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, August 28, 2010


i go by many names. did you realize that? womanNshadows. Beach Bunny. abandonedsouls for my photography. somewhere out there in cyberspace i am also known as lucystarshadow; my look out the window from the inside of Woodworth's poem, "She Dwelt Among Untrodden Ways."

womanNshadows has been around for decades ~ my first identity. it is the most apropos. abandonedsouls is from my Dragon for all my sculpture, my paintings, my wood carvings. i am using it for the photography because i can't make anymore sculpture or wood carvings since i cannot go outside and find driftwood in the parking lot. my paintings? i have sketches. someday i will be able to afford oils again. but i have my dreams and images that i turn into sketches.

lucy came about in the 5 years before i met my Dragon. i still use her out there in surreal land but, like her namesake in the poem, she isn't right out by the curb flagging anyone and everyone down. and since my Dragon died, she keeps to herself now. my other incarnations are too busy trying to keep my head above water.

when i first met my Dragon, i was not ready to just start going out. i needed to get to know him slowly, build some trust and so he suggested we talk online as well as on the phone. {on the aside, it's funny. i can talk on the phone as long as you want to talk but the only people i "sit on the phone" with are my children and my Dragon.}

i had never done the IM thing. my children did it a little, but even they did not do it a lot. computers were for homework and research. after that, my son did the online gaming thing with headset and his "teams." his first screen name in those military games like HALO and such was i hope you slip on my guts. but then he got really good and his avatar was seldom taken out so the online crowd told him to change it. so my son set me up with the IM chat thing and while he was doing that he asked, "what do you want to be called." i liked our Dragon very much, really a lot, so so much, too much too quick that i was intimidated, but i wanted to be sure of him, of me, of our situation, that what he was feeling was more than lust. i thought of Clytie, the water nymph who fell in love with Apollo. so that is who i became. my
Dragon liked the name. i was Clytiesunflower.

but she is silent now. she is no longer Clytie. she isn't even a sunflower anymore because her sun has set.

it is real life i face and i follow the moon. i wait for it to rise and then i take my pictures. i worry about cloud cover. i panic when the moon is 95% full, 97%, 99%. what if the actual full moon is covered with clouds? so i take my pictures each night. click. click. clickety click click. if i have one of that night, i actually have 27, or so.

i am no longer Clytie who became the sunflower watching the object of her affection drive the sun across the sky. the light is gone. all that's left is the moon. my beautiful, cool, silvery moon.
i was up late last night working. i was watermarking and then uploading photos until, well, later than i wanted or needed to be. but while on Facebook, someone did the instant message chatty thingy at the bottom. it is a pretty little tone that chimes when someone types to you. it is almost like a little smile for the ears.

this woman talked to me. she asked about the dentist, the crown. {btw, i am finished with him. i have the crown. i am never darkening his doorway again.} she asked how i was doing and though i could not hear her voice, the little tone was appealing so i responded with how i was doing. and she kept talking to me. it was so unexpected and so very nice.

she asked about my Dragon and me. she asked about where i had lived with him. she was looking all my new photographs. she gave to me her time last night and asked me pointed questions that allowed me the release of talking about things i have only gotten to talk to my daughter about.

i cried while we typed. she did not know that last night. she does now since she will read this eventually. but it was the kind of tears i never get to shed. i cannot get that low in front of my daughter. and last night, i got to wallow and get some of the terror and longing i felt the night he died out of me. this is some of the stuff that i think people get to get some of it out during their first year of mourning. i did not get to do that. i had no where to go to talk about it so i kept it all inside. very lucy-esque.

it was very nice of this woman to talk to me in depth like that. i have so much pain that is still inside me and though i write about it, i sometimes think it would be nice to be able to speak of some of it to someone. but when i get the chance to actually sit with someone, i get very nervous and i mess it all up. i do not get said what i would like to get off my chest. i try not to take up too much of their time. i worry if i am boring them. i sometimes suffer flashbacks when i try to talk to someone. other times. other horrors.

i have the unfortunate circumstance of being a captive audience. everyone else can come and go as they wish. i am trapped here, or where ever i get to be when a conversation occurs, with no way to entice someone to come to me, and definitely no way to encourage someone to stay with me a little while. i am afraid to bring anything too deep up knowing that all they have to do is get up and leave. it has happened countless times before. i have been corrected by those listening that i overestimate my importance to them. sorry, mom, Voldemort, family, et. al.

listening to someone's story takes patience. it requires the desire to want to help them. it takes time. it may also take encouragement from you to get them to realize that it is okay for them to talk. it takes empathy to see that they may need to talk. it takes intuition to know their circumstance and couple it with the wish to help.

so many things come out from the past when we get older and/or when tragedy befalls us. all the creepy crawly horrors from our past come out to slither and encumber us when we are so stricken, so vulnerable.

