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.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

separation anxiety

hello, my Love, can you hear me? where you are? do you know i’m still down here, longing for you, missing you? or are you protected from the travails of this life? am i writing only to myself, to be heard by myself only, which means this is a pointless endeavor? but if in writing this, if it comforts me and gets it all off my mind, it is not time wasted. maybe it is time spent getting through this latest mood. writing is what i have to say things i cannot say outright to my children. and it is not like i can call up a friend and say, “i need to talk about this. i need you to come visit me, maybe have lunch.” i am not connected to anyone here. not like that.

so here i am, writing to you knowing that when i check back, there will be no answer.

i’m still here. i still miss you as much as the night you died and i wish i could talk to you face-to-face. i need you. i am in pain. i am not sure if i am supposed to be “better” by now or not. i am not even sure what “better” is supposed to feel like. i can honestly say i am further along than i was based on the fact that i no longer cry multiple times a day and there are days i do not cry at all, but i am pensive everyday. i am melancholy, which i guess can be looked at as the lighter side of sadness. that is a kind of improvement from where i was in those first months.

i am lonely for you. i pine for you. i miss you terribly. i do not need to fill my calendar with a plefora of people. i really only want you. i admit i am weak sometimes and would not mind having a friend i could call. i would like to talk about you and tell someone stories about you without fear of being interrupted or the awareness that, like in the grief group i went to for a while, that people are simply biding their time, half listening, until they or someone else jumps in to take over, and then i am forgotten. the kids tell me i do not stand up for myself anymore. our daughter is especially angry with some of the things that have happened to me and i know you would be mad as hell. but what i feel is that i could get mad and tell people how their actions and inaction has affected me, but they quite simply will not care. i was a only blip on their screen and that is okay with me. i really only want to be with you.

i wish you had not had to go. i really need you to go through this life with me. i am tired. i feel so weak sometimes that i am not sure if i can do this yet there is no other choice. the kids are grown so it is not like i have to wake up and say, “i am here for them. i have to get them through school, or through college.” we did that. the realization that life is going to be this quiet for the rest of my life is a terrible thought especially considering how far i am from the ocean. day in and day out i will be without your laughter, your voice, and your touching me. it is a vacuum. i am living in a vacuum. i have been condemned to sensory depravation, the loss of your physical presence.

the kids were both here for the July 4th holiday – all weekend i had them both. it was so wonderful and yet all three of us missed you. we talked about you and looked at pictures. we tried to work on my scrapbook album thing but there were so many other things we wanted to do together and a very narrow window of time. i wish i could get my scrapbook finished. c’est la vie for me.

our son told me that he sees how different i am. his living in Florida means he does not see me like his sister does so he will notice this. he was a bit shocked and more than a little worried. he told me i am quieter than before. he said i am quiet like i am when i have to be around their father. careful quiet. i had to tell him that i would never be the same.

i told him that the greatest man i will ever know died. i told him that he influenced me and did more for me than all the people i have ever known put together. and now he is dead. i explained that maybe i am taking longer because i have grieved alone, without benefit of a friend to come sit with me, and without the benefit of being in a familiar place. from the moment he died nothing has been my choice or my decision. he died in February and i really did not wake up until late in November. and i was here.

august is coming and i am already blind again with grief. your birthday, the one and a half year anniversary of your death all occur during that Camp Widow thing i am going to. our wedding anniversary will happen the day after i get back. all this will hit when i am surrounded by people who are vested in so many other people and things. and the kids are right. i do not know how to speak for myself. i will be in the middle of a crowd and i will not tell them i am being crushed inside by this sorrow.

i am afraid to go. i know if you were here listening to me tell you this in person, you would come sit down and pull me in your lap. i miss that part of our relationship. we always had these wonderful, very tactile conversations. i always felt comforted, always felt valuable. now, our daughter hugs me. our son hugs me. it is not the same. i miss your eyes looking at me when i talked. i miss using so many words out loud. i have tried to talk to others but i can hear the clock ticking on the time i think they want to hear my voice. i think i am my own worst enemy.

i have aged so much. i have gained some weight from not being able to walk like we used to. to go from climbing on the rocks, from walking six to eight miles a day to walking the dogs within sight of my apartment door so i can run with them back inside when loose dogs attack is depressing. i miss you so much because you did not seem afraid of anything. you were not even afraid of the dark.

