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, March 18, 2010

impasse with God

Warning: This post contains thoughts of religion and the afterlife. Herein are my beliefs and worries, thoughts and hopes. They are based on my chose faith, Catholicism. I have already been punished by the family of my childhood for my conversion. There is no need for anyone to force himself or herself to read and then condemn me as well. Their job was thorough. Well-thought and well-meant comments are welcome. Spiteful and cruel arrogance will be deleted. I do not need anymore of it in my life than I already had, and have.

what happens at the moment of death? where did my Dragon go? this has been crushing me since that moment when i knew, before the paramedics came through the door, i knew he was leaving me. no one can look like that, no one can struggle so to breathe and be saved. was he gone during those moments when he became red in the face? was he gone when they sent me from the room? did he leave his body at the hospital? before he got there? where is he?

did he fly past the moon that night? fanciful i know but there is a poet in me that wants to write about it that way. did someone he trust and love come to get him? his mother? i have to know and yet, it isn’t for me to know, is it? or we’d all know. it would be taught to us as children. Jesus would have clarified.

as a child i believed in Heaven. i accepted it as quickly as i did everything my mother told me. there was Heaven. there was Hell. Hell was spoken of more to me as a child in reference to the punishment waiting for me should i not go to sleep, or if i couldn’t, what would happen if i woke my mother up. “There is a trapdoor under your bed that leads straight to Hell. If you are loud, or wake me up, demons will open the door and reach up with their long arms and grabbed your hands and drag you straight to Hell.”

to this day, at the age of 52, i clasp my hands when i attempt sleep so that they are occupied and the demons cannot grab them. that they can grab my arms or legs or neck is something i cannot do anything about. but my mother only ever mentioned my hands and it’s my hands i keep filled. i used to hold my Dragon. he understood and quietly wept for the child i never got to be. now i am back to holding my own hands.

and i am weary of this particular worry.

when i lost my son 27 ½ years ago, i knew he went to Heaven. he is innocent. he is my little baby, my sweet, Sweet Little Star. each of my children has a nickname that i gave them when the doctors first let me hold them. they were born and swaddled and given to me to hold for a moment before being taken for their Apgar scoring. i whispered each their name against their soft cheeks, letting my lips brush their skin for the first time. my Sweet Little Star. my BabyLove. my Little Boy Blue. i was determined to never be the mother my mother was. i gave them all so much of myself. my Sweet Little Star is in Heaven. i am sure. and i will see him if i am allowed to go. but will i get to go?

what will happen? what has already happened to my Dragon? he felt he would go to Hell for all that he did in service to his country. i told him he killed for his country but he was not a murderer anymore than a policeman who saves people from the bad guys are murderers. i told him that what he did, he did for God and country and that his honor and integrity, his worries for his soul would grant him his place in Heaven. he fought for his country. he fought for an idea and an ideal that was, at the heart of it, good and decent.

he would smile at me but i hope, i think i saw, relief in his eyes. he felt i knew what i was talking about. he called himself a heathen. i called him my lovely Dragon who saved my children and me.

but a year has passed and i am so alone and so tired. while worrying about money and health care, i still wonder and worry about Heaven and he is really there, and if i would be allowed to be with him. was what i always told him correct? nothing can shake faith like the loss of someone so important. after everyone goes back to their lives, and the alone time comes, the exploration of the dogma and the examination of faith starts. how to you keep to your faith when it is tested to this magnitude? my Dragon is somewhere i cannot go yet. i am not even allowed to know. when it is my time to go, will I be reunited with him?

to comfort myself, i try to create the image of my sailing out to find him. since i am so tired of life, i am too tired to believe i could fly. but he is my Dragon and he will come out of a beautiful sky to find me. he will take me up with him on his great back and we will go off to Heaven where i can rest for a moment.

however my inner child, the one that was religiously threatened with a trapdoor of demons under my bed begs God to let me be with my Dragon with promises that i will work so very hard in Heaven. please, oh, please just let me be with him. i won’t touch him if i’m not supposed to. i will just look at him while i work for You, listen to his deep voice, wait for his smiles. but, please, let me just be near him.

