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.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

living alone

i miss you and sometimes, so much so that i don’t know what to do with myself.

i wonder if i will ever feel safe again. through all the years, i only felt safe with you. and now you’ve gone where i cannot follow, not just yet. i don't know what to do anymore without you, without including you in my thoughts.

i know how to be alone. i have been alone all my life, but then you found me and we were one and the loss of that kind of oneness, that level of togetherness, cannot be be dealt with simply. the loss of your physical presence is far too devastating.

it is such a hot, beautiful day here. you would love it. we would have walked to Long Beach and been searching for driftwood and shells, and stones. we would swim in the chilly ocean and then walked again, up and down drying off in the heat. i would have watched you walk because i love your back, the breadth of your shoulders, and your legs. you would be glancing back, knowing i was taking photos of you. and you would smile. you would have smiled. we are not there because you are not here.

disenfranchised. that is the one word that describes the enormity of what has happened to me. you died and i was cut adrift, left to fight alone the myriad of battles life will always bring to anyone’s door, to my door. i am tired from the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." i feel world-weary and battle-scarred. and you are not here to touch me, to engulf me in your arms and hold me to your heart.

who do i call upon, our exhausted daughter, our overworked son? i find cannot. i am still their mother and i take that honor very seriously. i signed on forever as mom. i need them at times and i do ask but to burden them with being my daily friends? i cannot do that to them.

our girl brought over her medium format camera and we took a photo of the moon. she and i said to each other, "why haven't we done this before?" we simply didn't think of it. it took a few days for the development. you remember. it is not the kind of film to run down to the local Wolf Camera or the CVS. but i have it now and i love it. my moon shot of all moon shots. but it will not stop me from going out there every full moon from now until the end of time.

i got through Easter. our daughter and her husband came and got me and brought me over to his grandmother’s for lunch. it was his family there, the in-laws. i tried to interject into the conversation. i smiled. i mentioned you. our daughter’s mother-in-law and her sister-in-law were talking about the selective hearing of their husbands. i merely mentioned that you had had excellent hearing and that it had been a game of sorts for me to try and sneak up on you. nothing worked. they looked at me and nodded so i know they saw me, but they never said much.

“uh, huh.” that was all that was said.

our girl was so upset. she asked her mother-in-law about it privately and was told, “we never knew him and it was inappropriate for her to bring him up at our family meal.”

disenfranchised. everywhere i go. i simply do not understand it. i feel so lost without you. i feel invisible. how do people not see me, or feel they can say and do these things and it be all right? i am a person. and i have feelings. i think i am developing a persecution complex.

you always took care of my feelings. you always hugged me, held my hand, and poof, i was visible. no one ignored me or treated me badly when i was with you. i was the Dragon’s wife, and that carried a lot of weight.

i am feeling the loss of you acutely. life is just going to go on and on this way and i honestly cannot look too far into the future. it makes me so tired. the children are grown and i am not needed like i once was. i have no life here other than the one i have created inside this apartment. i need something to happen that’s good for me. i need some freedom. i need a break from all this worry and anguish. i need you and your magic. i miss you more than even i thought possible, and i knew how much you meant to me after just a few weeks of meeting you.

i need to get a hold of myself and start liking myself as much as you did. the two widows who were so cruel have been leaving me alone and now i know that joining our daughter with her new in-laws won’t be something i’ll never do again. live and learn. somehow, someway, maybe something good will happen to me. not another you, but just a change in the circumstances of my life. money. a vehicle. something that sets me free.

i dream of moving back to the ocean but that is just a dream.

as you always were - my dream. as you are now - my dream. always there, in my dreams. here is my inept attempt at a poem for you today. i think it is awful. you would have pulled me in your lap and told me it was beautiful.

living alone with the dream of love

is a lonely thing to do.

i sit with the memories

all the time

and simply think of you.

i remember how it was when you were here

it was magic to be loved by you.

you shined your light

on my life

all i wanted was you.

i wonder if i’ll ever feel safe again

because i only felt safe with you.

you held me tight

and whispered your love

but now i no longer do.

i’m tired and i’m spent and i’m homesick, too

i miss the ocean and you.

i don’t know what’s coming

i’m scared and lost

and yes, all i’ll ever want is you.


judemiller1 said...

I just can't believe the kind of uncaring people you seem to run into. Why wouldn't it be all right for you to speak of your husband?

I just don't get it and hope you find better people to be in your life. It makes me angry! I'd just to slap them and tell them, "speaking about a loved one, whether they are here or gone is never inappropriate!"

You'd like my family--we talk about family members that have passed on as if they were still among us. We remember and laugh and sometimes get tears and all of it helps each of us so much.

