross stitch of the poem and it hangs in our sailboat. The poem was read when we spread his ashes. And as someone who feels the same healing power from the sea, but was scared to face the reality of being at the sea without him, I have to tell you that you must get back to the sea, if only for a while. The sea has a way of transcending the grief, of soothing the grief, of bringing peace. San Diego anyone????

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