{it is a pathetic little prayer, isn't it? "When Rabbit Howls." a book i studied my first semester in abnorm. psych. i thought it then. i think it now. sometimes things can happen to a child that changes them forever. they become something different than what they were meant to be.}

so many theologians and philosophers have written their interpretations of Heaven, when it starts, who goes, and is there marriage and love there. some believe we are reunited but only insofar as we know each other but never look at the other because we are looking at God. some wrote of marriage being an earthly institution that cannot continue in Heaven because all things of this earth die. Catholic bishop Wilhelm Schneider predicted that God would bless the holy sacrament of marriage and that couples would reunite in Heaven, meeting joyfully, and that their unions blessed on earth through the priest, would now be blessed by God. he went on to touch on physical love saying that in Heaven, “we are freed from inordinate passion,” but that our reunions with our spouses would be “a spiritual union and will continue in the purest and most delightful interchange.” i've known priests who had a hard time discussing physical love. i've known others that were salt of the earth men who knew there was such a thing as sex and their counsel was wise indeed.

i cannot imagine my Dragon restraining himself, even in Heaven, especially in Heaven, where all good things come to those who have waited. he was a man of great passion. Heaven would have to make allowances for him.

i like what the chaplain to the queen of England, Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) wrote of his marriage to his beloved wife, Fanny. “All I can say is, if I do not love my wife, body and soul as well there as I do here, then there is neither resurrection of my body or of my soul, but of some other, and I shall not be I.”

there is a poem called “The Blessed Damozel” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. in it he tells of the reunion of lovers in Heaven. in Heaven couples have similar clothes, hair, and faces. they hug, kiss, and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes. when Damozel arrives in Heaven, she cries because she cannot feel whole, such is her love for her husband. God makes her complete, but it is through her husband that she will feel all of Heaven. the poem creates a kind of quad-eternity rather than the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and the Divine Couple that were joined on earth through their pure and eternal love. they are God’s children and Damozel needs to know that they will be reunited when her husband dies and comes to Heaven.

the last verses have the appearance of the figure of Mary. here She is not merely the mother of Christ, but a sacred person who understands women and the role their mates and children play in their lives. She is the Blessed Mother of all. Damozel proclaims that it will be Mary who will bring her and her love to a sympathetic and loving Christ and it is Damozel who speaks last.

There will I ask of Christ the Lord

Thus much for him and me: -

Only to live as once on earth

With Love, - only to be,

As then awhile, forever now

Together, I and he.

it is my belief that God created an enchanting world filled with what i see as miraculous, awe-inspiring beauty.

He wants us to be happy here. He gave us the gift of being able to love. He gave us marriage. Jesus loved to go to the celebrations of marriages so why would marriage be taboo in Heaven? and if someone, say someone like me, who had lived their whole life praying and being quiet, and worrying about the trapdoor of demons under the bed, why would they be as instantly relegated to Hell as her mother was so willing to do? i’ve read William March. i was not a "Bad Seed." i was a little girl who thought the world was beautiful and liked to collect rocks and blow the seeds off dandelions. i still do those things. sadly, i also still feel that if there can be demons under a little girl's bed to keep her silent, then God is going to have a hard time deciding on me. if my mother could firmly stamp that into my child's mind, what hope would i have of God's grace?

i am at an impasse, of sorts, with God. i would like to know, very much like to know. i know i will not know until it is my time to know. when i fear too much what will happen to me, i think of what i said to my Dragon. when i worry about my Dragon who is apart from me, maybe not hearing me tell him i love him, not hearing my assurances that he is a good man and worthy of the Heaven he feels he denied himself by being a Marine, i remind myself of two things:

we are all God’s children and Jesus asks the children to come to Him.

i also remind myself that God is above all else, a God of love, and love has many definitions. after all, He gave me the sun and the moon……..

.....and He honored me with my Dragon.

