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, October 25, 2010

"to be or not to be"

so this is it. this is what my life has become. not what i had worked so hard for. not what i had dreamed of as a little girl. all my tiny little dreams unmet or altered in such a way as to become punishments rather than blessings.

i had wanted to be safe and for less than two handfuls of years, with my Dragon, i was.

i had wanted a family. i have daughter and a son who i kept safe to their adulthood at great cost.

i had wanted a home. i never had that. first, it was his property, and then my Dragon and i were thrust into poverty and rentals and moving, always moving. but the children were safe and getting their college educations and that was what mattered at that time.

now i am not safe, my children are grown and no longer need me, and i have no real place. i am struggling and fearful and what is worse, now i must face all this alone. there is so much pressure to simply survive. roof. lights. food. and along side the barest of necessities more pain and longing than i have ever known. i miss his strength. i miss his arms. i miss laying beside him in the dark.

i hurt so much tonight. i can hardly breathe. and hope? where is it? why am i struggling to find it? i thought i could do this. i thought, maybe i could get a handle on this, but i am failing, i think. i am rock bottom and yet, i know i can get lower. i feel terrible and yet, i know i can feel worse. i am scratching in the dirt for hope of some kind, for some thing to turn around. i keep telling myself, "this is as bad as it will get. hang on." and then something happens and i am back to fighting for a single breath that does not have panic pressing down on my lungs. who am i anymore? i am not wife. i am not friend. i am a widow and yet, i do not seem to do that right.

forsaken. used and turned away from. unnailed, uncoffined, unknown. i do not remember where i read that, but it popped into my head tonight.

abandoned soul.
but i keep waking up. why? what for? how, when i go to bed in such pain? i go to sleep and i almost do not care. but i keep waking up. there must be some purpose, some reason i am still here. what? my children are safe and grown. he cannot touch them anymore. i was with my Dragon when he died so that he was not alone. that job is done.

maybe i am here for my two little dogs. i love them and they need me. we are true companions. maybe i am here for the quilts. the set of 3 quilts i have been commissioned to do at this time are very, very heavy with embroidery. very heavy embroidery of images that hold special meaning to the family. thousands and thousands of stitches. it all has to be done by hand. so maybe i am here for the quilts.

tomorrow i go to check on my application i put in for a job at Build-A-Bear. yes, the store where i bought Bunny, the star of all my photographs and her own Facebook page. she gets a lot of traffic, a lot of questions asked of her. there are people who will miss her being online when they do not even remember me. i post her in the third person and i have actually be sent an email telling me to "let her speak for herself." you have got to be kidding me. seriously? i wrote back that she signs to me since her lips are only embroidered on. i got back an, "oh, okay." truly surreal, but definitely not boring. Bunny laughed.

i do not know if i am going to make it. i do not know what else life is going to shove down my throat. but if i keep on waking up in the morning, then i will get out of bed. my dogs will need to go outside for walkies as Wallace would say. i have a ton of embroidery to do. i never stopped reading a book before i finished it. and i have only walked out of one movie in my entire life and that was after a very graphic scene involving piano wire as a garrote. some of those Japanese films get a little too much for me.

it hurts to breathe tonight. it hurts to think about getting up in the morning. it hurts to be so lonely and yet i cannot seem to find anyone who will sit with me, stay with me, even for a little while that doesn't involve using me for my hands. {that sounds wrong but you know what i mean} the counselor i was talking to seems to think i am fine and her caseload is crammed. she says i am articulate and aware, that i am working through my issues on my own very well through my writing {apparently i "really know how to convey a thought"}, and that i am handling my solitary isolation with the "grace of a cloister." she was actually impressed with the number of hours i am alone. 16 - 20 hours a month. that's the extent of human contact that i have. out of a month i cannot make up the hours of one full day spent with another human being. face time as she called it. oh, and yeah, if i feel like taking my life, i am to call her. but she knows i am not the type. i took the test. i passed. flying colors. otherwise, ttfn.

and then there were none.

so here i am tonight. and i am tired, and dejected, and hurting so much. i am reaching out, but it will be hours, or days before anyone may read these words, and figure out what to say in response, if there is anything to say. apparently i am doing fine on my own.

so i will handle it on my own. i will force myself to calm down. i will do what i always do. i will turn my mind to him. i may go outside on the balcony, in the darkness, and watch the moon. i will close my eyes to the cool breeze and remember the feel of his hands. i will call up his voice. i will let it wash over me and take me far away from this place.

i will try to remember, and accept, that once; once i was loved,
and he did not leave me.
it took an act of God to take him away from me.
i will remember the time i had with him and what we meant to each other. i will remember how we looked at each other and knew, we just knew how to communicate without words. then i will go to bed and try to sleep. and if i wake up in the morning, well, i will keep taking care of myself by myself all over again.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
~ Shakespeare, Sonnet 29


Suddenwidow said...

