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, May 6, 2010

only in my mind....

i read somewhere that only in our minds are we truly free. that is where i have always gone to find release from the life i was having to deal with. it is where i go now when i am faced with awful things that i can do nothing about.

it is worthy of note that i never had to close my eyes and fantasize about being free when i was with him.

two weeks ago my tooth split vertically up into the gum. the dentist said it was one he had worked on less than 6 months ago. he is charging me $1745 for a crown. that's what he said. we're doing a crown. the quick and ugly turns out that he forgot to tell me i required oral surgery. i found out about the surgery when he started stitching my gum. it is going to take 3 months of eating only jello, pasta, soups, oatmeal, and a few other very soft foods cut into small bites eaten on the other side of my mouth before i will be healed enough to be given a crown. he promised i would have it the week before Camp Widow. so i can eat, he said.

it's been hard. i've been very hungry even after i eat because i cannot eat a complete meal. my jaw gets tired.

i make quilts out of clothes of people who have died. a woman put a link to the Facebook photo album of my work to try and help me. her brief words were gracious. unfortunately i have been deluged with messages from women who think i am "feeding off the dead." that i am "profiting from people who are deeply grieving." that i should "teach how to do this at Camp Widow so people don't have to trust you." that i should "make them like that rag quilt place does - just some squares so you don't have to charge as much as you do."

somewhere along this wretched path people have gotten the idea i am from Nigeria or currently living in Nigeria. i can assure you that i live in the United States.

the messages that i have gotten have ranged from coercive to my teaching so i do not "bilk the bereaved" to hateful and saying i will surely go to Hell. i have done what my infuriated children and my husband's friend have said i should do. delete them all.

and i have. but the feeling of being whittled away lasts. like that awful thing said and one hopes no one heard, but then the echo comes around and you've heard it again. how many people have chatted each other up and condemned me for trying to make a living? yes, i charge for the quilts. the most largest and most expensive one i did was 9 feet by 10.5 feet. it had several - several - embroidered sentences and two hoodies for the little girl to be able to wear. i charged over $700 but under $800. i had only two and a half months to do it in. she had a special deadline. i worked upwards of 16 hours a day and met the deadline. i made $2.40 an hour.

i am crushed. there is nothing i can do. i have to keep my head up and try and remember that the people who have their quilts did not feel over-charged. i believe they really like their quilts. i think they do. no one has asked for their money back.

so i guess that leaves me with living inside my mind when i feel this hurt which is most of the time right now. i know it will pass. it will all go away and i will be forgotten which is not as pleasing as it sounds since i need word of mouth to let people know i am here and can make the quilts. tangible solace. or so i thought. it never occurred to me i could be viewed as a vulture.

maybe i should change my brochures. add a tag line.
Quilts and other Textile Art
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

it is the middle of the afternoon. i have had lunch. i had a grilled cheese cut into very small pieces. i am hungry again. or still. i can't tell anymore. i posted a response to the letters on my Facebook page. some people have put up some nice comments. i made sure i thanked them.

i am going to get an iced tea and maybe try to eat some goldfish crackers. if you leave them on your tongue they get soft. then i am going back to work on a quilt.

so i guess things are fine here for me, a profiteer of death living in Nigeria.

while i sew i think i'll disappear into my mind. it's the only place where everything works out. it is the only place where i am wild and free.


m said...

maybe your tag line can be - I make Memory Quilts. If you don't find comfort from them, I hope you find it elsewhere.
Or... If you object to my work, please seek comfort elsewhere.
Or, your opinion matters, but not to me.

Dan, in real time. said...

I just got word of what happened to you. I quickly went to your blog to see if it was true. I'm so sorry that people have put you through this. I don't understand how people can attack someone without truly knowing what that person is accused of.

For my part, and as one who has turned to you to share your gift of quilting, I admire how you are handling it. I don't think you need to justify your work, or the price of your labor. For the record, you have already put so much of yourself personally into creating the quilt that I ordered, that I feel really blessed. I know that Michael's mother will find so much healing from your great work.

I wish something more could be done to turn this around for you.

You are an amazing artist, and friend.


Anonymous said...

You and others that make Memory Quilts are gifts from God and the quilts will be treasured by those families. I'm in the process of having someone make Memory Quilts from my husband's clothing. She's done two so far and I actually have a basket of Army camo and 82nd Airborne patches sitting beside me that are for the next quilt and upstairs are a stack of flannel shirts and blue jeans for the one after that. We will each have our own quilt that has significant meaning to us. To have a beautiful and unique work of art as opposed to a closet full of clothes that I can't bear to get rid of is worth the price of the quilts. In fact, I feel like I am not being charged enough for the quilts. I don't believe those of us that seek out your special talent feel that we've been cheated. It's very much the opposite. Don't stop sharing your talent!

Anonymous said...

My dear lady,

I read what you wrote and I can feel, again, your loneliness and pain I am sorry this has been done to you. We have written so much over the last few months, your wanting and needing the stories I have about your husband. His rage would be so great if he knew what has been done to you. You have such a sensitive soul and such an ability to bend. I think of you like a weeping willow. You accept so much pain as your due when it isn't. You cry as you keep on living.

I wish I could stop your pain. I wish I could make it all go away. You have such a good heart, such a beautiful soul. Don't give up. Please don't give up.


Anonymous said...

Please don't let those people cause you any more pain.. You are making memories, something tangible for those seeking comfort.
You are a giver of gifts.

womanNshadows said...

thank you everyone.

Beckypdj said...

I'm sorry, but I am laughing. That line near the end "profiteer of death living in Nigeria" made me laugh. I am sorry those people are so ignorant. I hope you can laugh sometime at the ridiculousness of their comments. Keep creating, I know your quilts are a comfort.

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