being in a place where i know very few, and not having much luck in holding someone close enough for them to see past my nervousness to the person my Dragon saw has kept me lagging behind on this journey. i can see people are milling about out there in this new darkness that has come over us all and they all seem to have really good flashlights. they have friends who have gathered around them, who call frequently, who go sit with them.

i have two worried children and i have the moon. all said and done, with no money and a smidgen of hope, i am not doing too badly. i have all the incarnations of myself to face my existences with. it is like i have a multiple personality, not disorder, but enhancement that i use to keep walking with me. i have my friends to whom i can talk, and from whom i can speak to the world. womanNshadows. Beach Bunny. abandonedsouls. lucystarshadow.

the only one who is silent is Clytiesunflower. she has gone to sleep forever. now it is the other four and all of us pay homage to the moon.

i love you, my Dragon. i always will.


judemiller1 said...

I have always loved the Moonlight Sonata and enjoyed listening to it in the background as I read your words. Whatever name you call yourself, you are a precious, precious woman!!!

womanNshadows said...

i've been quilting all day, working hard to wrap up some sewing projects up. for reasons, it's been a very long, lonely day and now night. i kept checking back and telling myself, "it's Saturday. people are busy" and yet when i would take a break, i would gravitate here to see if someone had stopped by. and here you are. thank you for dropping off a comment.

have i ever mentioned that i played piano for 14 years? took lessons as a child starting when i was six. my mother wanted me to be a concert pianist. she entered me in competitions, the Van Cliburn, Nationals, etc. i memorized and played the entire 14th Sonata when i was 11. hard piece, but i found this one and liked it. not too too rushed. of course my CD of the London Symphony does it best.

i will be thinking of you and hoping you are resting before your surgery. put up the "Moonlight" and drift off to sleep. thank you for being so kind to me.


bev said...

i can see people are milling about out there in this new darkness that has come over us all and they all seem to have really good flashlights. they have friends who have gathered around them, who call frequently, who go sit with them.

Well, not all of us - at least not in the physical sense - although for once, I do have some visitors here for a few days. First people to come and visit other than the couchsurfer from France back in July. Things were seeming a little quiet in my life - my best email friend has been unwell this summer, so not writing. I made a few new email friends on an international penpal site and that's been rather interesting. I don't do chatting - can't sit in one place long enough for that - but the emailing has been enjoyable. It's nice to read about what people are doing in other parts of the world. Soon I'll be traveling with the dogs for about 3 months. That tends to feel very isolating, but in a way that feels good to me.

womanNshadows said...

i apologize for being too general in my statements. i remember now that you live a more alone life. i am sorry your best email friend has been ill. i hope he/she is better soon. and i am glad you are finding others to write to. getting to leave your area to travel, even if you keep to yourself, seems a blessing to me. getting to move about under your own control; getting to see different places and photograph them; pick up little stones to save, i dream of doing that someday. however you travel, i hope it is a peaceful time for you.

bev said...

Oh, please don't apologize - that's fine. I enjoy the solitude anyhow, but do enjoy traveling for all the reasons that you've mentioned. I'm a restless person and being in one place for any length of time eventually gets to me. There used to be a tv show here in Canada - The Littlest Hobo - about a gray german shepherd type dog that traveled from place to place doing a good deed here and there. I laugh thinking of how, when I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be just like the dog in the tv series! In many ways, perhaps I have. (-:
I hope that a time comes when you'll be able to do more traveling again too. Yes, to collect beautiful rocks and take photos, sit by rivers and seasides. Even though I am alone, it's not a bad way to live, at least for a few months each year.

Suddenwidow said...

I'm glad your tooth is fixed and you don't have to ever see that dentist again!

Just so you know, most of us don't have great flashlights and most of us don't have friends who are available whenever we need them to sit and listen until we have nothing left to say. In my life, most of my friends have moved on in their lives and don't have the time or the energy to be with me in my grief. They want to fix me and move on, which isn't going to work for me. And the really deep stuff I feel and cry about is stuff that I don't often share with anyone because I'm private and don't feel comfortable truly grieving in front of others. Just wanted to let you know that no matter what our circumstance in life, mourning and grieving is private, painful and lonely work. Friends no longer call frequently and come and sit with me. They're too busy living their own life. They think I'm ok. And when people ask, "How are you?", most don't really want to know. The connections I have made online, these blogs and the people who write them, are my solid and reliable connection to people who really want to know how I am. You aren't as alone as you feel. We are all out here living through our own sorrow, and cheering you on!

Boo said...