I'm here, I hear you and I'm sorry you are in so much pain. You are in my prayers daily and every time I see the mooon I think of you. I know that it's no where near the same as sitting with you. I hope you get the job at Build a Bear. You would be the perfect person to help people there. My sons each built a bear once and it was a magical experience, one that I know would be enhanced by having you there to help birth the new creations I wish you peace, S.

Anonymous said...

i'm here. i'm alone. the sun will come up.. and you will wake up. and you will be loved.i hope an easy night for you...

Boo said...

I am here too my friend. I can feel how low you are reading your words and I'm sorry that you are feeling so much pain right now. I know from personal experience that when things go wrong or you have worries, the grief seems to be magnified ten-fold. Just the same when you are feeling ill ... I really hope you get the Build A Bear job - you would be so good with kids there! And it would be more human contact too. xxx

Lacey said...

I feel your words... they reach into my soul. I hate waking up- I just sigh and think on no I have to do it all over again today, what is the point. It's so hard to hold onto my faith in the love Elliott and I shared when the grief so heavy it's just pulling me farther and farther away. Nevertheless I hold on because I know he loves me. Sometime I just wish that I could die from grief, that it could just consume me and I could drown in the pain. Then I could go home to my beautiful husband. I know how bad it hurts to be the one left behind- the one trapped in between life and death. Oh how I wish I could sit with you, and we could share stories of the men we love and the lives we grieve for.

Kim said...

words just fall short when we all know that the piercing pain you feel will do what it will with you - no matter what we do. but i hope our words of love and support for you can dull it just a little, and bring you closer to the love of your dragon, and further from the grief. i too wish we could all just sit and be. just be.
i pray you get this job xoxo

Anonymous said...

if only I lived closer .. you would be at my home or vice versa .. yes, people / children have lives .. but that doesn't mean that they can't involve you .. can't you go to your daughter's on weekends ? Hang out there for a day ? Have her get you one night a week for dinner at her place ? Just to get you out for a little bit .. I hate to see you in so much pain .. and I feel so helpless .. I will say a prayer for you at Build-A-Bear .. until then, I am sending hugs !! C.

womanNshadows said...

thank you all for your words of kindness and love. i went to Build-A-Bear but i still do not know. the young girl who is the assist. manager was very aware of her power over an older woman like me. i filled out 3 other applications and 2 more "interest cards." this town is in economic crisis and my skill set, though diverse, does not parlay into a one page job application very easily. there was one place, a fashion boutique place, where i seemed to appeal to the young woman in charge. she gave me time and listened to why i thought i would be a good employee.

as for a night out for dinner with my daughter, or being with her on weekends, she works weekends and her hours during the weekday have her getting off work at 8 PM. a little late and she is tired. she fusses so much and worries so much over me as it is. i will not burden her for something as small as "companionship." she gives me all of herself she has to give. i do not want her stressed out.

i am still so very down but then i guess that is what life is. we only know that we were happy when....
when i think of all my misfortune, all the things that went wrong in my life and all the people who have hurt me, i turn my thoughts to my time spent with my Dragon and i would not trade. i simply would not trade my time with him for living in a castle now. my soul is a match for his.

thank you all. to be darkly honest, i did not believe i would get any comments much less all this. but that is my self-loathing kicking in. i must stop seeing myself as my mom did and as "he" did. only remember how my Dragon saw me. again, thank you for reading. i hope in the next few days i have some better news. until then, i continue, it seems, to wake up.

peace to all who read. peace and light to all who grieve.

Split-Second Single Father said...

Praying for you always and so very glad you keep waking up. Hang in there...

Anonymous said...

Sweetheart, how can you say you are not doing widowhood right? I know this pain, and you express it so clearly. That is a gift you are giving other people, although it may not feel so at the time, and also, you don't care. (Or, perhaps I am reading too much of myself here, who knows.) Other people don't matter in this context.The writing is only to let it out somehow, the pain. And yet there is always more. All we can do is hang on. Love & peace

womanNshadows said...

SSSF, i'm still hanging in there. i am trying to remember that it is darkest before the dawn.

throughawidowseyes, not doing widowhood right? it's a long story. one i would love to tell outside beside a campfire under a full moon. i do not know if my writing so painfully and so honestly is a gift to anyone but it does allow me to feel like i am trying to be heard.

thank you all. peace.

thelmaz said...

I'm here, too. I check your blog every day and pray that you are holding on. Please keep going. You have so much to offer the world.

Anonymous said...

companionship is not a burden .. it is a gift .. you, yourself are a gift .. you have brightend and bought peace to many .. peace will be yours again soon .. hang in there !! c.

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