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.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

near life experience

i woke up this morning to a beautiful day. birds were chirping at a decibel level that far exceeded my own mood but i sincerely tried to adopt their enthusiasm. the sky was blue. it was the middle 70s today. i have a quilt in the frame and a box to create another one on its way to me. and at 1:22 this afternoon East Coast time, it was spring.

but i’m tired, life tired.

see that face? i look tired, don't i? my eyes have that weary cast to them. and the frown line between them. my cheeks are flushed but the fever is gone. i've just been working feverishly today. i'm trying to smile. see it? it doesn't look very good, does it. it looks forced. because it is forced.

i have nothing truly heinous to complain about. my children are grown and healthy, and doing very well. they have a handle on life and are generous and decent. i love them with all my heart.i eat. i have shelter. it is just nothing excites me anymore.

i am going to San Diego and i am happy to go, so very humble to be allowed, and yet, if i were to paint it, it would be a very satisfied grey. now if i were told i’d be walking with my husband on the beach this afternoon, i’d paint it using ceruleans and siennas and mauves and tans. only he gives me a thrill. only he can make me feel happy. when i see him, think of him, i see colors so brilliant it makes my heart burst wide open. i feel ready to live.

my library is closing on April 3rd so the city has more money. twelve libraries are closing in fact. i walked to my branch this morning only to see the sign on the door and hear the death knell playing inside. i am depressed about this because it was my one independent joy, walking to the library. the whole world is in the library. i could escape to anywhere, learn anything, and become anyone. the closest library that is staying open will take me 3 buses and 35 minutes to get there. it is such a tiny thing to be sad over, not even a blip on the screen compared to the problems others face but it’s just a little thing that has been taken away and i will sorely miss my walks there.

i miss my Dragon. as each day goes by, each month, season, i feel more and more attached to him. i do not think of trying to find someone else. i shudder at the thought. the standard is set too high and i honestly cannot tolerate the idea of someone else touching me.

i went up to the throne of love

the king stooped down to me

he put a kiss on my lifted face

then died and set me free.

oh, i would travel the whole world o’er

and i could have love if i would

but nevermore shall a beggar stand

in the place where the king has stood.

people get upset with absolutes so i will simply say; i am not ready to think about it much less try at this time.

i am tired of life. i haven’t had the fun i know can be had. i haven’t had it all and then lost it. ihave had parts of all and lost that. my parents had lots of money and i grew up with material things. but they did not like me and i could not become something different. my first husband made lots of money and we had nice houses but the price of living with him and his money scarred me both physically and emotionally. i wanted love. i wanted to be loved.

i was given my Dragon but homes were taken away and what little money we had went out the door to pay for my divorce debt and for my children to live. i was allowed to live in nice homes provided by parents first and then my ex but i was not loved. i was loved but had no home of my own. the one house my Dragon rented for us on the cove was the best of all though. we were so very happy there, and we had dreams that no one could steal from us.

but he died and i cannot bring myself to be angry with God because i know how very much my Dragon hurt. his body was worn out. all those scars of his that i kissed....well, kisses don’t always make it better. God was being good to my Dragon if you want to put a positive, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” kind of spin to it. however, it has not been good for me.

because i miss him.

i’m not sleeping again. it’s like back in the days of yore, the first 7 or 8 months right after he died. no matter how tired i am i cannot sleep without the help of Captain Generic, the pill of a lesser God, not the original and twice as expensive Advil PM but one from the other side of the tracks (read shelf here).

i feel not quite alive. i am lonely. fifteen to twenty hours a month to be with another person is not much. my daughter is so good to me. she worries and knows i lie to her about how i feel. she knows i hurt. she wishes i had found a friend. i sort of wish i had, too. i know people have gatherings and walks, people who surround them and help them. they have friends they "could not have done this without." i have done this without though.

i know one widow (yes, yes, one from the group i am no longer in contact with because i did not meet her standards) who has yet to go grocery shopping for herself. it has been one year and her neighbors are so thorough in weaving their net under her that they cook for her 3- 5 times a week. bringing over casseroles and breads and desserts to her, visiting with her. am i envious? i am ashamed to say yes.

