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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

knives, memories, and the futility of wishes

i cleaned out his "go bag" and found his favorite pocketknife.

one Veteran's Day early in our marriage, a couple of his Marine friends came to dinner and they sat and talked. one had gone on a mission with him. the other just knew my Dragon by reputation. my Dragon was a knife man. it is all tatted together like a silky thin spider's web of how he earned his nickname, Dragon. Marines are taught "one mind, one weapon." my Dragon was very good at hand-to-hand but he favored knives. as a tunnel rat it was his preferred weapon, even above a pistol which made noise. stealth was best in the tunnels. he had an affinity for knives.

when we would go out, if my Dragon would see a pocketknife, and if he liked it, he bought it. knives had saved his life many, many times. during the last mission less than 2 years before he died, it was a knife that got him home. maybe a story for another time. maybe never since it really isn't important to anyone but me.

he had a favorite pocketknife that he had thought was lost. we looked and looked but could not find it. i could feel the loss of that knife coming off him in waves. it is small, easily hidden, easy to palm. the blade tip is broken. part of that other maybe story. and we could not find it. i kept looking and looking for him without telling him, but we never found it.

and then he died.

i found it. i opened his "go bag" and there it was. his "go bag" was not something i had been able to touch except for moving it around the apartment out of my way. move it there out of my way. but never to open. too much of him inside. but then i worried that there were weapons inside and i do not know the concealed weapons laws for this state. so i took a belt of rum and coke for false courage and unzipped the bag.

there were no weapons but i found his favorite pocketknife. it was not in the pocket it was supposed to be in, but down in the bottom tucked under a seam that reinforced the bottom. when i found it i actually called out his name. i held it up and called to him. for a nanosecond i waited for him to come into a bedroom he had never been in from a living room he had never been in, in an apartment he had never seen. i knew where i was. i know every minute of everyday that he will never see this place. he will never come find me. he is not coming home from this mission. but i sat there waiting for him to come into the room to see his knife.

i know widows have been known to do that, but in all these months, i have never, ever called out to him to come to me believing that he would show up. this was the first time.
this is pretty Beach Bunny sitting with some of her Dragon's pocketknives. she has such a sweet face, doesn't she? it's why i use her instead of the real me.

but actually this is closer to the truth. this is raw looking Sock Beach Bunny. she is hurting inside and can only hug herself while she cries a little bit. just a little. tiny tears eeking down the sides of her face.

i miss him. a lot. there are days where i feel so blessed to have had him in my arms. i feel so honored to have been able to be in his life, hear his stories, comfort him in the dead of night when nightmares slammed into his psyche. but then there are days when i feel pulled far under the surface. i pop up but i hear that bell in the fog and i do not know if i am swimming to shore or further out to sea.

i miss walking with him. to me, my opinion, he is a beautiful man. i loved watching him walk. just an adorable man. i loved our walks all over Cape Ann, and miss them very much. he would massage my foot and then wrap it before i slipped it into my hiking boots. then he would massage it when we got back. my stinky, sweaty foot. he always laughed and said, "i've smelled worse things."
this is the path from the house we always started from.

besides being my camera bitch, he was my professional scavenger and pack mule. we had it down to almost communicating without words. i would look at something, like a lobster buoy or a piece of driftwood and he would look at me and lift his eyebrows, nodding, "yeah, you want that?" then he was off, climbing all over everything to bring it to me. such a sweetie.
i miss him. he is gone and i do not know if i really will get to be with him again. i think i could do it if i knew that he was waiting for me. well, i have to do it. there is no choice. but i think i could breathe if i knew he would come get me. i wish with all my might that i could find permanent comfort in that thought. but i also know faith is up to me and that wishing for a sign is futile. i will never get that sign. i just have to believe and stay strong. i just need to find some strength somewhere. does not sell it. ebay, nada. i guess it really does only come from within. damnit.

Judy, if you are reading this, i cling to that story you told me of your grandmother, i think it was. i hold it close in the darkness. thank you for telling me that. it is a light that i keep my eye on in the storms that come as tears of loneliness and sorrow.

i am glad i found his knife. they are all part of my shrine to my Dragon on the mantle. i am glad there are not any guns i have to explain. i think i would have just called the Marine Corps recruiting office rather than the police. i think it would have been easier to explain a "go bag" to a Marine than a cop.

"come to me in my dreams and then by day i shall be well again, for the night will more than pay the hopeless longing of the day."


Anonymous said...

I've read you for months. My husband was a Marine. He loved knives too. K-Bars. He had some K-Bars in a box on the top shelf of his closet. One was from a friend of his who was KIA. The man's parents gave him their son's K-Bar in thanks for bringing their son home. I'm glad you found his pocketknife. I know he knows you found it. And I laughed at your looking for weapons. I had to to that. I could explain the K-Bars-maybe-but a pistol, or worse, a rifle. Marines. Who but us could love such men.

I just wanted you to know that I understand about the knives. Good luck to you in healing though from what you write I think you'll be like me. I haven't gotten over it and its been 4 years. Once a Marine's wife always a Marine's wife.

Boo said...

S - we have to believe that they are going to come get us when it is our time to go ... anything else doesn't bear thinking about ... they are waiting. I am sure of it. I don't believe in god but I believe in them xxx

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