i was born a mouse. i learned to be a shadow during my childhood so i could try to go unnoticed as much as possible. i married and became the head Musketeer. i adapted myself to stealth and subterfuge so i could protect the kids. then i was allowed a moment of grace. i was allowed to be your wife, a real person, loved and valued. i got to taste a life lived in the light until that light was extinguished. now i want to live somewhere else because i am someone else. i would not mind being separate physically because i feel separate mentally.

you died. i hate euphemisms. you are not lost to me. you did not pass on. you died and i worked on you and tried to save you and i failed. i FAILED. i failed you. i could not bring you back. i sat beside you after you died and the world fell away.

and so i am different now. i am quieter. i look at myself and i see an old woman who does not belong anywhere because the only place she belonged was with you.

except maybe ……

i want to go home to the ocean. i am so tired of all this concrete. i get despondent seeing only a small swath of sky that peeks through two buildings. the only water nearby stinks because it is littered with trash from people who do not give a damn.

i want a small house with a small yard. i am not asking for luxury. well, i am because a little place by the ocean is a luxury. sorry. i would carve shutters for my house. i would die-cut out lobsters and starfish. each shutter would have a different design. i would fence the yard and call it Scotland Yard. the puppies would have room to play and i could have a garden again.

i would paint, and sew, take photographs, collect driftwood and shells and things for my sculptures. i would carve wood and build stained glass windows. and i would do what i am doing now. i would fantasize about you. i would draw on memories and go back for a while to living in the past when the present without you is too painful. and if anyone tells me that i am grieving all wrong, i can honestly say, as i do now, where were you when you knew i needed you? what do you care what happens to me?

then i would have a door that i could close. i would turn away from them and look out my windows at the eternity of the ocean. and i would dream of us.

i always dream of us.


judemiller1 said...

Maybe you can share at Widow Camp--just blurt out, "today is my husband's birthday" "he died 18 months ago" or something. something to make them take notice and gather around you. I know, you are too shy to do that. I so wish a good friend for you would appear--someone you could call at any time--if I were there, I would be that friend. I have had friends call me in the middle of the night and I went to them, so I know I would do it now...with you. I wish I could come and get and you the doggies and put you in my car and drive east--out to the Outer Banks and that nice little cottage I found in May--right on the beach--so healing. When it was high tide, the surf came up under the deck--up against the pilings it was built on--wonderful. I made a pile of rocks while I was there...thinking of how you and Dragon did it. Oh how I wish..............

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady,

Your new look here caught me by surprise and is very beautiful. I'm sorry for what I said. I shouldn't have told you. I'm here if you should ever need me. You know that, right? If not I'm saying it now. I'm still here for you. I never meant to add to your pain. You mean a great deal to me.

Semper Fi,

Dan, in real time. said...

I completely love the new look of your blog. It is simply breathtaking. Your words here are also quite beautiful. I wish we lived in the same town. I would sit and listen. I look forward to meeting in August. Please remind each of us of the important anniversary dates when we are there. We can lift a glass to your Dragon, and help you feel less alone in your journey.

Dan, in real time. said...

Well, I'm still up. I was having an emotional night, so I thought why not just push through and pack up the rest of our clothing. I had your blog page open, and I listened to your playlist, about four times. It helped calm me, and created such a soothing atmosphere. So, thank you for your wonderful music selection.

womanNshadows said...

judy, knowing you are out there and think of yourself as my friend - as i do - makes the world feel a little less lonely. i have faith that if i wrote to you, you would read with compassion and your responses would be comforting. thank you for being the person you are.

Brick, i know you will continue to be there for me. do not feel bad. you were honest with me. i can only be honest in return. i am simply still very much in love with my Dragon. i can only be a pen pal. i am sorry.

Dan, thank you for liking my new look. i felt maybe a little color was called for since my blog was so black. i am trying to leave the darkness and, at least, move into my dream world where there is always color. i wish we lived closer as well. your writing reveals a wise intelligence and empathy that i would love to be close to every once in a while. i might tug on your sleeve, or whisper in Debbie's ear, "hey, it's today. his birthday." i am glad my music selection was soothing. it often is to me as well. i finished the quilt with it playing.

peace to you all.

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