I'm sorry---

womanNshadows said...

hi, Jude, your family sounds wonderful. i'd love to find people, just one person even, like that here close. they said it was because they had never met him. i was just trying to be part of the conversation. oh, well, one moment at a time.

Anonymous said...

Matt's son, who lived with us for the last two years, was whisked away by his mother 2 months after matt died (though he had just turned 18). I have now not heard from him for 6 months. Matt's friends - at best - have completely ignored me, at worst, well - what I heard and saw was awful enough, but in the complete shunning by them, I also imagine too much. To be completely ignored, completely left out, when I am his partner, the one he was building life with - I don't understand. I would think they would want to at least acknowledge the person their friend loves and chose. It brings out such hatred and rage in me, especially when I hear of his son connecting with his friends, even just in passing. What about me - His Partner. Over our 5 years, some of them had met me, all of them knew of me. Worse, it would not have ever occurred to me to need any of them to know me before all this. Now I am needy, and they all suck. I wish I could be kind and gentle in response to their silence, compassionate and understanding with the kid I have lived with for 2 years. Not feeling that today. Anyway - I am fresh in this tonight, this exclusion, feeling so intensely alone. And wanted to say I hear you. Shunned and excluded and treated like an alien incredibly, royally sucks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady,

Would that I lived in the states again. I gave up coming home a long time ago, but maybe a visit is in order. It's a terrible thing when your daughter's in-laws can't find it in themselves to recognize your trying to join the family. It's also a terrible thing to make a widow feel alone. I guess they don't know what real loss is. I liked your poem very much. Your picture of the moon is just incredible. And that beat up little bird is something else. I like him. He's a survivor. Just like you. The Dragon's wife is a fighter. Maybe not bare knuckles but I can see his strength in you. You are still writing. They haven't made you be quiet. Keep writing. I'll keep reading. And seeing about maybe taking a trip stateside this fall. I'd love to take to dinner the wife of the man who saved my life countless times.

Semper Fi

Nancy said...

I see you very much as a person with so much to offer. It is truly sad that people are so heartless. One day, unfortunately, they will understand. Thank you for your prompt reply to my email. I look forward to staying in touch as I find the strength to look through my son's things. Your photography is amazing, your artwork astonishing, and your writing inspiring. Praying that you will find an arena to share all those wonderful things with in real life people who can encourage you.

womanNshadows said...

Anonymous, i am so sorry for your loss. and to be suddenly shunned is a sin. i will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

dear Sir, thank you for your comments. i enjoy your emails, all the stories of your exploits and my Dragon's. he only mentioned you as "this guy," and "yeah, same guy." now i have a name. my Dragon called you friend and that is not a word he used casually. i'll email you the moon photo and the tough little bird. thank you for reading and listening to me. thank you for being my Dragon's friend and covering "his 6." and thank you for your service to this country.

Nancy, thank you for leaving a comment. please, take your time going through your son's things. i know how very hard it is. i will be here when you wish me to make something, anything, however small it may be, for you. as for me, i'll always take my photos, write, create in whatever medium i need to. i've always created things and i always will whether i have a proper studio or shop or not. but as i said, i'll be here for you whenever you are ready.

peace to all.

Suddenwidow said...

Thinking of you and praying that some honourable, kind and considerate person who lives nearby and gets this horrible reality finds you. I pray you find a friend who you can talk to face to face and spend time with on a regular basis. We are all here for you anytime, but I know you need contact in person and I have faith that the right person will find you when the time is right, which hopefully is very soon.

I know the ache of missing him, of life being empty without him and of not looking into the future because it is unimaginable without him. Sending you positive karma and peace.

Thank you for mailing the quilt. I so look forward to wrapping myself in it. Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to put away Austin's clothes. I'm not sure how it will go but having them hanging in my closet is no longer comforting. Everytime I look at them, which is everytime I'm in my room, they seem to mock me so I'm going to attempt it and we'll see how it goes.

Take care.

Dan, in real time. said...

I just don't understand why people choose to exclude others. How much effort does it take to be cordial? I think you need to treat yourself with respect, and allow yourself the opportunity to participate in any gathering your daughter invites you to attend. I would continue to share your thoughts and feelings while there. Others may at times try to silence you, but challenge them by not allowing them to shut you out.

This loneliness you feel is something I too feel. Although I have the kids around me, I don't have any friends calling me at home to check in. My phone rarely rings. It only adds to the great loss we feel. I think that your ongoing relationship to the moon, and your beautiful writing, has become somewhat of a companion. I definitely feel this when I write. It helps to know that what I take time to say, others, like you, will read.

Your poem is very touching. It is so revealing of the longing that you feel. I appreciate your willingness to be so open about your relationship to Dragon, and what he provided, and provides, to you.

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