4 comments:

Kim said...

wNs, I wish you could see yourself as I do - if only for a moment - as Woman in Light. I wish even more you could see yourself through the eyes of your Dragon. I know without a doubt, with all certainty in the world, that when your time comes, the first arms that embrace you will be your Dragon. Love is an energy - and you cannot destroy it. Death has nothing on what you two shared, and still share. This was a beautiful post for so many reasons. My heart sank with the last line....

"....and He honored me with my Dragon."

Just beautiful. What we know of love here on earth is only a fraction to how it will be on the other side - I hope that thought can comfort you, in your knowing that your connection with your Dragon can only strengthen, deepen from here on out.

Anonymous said...

god is love and love is god. Threats and damnation are instruments of wounded humans trying to control their own pain by harming others. That is not love. Think of when your own kids made mistakes, or irritated you - you may have been annoyed, but you love them. You still love them now. You want their learning and their peace-of-self. Why would god be any LESS loving to his/her children? Any god who does not accept love that is offered, love that is given - that is not a god I want anything to do with. What I have read, what I believe, what I have heard from my own love since he changed dimensions on me, is that, at least initially, you have the after-life you believe you will. You see what you think you will see. Thoughts are everything. Prayer is the most amazing thought.

Have you read Love is Stronger than death? I had to order it from amazon, as I couldn't find it locally. I think you'll like it.

xo

judemiller1 said...

I have had many of the same wonderings, but only "after" will we know all the answers. Continue to believe as you do. I am sure of one thing, when the time comes, Your Dragon will come to you with out reached hand to take you on your journey into the next life.

Dan, in real time. said...

Interesting thoughts. Interesting questions.

I believe that I have shared with you that I was raised Catholic, and also was in the seminary in my early 20's. During my time in the seminary I fell in love for the first time with another student. After a few years I returned home to figure out what I wanted out of life. I felt angry at God because the man I loved had to decided between being with me, or serving God. He picked God, but continued to give me mixed messages. I felt betrayed by God because of this.

When Michael got sick with cancer, and later died, I was also equally angry at God for taking my love away. The difference with Michael dying was that I wasn't just dealing with being angry at God, but for the first time in my life I began feeling unsure about heaven, and what lies ahead for us.

I have always felt that God, and heaven, are things that we cannot fully comprehend and understand. While we were made in God's image, we don't know in what sense. For this reason I have always chosen to not conjure up any picture of God, or any picture of heaven. I don't even think of God as the father, more as the parent figure.

When Michael died I just sat there stunned, wondering where in the hell did he go? I could literally see the life leave his body. He was there one minute, and he was gone the next. Suddenly comforting thoughts of him being with God were of no use for me. I kept saying outloud, "where did you go?"

In time I have decided that it is not for me to truly know. That is what faith is about. I have to trust that the loving God that I know and believe in, has a plan. In my human experience I can never fully comprehend what the plan is. In this way I can begin to let go of my hurt and anger. I can tell myself that there is so much more that I can understand. I can tell myself that it is okay to be angry, and to question God. This is because God knows that I am a mere human.

For this reason I also feel that it is my human experience that needs to have an understanding of what heaven is. I can believe that it is all the wonderful things I need it to be, because it will be that and so much more.

I believe that God's love is eternal. It doesn't go away because of the choices we find ourselves having to make. We are not all the same person, so we are not all put into the same situations in life. Some of us have tougher jobs here on earth. Some of us have to make harder choices. God understands what is in our heart, and sees us beyond the human actions we take.

You can trust your experience of God and heaven. You can trust your understanding of what type of man Dragon was. You can trust your understanding of what death is, and what comes after it. That understanding is what feeds your faith, and keeps the goodness in your heart alive.

In my heart I know Michael will be there waiting for me. I don't expect to know him in physical form, because I have his ashes sitting right here beside me. When he died I finally understood that it will not matter what he used to look like. I will know him by his spirit. I will know him by his love.

It's just like a song in church, "They will know we are christians by our love, by our love, they will know we are christians by our love."

God will know us by our love.

You will know Dragon by his love.

-just my thoughts

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