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.

Friday, June 25, 2010

the lost gummy bear of Stage Fort Park

i have always been one who noticed things, or people. little things laying on the ground, or people's moods and behaviors. i am good at finding things dropped or purposefully left behind, abandoned things. i am pretty good at reading people, what to say, when to back off; very much know when i need to back off into the shadows of my own life.

i know how to be alone and i know how to wait. it is not patience. it is the only choice i have open to me. i can wait without a hissy fit, or i can exhaust myself while waiting. i wait quietly which i guess is why no one knows me that well. when bad things happen, i know when i can fight a fight i might win. but i can size it up quickly and know that this is something i can never win. so i wait it out and try to survive it.

i am like a gummy bear i saw once at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. it is a big park where my Dragon and i loved to walk. there is a tiny bit of sandy beach down below the cannons left over from the Revolutionary War that are still mounted up on the bluff. we had walked there and i was taking pictures, and there was this bit of orange sitting on the sand. the reason this little gummy bear seemed so stalwart and worthy of a picture was that we had already had a first snow though most had melted away. also he was sitting precariously close to high tide's edge. he may in fact have washed up there but i doubt it. no birds had found him. no squirrels had wanted him. he was an abandoned soul.
his little orange arms were reaching out and open for anyone to pick him up. his little orange gummy face was frozen with a pleading expression. he was a little worse for the wear and tear life had heaped upon him, but he was still there, still hanging on, still waiting for some kind of peace. and closure.

at this point of grieving for my Dragon, i feel like that lost gummy bear. i am stranded. i miss him. no grief therapy to be had. no one-on-one with someone, with anyone who will listen to my story and tell me, "womanNshadows, you will be okay." or "womanNshadows, i am so sorry this has happened to you, in fact, so much has happened to you, but you are a strong woman because of this and this...." in my gummy brain the grief counselor or some wonderful friend, who has discovered what a good friend i am and cares about me, has patiently sat and coaxed my story from me and lists some qualities i have that i cannot see anymore in myself. they want to see me smile. not the fake one. a real one.

i know. wait, before you leave the rest of this unread, let me get the violin out so we can have melancholy music accompany this litany. or hit the play on my list of songs. and as a hook, i write about what ultimately happened to the gummy bear.

i know how to be alone. i have been alone throughout so much of my life. but i know that sometimes i would like to find someone other than my poor daughter to talk about my grief with, about the soul-ripping misery of wanting him back, and of praying i will really, truly get to be with him again.

i am not even abandoned on a lovely beach with the sights and sounds of the ocean. i am left in the middle of concrete with only more concrete to see when i go outside to walk around. i hear car tires screeching and people screaming at each other. on Father's Day there were police sirens and children sobbing in the parking lot beside a police woman because their father had beaten the living hell out of their mother for not getting them up and out of the house soon enough for his all-day-in-front-of-the-television father's day. it is not a pretty place and definitely a difficult one to achieve any kind of a zen-like state.

i know that no one can be content with where they were abandoned. whether in homes they have lived in for years, or they are forced to move immediately following their loved one's death, or they decide to hit the road a la gypsy wagon. if i had the money, the gypsy life sounds appealing. or to buy a little beach house and pair down to a very simple life of nature and art and mourning.
he is the most lovely man. he is soulful and funny and sexy and he loves me more than i have ever been loved in my entire life. in all the definitions of love: maternal, paternal, romantic, friendship, only he loved me. only he cared about me. and i miss him so badly. yesterday and so far today, 9:00 AM, i have been sent on a sobbing crawl through purgatory. i love him. i do not know how to have a life without him. i long for him.

okay, you have waited patiently. wading through the quagmire of my grief. so here it is. the conclusion to the story of the lost gummy bear of Stage Fort Park.

i took the little orange bear's picture. i had his whole story in my head before i brought the camera away from my eye. i stood there looking at him. and getting colder. my Dragon was always conscious that i had suffered a bad bout of hypothermia so he paid attention to our time outside in the cold, and my movements. i tried walking away but then i would stop and look back at the gummy bear.

"you want to save it, don't you?" my Dragon knew me so well.

i must have bit my lip or had an expression of embarrassment but he is my Dragon and i am his Beach Bunny. he laughed at me and walked over and picked up the gummy bear and put it in my camera bag.

"c'mon. let's get you home. it's supposed to snow later."

we took the gummy bear home and put him in a sandwich bag in the refrigerator. i would say hi to him when i reach in for something. i even heard my Dragon say, "you still here, old man? she's crazy, isn't she? but a good kind of crazy."

when my Dragon died and i had to leave Rockport, my daughter and i went down to the beach and i put back a whole bunch of shells and driftwood. i could not bring it all so i set it free.

i set the little gummy bear free, too. i tucked him into a notch in a piece of driftwood and set him off with the out-going tide. sort of like his own Kon-Tiki adventure. i know it sounds odd but bringing him so far away from the beach would have hurt him like it is hurting me. and the memory of how he came to live with me was too painful to keep remembering every time i opened the refrigerator.

i am lost and adrift on an ocean of grief with no water in sight. i am like the lost gummy of Stage Fort Park. i am laying here with my arms out and open. i have a pensive expression most of the time, and i am waiting to be found. found by God. taken to my Dragon. however it plays out, i am laying here, lost and waiting.

at least i can see the moon. tonight it will be full again.
all i can do is sigh. some children here call me la mujer que adora la luna. i guess i am.


judemiller1 said...

I would opt for the little beach house and the simple life. I love that you took Gummy home with you and I told so many people of how you had to leave your home and move right after Dragon's funeral. No one can believe the strength that took to do that--and the heaping on of even more grief. You are an extraordinary woman!!! I sat out on the porch last night at midnight and watched the moon--beautiful.

Dan, in real time. said...

What a lovely, and touching, story. It amazes me how quickly, or easily, we can attribute so much back story, or need, from found objects like this. Yet, we can get so lost trying to identify all of our story, and why we often feel the way we feel. I love that you set gummy bear free, as each of you ended up going in different directions. With enough time, each of your paths will definitely cross once again. One day you will be set free from this earth, and it will be like you and Dragon were never apart. I often think of that with Michael. I hope that when I die, and we too are brought back together, that neither of us need to remember the time we were apart.

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