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, April 15, 2010

all to myself

it has been a long, long, very long week. there will be another one next week. and, God willing and the creek don't rise, another one after that. and not because i am alone.

i know how to live alone. i have proven over the last 14 months that i can endure enormous amounts of time utterly alone. i big part of the overall grief network has little to do with my situation. i had my children in my 20s. they are grown therefore i cannot include myself in the conversations of widows(ers) with children at home. i do not work outside my apartment so there are no work stories. i am not elderly nor am i youthful. we had not been married for 20 or 30 or 40 years so i am excluded from the "years and years together" crowd. we came to each other late. we missed so much together and were busy making good use of the time we had. we were in love and we love each other. both of those definitions. but now, now i am a middle-aged woman who lost the only man she will be capable of loving.

so i know how to live alone. i am hurting because i have to live without him. the accumulation of all these days, weeks, months without him to talk to is getting to me.

i tripped outside yesterday. some hole in the ground that the recently cut grass covered. it jars you, that kind of fall? it jars your ribs and your shoulders. i protected my knees though. i already have bone chips floating around there. i do not want anymore. my ankle is swollen today though. i have to walk the dogs in my duck house slippers. i duct taped a sock to it for support. my hand has a nice bruise but i can grip. i can sew.

he would have fussed over me. not gushed. Marines do not gush. but he would have done a manly fussing over me. "do you want more tea?" "here's the remote." "what color thread? where do you keep the thread anyway?" "why are you smiling at me and why do you want the camera?" i would be ensconced in bed right now, in the safety and comfort of his arms instead of waiting for Captain Generic to kick in.

i did not even bother to tell my daughter. no good would come from it. she would worry that i am fumbling around over here, a graceless clod. i cannot let her worry about me. i am sure life has some perfectly heinous thing waiting for me and i will really need her. i will not cry wolf until there really is a wolf at the door. sorry. pity party over.

"if i am alone now, it's by design. i only own myself, but all of me is mine."

i have thought about this. i have thought it through. another man? my stomach churns. having some man hold my hand again? my heart flutters in panic. how many men out there have hands as rough and scarred as his? how many have that laugh that made my heart dance? how many have that smile that made me so weak? how many have stories like his? how many dragons are there out there?

i was married to a man with soft hands. a pretty boy with a dark side. i was not looking for anyone when i met my Dragon. a rugged man who knew the ins and outs of darkness and yet, his soul is so bright and warm. no fire burned as hot as his vitality and sense of fun and adventure. he has mad skills. magic. he is magic.

i miss him. i long for his company. that face that looks at me, incredulous that i want, need to have, absolutely must take another picture of him.

my daughter tries so very hard to make sure. i cannot stress her with this. i cannot call on her for the company i would like to have. the companionship i want to have ........ him. i only want to talk about him. i guess it is because i live alone.

"all to myself i find the way
back to each golden yesterday,
faring in fancy until i stand
clasping your ready, loving hand;
the picture seems half true, half dream,
and i keep its color and its gleam
all to myself.
all to myself i hum again
fragments of some old-time refrain,
something that comes at fancy's choice,
and i hear the cadence of your voice:
sometimes 'tis dim, sometimes 'tis clear,
but i keep the music that i hear
all to myself.
all to myself i hold and know
all of the days of long ago --
wonderful days when you and i
owned all the sunshine in the sky:
the days come back as the old days will,
and i keep their tingle and their thrill
all to myself.
all to myself! my love, do you
count all the memories softly, too?
summer and autumn, winter, spring,
the hopes we cherish and everything?
they course my veins as a draft divine,
and i keep them wholly, solely mine --
all to myself.
all to myself i think of you,
think of the things we used to do,
think of the things we used to say,
think of each happy, bygone day;
sometimes i sigh and sometimes i smile,
but i keep each olden, golden while
all to myself."
i love you, Dragon. i'm still here, breathing, living; just not as much living. not like i did with you. i am not fun anymore. i am not happy anymore. i am not whole anymore. i am sorry. i just really need you to "come through the darkness and save me, for i am alone."


Dan, in real time. said...

First off, I love the moon photo on your blog. Secondly, great photos of Dragon. And finally, what a beautiful love you shared. Keep you spirits up, step softly, and carefully.

I don't feel as fun anymore either. I do surprise myself now and then with some unexpected laughter. When this happens I imagine Michael feeling pleased. I'm sure Dragon is pleased with how you approach each day.

