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, May 29, 2010

Dragon in War and Peace ~ Memorial Day 2010

"Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background, the countless minor scenes and interiors of the secession war; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books." ~ Walk Whitman

my Dragon knew war. he is a United States Marine, Force Recon. he is a Marine Scout Sniper and did what his country asked of him. he is not a tall man but then tall men are sometimes handicapped by their height. my Dragon was his team's tunnel rat in Vietnam. armed with a knife and a pistol, he crawled into tunnels underground, into the blackest darkness to face whatever booby traps had been set. he was his team's strategist. he did get most of his men home.

there were a few who did not come home. i have written of them before. my Veteran's Day posting has it, i believe. but then there was his last tour.
of the eight men in the photo above, only one is still alive. my Dragon is fourth from the left. he is gone. the man fifth from the left is still alive. he has become my constant friend, the giver of the stories now.

on his last tour, my Dragon and his fire team were ambushed. they were involved in a terrible firefight. my Dragon carried one of his men across his back to the chopper. he was already dead but my Dragon was not going to leave him behind. the machine gunner on the chopper was killed in front of them. my Dragon got the rest of his badly injured men, the other 4, inside the chopper. he stood on the runner of the chopper laying down 700 rounds a minute with his M-16 to provide cover for them to take off. the NVC were laying down their own rounds that ate up the chopper enough that metal pulled away. my Dragon was impaled on the side and could not get inside the chopper. as it took off, he finished the last of his rounds, and had to stand on the runner outside the chopper all the way to base, over an hour. the scar was one he never spoke of. he sketched out the story of it for me but then his voice would drift off into silence.

it was his friend, my constant friend, who filled in the blank spots.
my Dragon served his country and now he is a name to be remembered in and around the car sales and Macy's Patriot sales on dresses and shoes. along with all the others who have served their country and are now only names on the lips of their grieving loved ones, he is now one of the flags that hopefully jog something in the minds of those hosting barbeques. maybe, when grandpa falls silent, lost in his memories of Vietnam, Korea, or WWII, the children will be told of the respect they should show him and why he is quiet. maybe over their hamburgers and hotdogs and steaks, heads will be bowed for a moment of silence to those who fought for the freedoms they enjoy.

i sound hostile and i do not mean to. i simply see that so many do not know what war costs in terms of the human soul.
my Dragon knew and he honored Veteran's every Memorial Day, really every day. in the mornings of Memorial Day, we would visit the cemetery. afternoons were spent walking the beach and paths all over Cape Ann. sometimes he talked. sometimes he did not talk. when he would fall silent he would just reach for my hand and squeeze it. and i knew. the memories were too much to speak of and i squeezed his hand back to let him know i accepted his silence. i was there for him, with him, always for him.
i love my Dragon and i am proud of who he is and his service to his country. he is my forever love. i will protect his memory as a Marine, as my husband, my friend, my lover, and simply as a man. i will know none better than he.

it has been a very rough few days for me financially and emotionally, but it is sometimes in the darkest most harrowing of times when we get an epiphany. he loves me. if he were here now, he would viciously defend me and protect me. i am his wife and he loved me. he loves me. i was loved. i am loved. however it can be said of someone who has died, i belonged to my Dragon and he belonged to me. i belong to him and he belongs to me.

"Ego dilecto meo et dilectus meus." ~ Song of Solomon 6:3. (i am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.)

i will survive and one day, God willing that i deserve the honor, we will be reunited in Heaven.

for all those who died for our country, and for the loved ones who are in sorrow all through this weekend i leave you with this poem:

"Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more.
Days of danger, mights of waking."
~ Sir Walter Scott


bev said...

A moving tribute to your Dragon and to all those who have sacrificed so much. Yes, Soldier, rest now. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Dearest womanNshadows,

I can only hope that there are people back in the US who keep Memorial Day in their hearts as reverently as you and your Dragon do. I really like the picture of the full moon behind the flag. Would you email it to me for my desktop? Thank you, my Lady.

One day, we'll all be together again and you can listen to your man and me talk "shop." Or maybe we'll just rest and walk along the beaches in heaven. You can take all the pictures you want. I'm sure it will be beautiful there.

God bless you today. I know you are feeling very sad. I'll call tonight your night.

Semper Fi, Dragon.

Dan, in real time. said...

What a lovely way of reminding us to pause throughout our weekend, and consider those that allow us to have the freedoms we take for granted. My father was in the Korea war, a Navy man. It has always been a significant part of his life, and he has a very strong affinity for the men who he served with. Growing up, this sense of duty, and appreciation, was taught to us, his sons, as something to be valued. He has always been very involved in various Veteran service organizations as a way to give back for those that did not return. I have often marvelled at how significant that time period must have been for him, and for all soldiers, that they continue to make it such a strong presence in who they are some 50 years later.

I have learned so much from your ongoing telling of Dragon's story. I have grown to respect this man who I never met, yet see how much he impacted our our world in general, and your world specifically. I will be keeping him high on my list of gratitude during this Memorial Day holiday.

Peace to you.

Suddenwidow said...

I'm assuming that Memorial Day in the U.S. is the same as Remembrance Day in Canada (on Nov. 11th), when we remember those who fought in all wars in our history. We honour the sacrifice made by all in combat, who gave us the freedoms we enjoy today. Thank you for sharing just a few of the things your Dragon did for your country, helping to make the world a safer place.

I hope you got my email. And I hope that this Memorial Day weekend has moments of peace for you.


judemiller1 said...

A beautiful and fitting post Dear Friend. I used to get angry that the people I worked with only saw Memorial Day as a day off work--a long holiday,..but I can't do anything about their attitude, all I can control is my own. Today I remember all of them--most unknown to me and pray for the "kids" over there who are protecting us even now.

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