i went through my Dragon's birthday, our wedding anniversary, Christmas, most of Christmas day, New Year's, my birthday, the one year anniversary, and Valentine's Day - the anniversary of his funeral alone. completely alone. the phone calls were from my two children who were desperately upset that they could not be with me due to their work schedules. but other than those phone calls, i endured those firsts utterly alone. in silence.

ah, there's the anger. it's not directed at God. it's just frustration that i cannot find anyone who sees me as a human being who might need to tell her story to someone sitting in the same room with me. "oh, my God, why didn't you call?" i did. i have tried. you told me you were busy and would get back to me.

i am tired of being thought of as strong, or a commodity. i think i talk too much now if i get the opportunity to be around another human being. i am so alone for such long stretches at a time that i am afraid i am disappearing so i tend to be too chatty. i can tear myself apart for you analyzing why i am not an attractive prospect for friendship, but i won't. there's no point if i think i know why people do not wish to be around me. i can only sigh and wish it were different. i can only wish i were different. or more likable. or someone else.

which is stupid because if i were someone else, i would not have been my Dragon's wife. he liked me as well as loved me.

you know, he’d love the weather today. we’d walk and i’d take his picture. he’d be in shorts and i love his legs. they are so strong. and thick. he has muscles on top of muscle. his thighs put the "David" to shame. he is such a physical person with me, always touching, so we’d be holding hands. if i stopped to take a picture that wasn’t of him, he’d stand with me and put his hand on my back, my shoulder, brush my hair from my face. always touching.

i miss that.

i think i’m tired from the strep. i had it for almost 3 weeks before i had the wherewithal to get to a cheap clinic. i had asked the ex for help in getting to a clinic but he wanted me to shop around for the best deal. so i did. i finally found a good enough deal and presented it to him at the same time i made my presentation for my middle of the month stipend. it was just in time too because i had had a fever for 4 days straight. i’m coming back but i had it in my system for so long that i’m still tired from it. i work for an hour or two now and then have to take 15 or 20 minutes to just sit back and rest. but I am getting better. i can still work until really late so no one can say i'm lazing around.

i’m just not alive anymore.

when i was with my Dragon, i was. i was more alive than i have ever been in my entire life.there was love and love makes you believe in life, in dreams, and in yourself. i was an entertaining person to be around. we had some friends who liked both of us. that means me included. i was someone people wanted to know. i think it was because my Dragon saw me. now that he is gone, i am gone.

hey, i don’t make the rules. it's science. it’s a rule of science that the only reason objects are visible is because light bounces off them. he was my light. and now it is dark. because he is gone. i can’t make it any simpler than that.


last night i got up because i was thirsty. i have this plastic star that, when pressed, lights. it’s a night light of sorts. i was groggy from Captain Generic so i stumbled down the hall. don’t worry. it’s a short hall. and i saw him. i saw my Dragon standing there in that faux starlight. he took my breathe away. he was so handsome and his expression so intense. he had shaved his beard, which was fine because he is so handsome no matter what he does. his shoulders were so wide and his chest, so ready for me to lay my head on it and hear his heart beating again under my ear.

he was back. he had come back to me.

but it was only a near life experience. it was an illusion created by the light from my star shining on the glass of one of my pictures of him in this shrine that some refer to as my apartment.

when i realized my mistake i got teary. i sat down and looked at the star in my lap and kept hoping and praying, and wishing. “i wish i may i wish i might, have the wish i wish tonight….” then i would look up but he wasn't there.

my Dragon isn’t coming back. that’s the price one pays for a near life experience, sudden reality. they, whoever they are, are really going to make me wait until i die and then hope i am judged good enough to be with him.

but you know for a moment, for that one moment very deep into the night last night, i thought i was home, because he was home. and for that one brief moment, i was alive.


Widow in the Middle said...

I'm very moved by your post, the whole concept of feeling lifeless with the one thing that can bring you back to life no longer with you. I am especially touched by the final paragraph. I'm sorry that I have no great words of wisdom or advice. My own words seem feeble in comparison to the beauty, depth and honesty you always portray.