Anonymous said...

Dearest WomanNshadows,

You break my heart. I have no words in the face of this kind of pain but also in seeing this kind of strength. I know how much he loved you and I've heard women always love harder. He knew how much you loved him. You both still do. What I would give to be loved like that. Or be allowed to love someone.

Please email me. Let me know how you are really doing. Your hand. Your ankle. I don't know what I can do. I live on the other side of the world but a Marine worries.

Semper Fi

Anonymous said...

I don't fit into any of those "camps" either. We spent a lot of our time alone, or with his son, who turned 18 the day after his dad died. We spent a lot of time on random road trips, in the woods, and at the river, just the two of us. We have very very few friends in common, so no community surrounds me who knows us together. His son lived with us, but he turned 18 the day after his dad died and moved out of state with his mother, so no young kids at home. We have been together 5 years, so no decades and decades. I work from home as well. We were also not married, and we never had need to talk about our relationship to others, so many of his friends (all being married) didn't think we were "serious." (though I will say, on hearing that, his mother said "then they didn't know my son, did they.") So, partly I share my own pity party, but also to say that you are not alone in your alone. being two loner-type people is fantastic when both of you are alive to share your life together. When one has gone invisible, it just stinks. Plus - when you have been with someone who is your home, who matches your mind and your heart - effortlessly, beautifully, I know for me, the effort involved in trying to find friends who know me even remotely as well is just more than I have. You're known, then suddenly, no one knows you. Sucks.
That's it - just solidarity.


Beckypdj said...

I am glad you are able to share your Dragon with "us".

I am fortunate and have many people who share the loss of my son with me. But there are times I want to talk about Peyton and don't because I fear people will get tired of it.

I hope sharing your Dragon with us feels like you are talking to real people. We are real and I want to hear about him.

Here's a hug for you ((( )))

womanNshadows said...

Dan, thanks for the compliment on the moon photo. it was a gorgeous night with the clouds eventually covering him up but not before a series i truly love. you and i will have to kick it up a notch in August. i am still seriously considering getting a bunch of glow bracelets for us.

dear Marine, your friendship has been very helpful. i love the stories of my Dragon. i sometimes wonder if you are being outrageous just to get a laugh though i know my husband probably did 3/4 of what you describe. the ankle will survive and as long as i can sew, i am earning my keep. as for love, nothing you have done precludes you from being loved. never give up hope.

Anonymous, i am so sorry that you are more or less in the same boat as me. to try to find the silver lining, there is a lot to be gained from being a loner, or a free spirit as i will try to think of it. since you see me and can relate, and i see you now, and can relate, we are not invisible. keep in touch. i am sure there are a lot of others out there in the same position.

Beckypdj, thank you for reading and commenting. here is the only place i can go on and on about him. i am sorry for the loss of your son. i hope you do not let your fear of making people tired get in the way of your talking about your son. talk all you want. to me if you wish. i am no therapist but only a good listener and a very good pen pal.

i wish all of you peace. thank you for taking the time to write to me.

judemiller1 said...

Once again I read your post with awe and gratitude for you show me what will happen to me one day and how to survive. I am truly grateful that I have someone in my life--5 years we've had now. He almost died a year ago, but by some miracle held on and now has a repaired heart. One that isn't quite as strong as it should be, but he is still here. Your posts remind me every day to be grateful for what I have for some day--it will all be gone and I will once again, be that loner that people have always thought I was. Bless you Dear One.

Suddenwidow said...

I love the moon photo too! And I love the idea of glow bracelets in the moonlight in San Diego. Can I get in on that action?

Getting it and sending you a big hug. Having known a great love, it is inconceivable that we will ever know another again. How could anyone compare to your Dragon and my Sailor? The lonely answer is that they couldn't. Life without that amazing man is so damn lonely (even when I am around other people) and only he can fill the void. It's going to be a very long and empty life without him. I think I'll go wrap myself in my quilt...

Anonymous said...
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womanNshadows said...

Judy, i am so glad you have your husband. make as many memories as possible for it is through my memories that i find warmth.

Suddenwidow, i sometimes sit and wonder how i will get through the day. then i bury myself in my work and see that i made it. i know there can never be another just as you know, and yes, it will be a long and lonely life. i am glad you have your quilt now. i need to wrap up a few small things i am working on at night so i can get back to mine.

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