S - I like the name Moonflower, also Moonshadow :-)

I wish you could get some counselling sessions because they are so valuable ... someone who does not have a vested interest in you and your Dragon, someone who is not emotionally attached, yet does have empathy, who you could speak with about your grief, and your nightmares of Voldemort, someone who you could cry in front of. It's a good dumping ground. That said, after 6 sessions I felt I wasn't getting enough out of them, so I stopped, but I may return for a couple more every now and again ... perhaps 6 monthly ... but the first 4 sessions particularly were great for me.

I have my one very close friend who I can offload onto and be totally honest with, but she is battling breast cancer now so I have to focus on supporting her. And rightfully so ... but perhaps it is due to this shift that I am craving a couple more counselling sessions?

Can you check if there are any charities in your area, perhaps grief support people who offer free sessions, even if it is only 1 or 2?

Also, I really can't stress enough how much it helped me to talk with others on the Grief Healing (Hospice of the Valley) Bereavement Discussion Board for those first 6 months. Please click on the link on my blog ... it's safe, it's monitored by a wonderful grief counsellor (Marty) and you could create your profile as Moonflower :-) or the Bunny with the Dragon Tattoo ;-) I bared my soul there and got great support. Sometimes I just blurted and wasn't that interested in the replies, I just wanted to offload.


womanNshadows said...

Deb, as i did in my comment to Bev above, i will again apologize. my analogy was in error. i did not mean to impinge anyone's experiences and/or perceptions.

Boo, i will try the discussion board link off your blog site. i have exhausted all the free possibilities in this city.

i seem to keep stepping on toes with my thoughts. again i apologize, in general now, to anyone and everyone who took offense with my dark thoughts. i will strive to be more careful in the future with how i express myself.

Suddenwidow said...

There's no need to appologize. I just want you to know that for many of us, this journey is hard, very hard. You are not alone in your agony. I just don't want you to think that the rest of the world has it much easier because of..... and we're brushing off your pain. We're all in pain with you. You are not alone, none of us are, even though we're all at home by ourselves missing the loves of our lives. Please don't appologize, but know we're here, sometimes in our own private hell.

Wishing you peace always.

thelmaz said...

Even in your grief, you write so beautifully that I often want to cry when I read your posts. I think of you often and hope the dark will go away. A friend of mine, a new widow, told me yesterday she gets a post from a place called griefshare each day and it has helped her a lot. It's a religious site, so you should know that before you check it out. Thinking of you...

womanNshadows said...

Deb, i know the death of a spouse is hard for everyone. i have apologized. i would again but i don't know if it will matter at this point. i had a point of view that got lost in translation. i'm sorry i wrote it the way i did. it's out there and i cannot re-write it. i don't know what else to say. i was wrong. i can't keep saying this. i don't want to do this anymore. i am in tears.

bev said...

You haven't stepped on anyone's toes - and certainly no one has taken any offense. There is absolutely no need to make apologies to any of us. That's not why we made mention of being alone too. It is just to let you know that you are not alone.

Suddenwidow said...

Well said, Bev. That's what I was trying to say :)

Boo said...

S - I am going to tell you off now (but with love). QUIT apologizing. We are not Voldemorts ok? You are safe here and you don't need to be frightened of upsetting people. You have a right to write whatever you want. It's your loss. Your perceptions.

Re-read what Debs and Bev wrote but read the words hearing DEBBIE's voice NOT Voldemort's ... and you will find that the intention was good not critical.

As they have said, we are all alone without our soulmates here. It never ceases to amaze me how I can be in a room full of people and still feel completely lonely and alone in the world.

Anonymous said...


I had some time at work. I see what you mean. I know I said I wouldn't write anything but I'm gonna. In a way it does have the tone of you're wrong and they know more about it all. You wrote some really great things that was pretty much ignored. One paragraph seemed to get all the negative attention. Telling you off and correcting you is not what you need to hear, but I really don't think they understood what you were trying to say. I don't think they know you don't have a car to just get out and mingle with real life. You don't have the opportunity to talk to a co-worker about work, or have a casual conversation out at a store. You don't have a friend you can call to come over. If it weren't for me, you'd have no human interaction at all and I worry about you because of it. I know being online has given you work but they seem to think that this kind of friendship means you're not alone. Online friendships aren't enough for anyone. They don't really understand how alone you are. We don't have any choices right now, but we're working on it. The Three Musketeers are still together. We survived before. We'll survive this. I love you, Mom. BTW, I'm gonna stop by and bring you a hamburger so don't use up your bread. It's gonna be okay.


AVM said...

I read your blog and I am so, so sorry for your loss. So sorry. It's a pain that I cannot begin to imagine. I read through the above comments, and I mean this in the best possible way - people are offering you empathy and you're taking it as a criticism. It's not that way at all. You don't have to be alone - there are others out there who you can share your feelings and your grief - women who have been and are where you are. I wish you much peace and an open heart, when you're ready.

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