It is absolutely terrible about the library! Not only for you but your entire community. Terrible that the state of affairs has come down to closing such a life line. I hope you will still be able to get to the other branch despite the bus rides and transportation time. Could your daughter drive you sometimes when she is with you?

It hasn't helped that you have been so under the weather. But as you started out this post, you heard the birds sing today and spring is here. That is something for all of us, as little as that may seem. Please take care and keep the words of your heart flowing out to us who are listening.

Kim said...

i am sitting here, 3:30am breathless after this post. every word you wrote resonated so deep within me that all i could do was just shake my head and put it down on this cold kitchen counter after reading. my heart began to race when you said you saw him - it ignited hope within me that maybe i could dream up warren as well. i don't know how much longer we have in front of us, i only wish that it will go fast and we will be alive again. funny thought huh? to only truly live again, once we are gone as well.
love and peace to you always.

womanNshadows said...

thank you both for your kind, kind words. my despondency yesterday was almost unconquerable. almost.

Kim, it is an ironic thought, "to only truly live again once we are gone as well." but it rings too true for some of us.

again, thank you both so much for reaching out. i was so very alone while actually being alone. i needed to hear from someone.

judemiller1 said...

What an experience--to see him there--in front of you. Then the full realization..which must have hurt all the more. I am surprised if you could get back to sleep. You write so beautifully--I can see you move as if I were watching a movie. I can see you sitting there in the dark, holding your star and crying. You are truly gifted to be such a writer--to be able to be so open with your feelings. You touch my life more and more with each new post. Thank you.

Suddenwidow said...

I stopped breathing when I read you saw him in your hallway. How I wish it had been him. But maybe it was, standing in the light of the star's reflection. I wish we lived closer so I could be that person who sits in the room with you and listens to your story, and helps ease your loneliness.

I was thinking last night, as I was surrounded by people who loved Austin and love me, how lonely it is to be a widow within a group of people who are couples, with their quiet glances and touches, with the inuendos and the promise that they all got to go home with the one they love. I am embarassed to admit that I was jealous, not of any person in particular, but of all of them, for being lucky enough to be part of a couple. I missed Austin even more, if that's possible, as I was the one single person. I missed him being beside me, our eyes catching each other across the room, the smiles when we knew what the other was thinking, the discussing the entire night as we snuggled together in bed after the evening was over. In my experience, being with others often makes me feel more lonely that when I'm on my own. I don't know if that makes sense, or if it helps at all, but having people around doesn't necessarily mean loneliness goes away. Sometimes it makes it worse.

That being said, I pray you find a friend close by, who you can connect with on a regular basis, to help ease your loneliness. And I'm happy to hear you're feeling better.

Take care,

Love Debbie

womanNshadows said...

Jude, thank you for your confidence in my writing. i'm looking into your suggestion to publish something.

Debbie, i have not yet had anyone come sit with me and let me talk about my grief, or him, so i forget the being alone in a crowd curse. i had hoped your gathering last night would have been comforting but i know what you mean about looking around at couples. i had the same situation at my daughter's wedding. couples everywhere. even my son had his girlfriend with him.

i wish we lived closer, too, Debbie. i think we would have fun. i know i could make you laugh as i did my Dragon. i know. when i publish a book and become rich and famous, we'll all move to the coast. we'll live in treehouses like the Swiss Family Robinson. it's a fantasy.

peace and love to both of you.

Split-Second Single Father said...

Thought I'd comment while I'm actually on the computer instead of my phone.

I still have trouble with the sleep cycles at times. It seems I'm either exhausted and asleep on the couch as soon as my daughter is in bed or bleary-eyed but awake at 2:30 on a work-night.

I understand what you mean about seeing him. You've read about my limited number of dreams with my wife and the helplessness I felt in some of them. It was always a blessing to be able to see her, no matter how fleeting the dream.

I'm glad you got to see you Dragon again too.

judemiller1 said...

I always wanted to live in the Swiss Family Robinson tree house! If you could find one by the sea--get one with three bedrooms so I can come visit you and Deb.

Suzann said...

Sending love and golden light your way - xoxox

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