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, September 30, 2010


last night was a bad night for sleeping for some reason. maybe because rent is due tomorrow and i am waiting on the transfer. maybe because it feels like Fall outside right now. it rained yesterday and all last night. there is a cool wind. leaves doing their fluttering leaf thing ~ dancing and playing with the breeze while hanging onto their tree, in total control, until fate decides for them to let go.

then they seem like a kite with a broken string, going where the wind takes them, however far. but then i thought, maybe they were not in control while tethered to the tree, but only after they were free. maybe life really starts for them after they let go. maybe they aerodynamically control where they want to land. it is not for us to really know. a mystery of life. but it gave me an idea that my Dragon was let go so he could be free to fly in a different albeit more beautiful place.

i had an epiphany late last night, or early this morning, whatever your frame of reference.
it was like Dandy up there. the light shone in my brain and it felt like all the clutter of my sorrow and grief were stripped away. like Dandy, i saw the sky clearly. i think i know why my Dragon died first.

i have lived a loner life. i stayed out of range of my parents. i skipped ahead in school and therefore was not a peer of the people in class. i kept my back to the wall and strategically planned each day during my first marriage. when i met my Dragon, it took a moment, but i ultimately gave in body and soul. he is so strong. he is so resilient. he had survived so many things. he was a loner like me. and we had found each other. we did not have to be alone anymore.

we took so many walks. everyday we ventured to a new area to see what beauty was hidden up in somewhere. and we talked.
he told me his stories. he told me of his life. he told me his dreams, his hopes, and his wishes. he told me he loved me and that he knew he could not face a life without me. i thought he was being cute and romantic. never dreamed he was speaking seriously because, well, look at him. he is a Marine. he has been everywhere and done so many things in life and death situations. he is invincible.
he was my scavenger. he found shells and stones for my sculptures. he kept me safe while i looked through the camera lens. he kept me warm when it was cold. he swam with me in the ocean and taught me how to be free no matter where i am or how locked down i was. he taught me how to be wild and free in my mind.
he died so suddenly. one minute he was with me, beside me. his arm was behind me and his fingers were stroking my arm. then his fingers were digging into my arm and he was gasping for a breath.

i do not know this for fact because no one with medical training was there, but i believe he was gone before the EMT's got there. there was no light in his eyes. there was nothing in his eyes. he left me to be alone in this world that is, quite often, cold and cruel.

i have been cleaning out things. i have been tossing things i do not need to keep just because he touched it once. i found a letter written on the back of a hand-drawn map. i had never seen this before but it was in his "go bag" so i never had reason to go through it. but he has died and i have finally had the courage to go through it. these are the things he used when he would go "out of town." on the back of the map he wrote, "I need to go first. I can't live without you. You think I'm strong but I'm not. It's bull-headedness. I'm only strong enough so I can get back to you. But if something happened to you, I wouldn't be able to take it. All the light would be gone and I can't live in the dark after I've been given the light of your love. You're aren't living in the shadows. You're only the silhouette that stands behind the light you shine on me. Don't ever leave me. Don't die before me. I'm not strong enough. Only God knows how much I love you."

so you see. it had to be me here alone. he thought i was strong enough to be alone in this life without him. he is wrong but i am going to let it slide. it is the first time he has been wrong.
i always did what he asked of me because he asked so little and he always asked with a kiss. well, i will try to do this. he said he had to go first. he knew the ending of "Bicentennial Man" would not happen for us. so did i really, but i am an artist so i am always dreaming, conjuring up something magical and beautiful in my mind so i do not have to face reality.

i will do this for him. i will live as best as i can. he thinks i am strong enough so i will not give up. i will hold my head up to keep an eye out for danger, and to take my pictures of the full moon. but i will mostly keep my head down and sew and sketch and write. i will continue on in the shadows because the light he believed i possessed is shining forward, looking for him.


Anonymous said...

he believed in you .. he knew you had the inner fortitude to move forward .. for your children .. and look at you .. you're doing it !! be very proud of yourself !! C.

thelmaz said...

Your posts are always heartbreaking and inspiring. He would want you to be brave and I know he's proud of you.

I suppose this is uncool to mention on someone else's blog, but if you'll visit mine at, you can sign up to win a free copy of The Five Ways We Grieve. I think it's the best book I've ever read on bereavement and beyond.

Take care, Thelmaz

judemiller1 said...

You always write about how smart your Dragon is and just look--he KNEW how strong you would be and are. He KNEW even before you did. What a wonderful thing to happen to you--to have been his wife and gained strength from his love for you. So much love and so much strength. You are my inspiration, Friend.

Suddenwidow said...

What a beautiful post. And such a powerful find in his go bag. You are a light, he was right. I'm am so relieved for you to sense strength in your words. I hope it is bringing you a little bit of peace. And I pray that the VA gives you the freedom you need very soon.

Peace to you too.

womanNshadows said...

thank you everyone. cleaning out things like this has been very hard. i can only do little bits at a time. and finding the letter was not exactly a setback for me personally, only to finishing the job. i just kept reading it over, and over. i will finish cleaning and sorting another day.

peace to all.

Boo said...

I've just read this and I can't find words today. I just know that your husband loved and knew you so so well, that he probably even knew when you'd finally open the bag, and find it. And he knew when you'd be ready to read it.

Amazing amazing love.

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