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, November 10, 2010

Soul Widows Spiritual Retreat ~ Nine ~ Sunday ~ Finis

this is the 9th and final posting i will make to conclude this series i have done on the Soul Widows Spiritual Retreat. i purposely ended at 9 because in numerology, 9 is sacred. it is considered the Holy Trinity times 3. it is seems to represent 9 positive characteristics: selflessness, fulfillment, completion, universality, universal understanding, interrelatedness, compassion, idealism, tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, benevolence, humanitarianism, emotionalism, and justice. these were all things spoken of to one degree or another through the weekend, so i end this series at 9.

it has also been very emotional for me to pull all this out of myself and lay it here for public consumption, far beyond the security of the tribe. 21 months milestone passed and my Dragon is still gone. i miss him and will until i, myself, pass. but in writing persistently to get this all said, of how meaningful and near-perfect this weekend was, it has helped that 21 month milestone pass without the mournful flood of tears that come on the 8/9 of each month.

Sunday dawned and i was up early. more private photos of small things that have meaning. i was ready and waiting for the last sessions that were coming. another was to join us for the day, the Fiery Fairy's partner in their counseling business, in friendship, in everything women share when they are sisters and kindred spirits. she is our veteran. she has been a widow for 21 years. there was a collective gasp. she still lived. she had survived.

there was so much to ask her. there was her story to listen to. she had fallen apart as we all had. it was good to know that this strong woman sitting with us had melted onto the floor of her life when her husband had died. we were not weak. we were normal.

the sharing was extraordinary. i listened with awe at the strength in this woman's voice. i saw the extraordinary kinship our Fiery Fairy has with this friend and business partner. they were sympatico. the set up was perfect. we had befriended and bonded with our Fiery Fairy and then here comes the, by our standards, Matriarch of Grief and Joy by the sheer number of years she has lived with sorrow. her spine is strong. her hands full of expression. her eyes, yes, there is grief etched there, but also joy and laughter. she is living, which is beyond existing which some of us are doing at this time. but we are infants compared to 21 years.

when we broke for lunch, our Matriarch of Grief and Joy and our Fiery Fairy had shown us hope.
hope was waiting for us, for me. i knew it was possible and walking out of the restaurant after lunch, the sun gave a visual to remind me. {if that had been Dragon who had not known i had stopped to take a picture, he would have asked me, "what did you see?" when i caught up to him.}

we went back to the alcove and the next exercise was to say one word, or a hyphenated word about each other. we gifted each other with a name of sorts. you read mine for everyone in the posting about The Women. and now i presented our Matriarch of Grief and Joy. it was a moving exercise. i was the last to be named and i admit i was sweating. my hands were trembling. i have been called many names, and until the name "mom," and until my Dragon, and since his death, they have all been bad. and i have accepted it silently. but did not know what words would fall from the mouths of the tribe.

i will not tell you other than to say i was overwhelmed with humbleness. they really saw something in me that was good and decent. i like the word decent better than beautiful. beauty fades with time but decency is steadfast. i cried a bit. i did not know what to do with the words other than to hold them close for a time. i never know what to do with a compliment other than to silently nod and accept.

from outside the alcove, this exercise may have seemed silly, new-agey, a tree-hugger moment, but that thought would only cross a closed mind and a shallow heart. giving someone a name is a gift. in some cultures, there is a whole ceremony involved and the tribe turns out for it. your name is all you are and all you carry with you when you die. names are important. it is how others see you. screw the machines. it is instant feedback and you will react physiologically. your heart will race as you wait. your palms will sweat. your actions are not hidden and they speak to who you are. you will be named.

at our closing, our Fiery Fairy gave us a gift of a coffee mug to remind us of Tryon, the village. she also gave us a rose from her small daughter, a fairy to be sure. as ephemeral as childhood is and the innocence that is its gift, i think our Fairy's daughter will grow to be a woman like her mother. she wanted us to have a flower. and our Fairy found roses. red roses. in the language of flowers the meaning was not lost on me, hence the tissue box beside Bunny.
i received another gift. this one from our Matriarch of Grief and Joy. she is going to be my counselor for a brief time, before she has to move at the beginning of the summer. but she will be there through the holidays, through my birthday, and his death and funeral anniversary on Valentine's Day. she is doing this for me and i am speechless. when i think "what if." what if i had not gone. what if i had stayed locked inside myself while i was there. but the smallness of the group was perfect for bringing one such as me out of herself enough to register that i was actually there.

i hope and pray that my words reach out to other widows who may be looking for something like this organization. Soul Widows is small. i believe it will grow, but i know Elizabeth and our Fiery Fairy will keep the groups small so that intimate secrets can be spoken of in safety. they will continue on the path they have chosen because there are women out there who need to cling for a time. they cannot fall so hard and then get right up. they are not immediately empowered by their loss as to move in an aggressively positive forward direction. some women have a difficult time with that transition from wife to widow. they will need a tight sisterhood. they need a clan. they will find they crave becoming part of a tribe of women who only need look at sorrowful eyes and trembling hands that think they can wring the stress away alone.

no. you cannot. alone in the world. read it again. alone. in. the. world. it sounds like the title of a Wes Craven film. horror. fear. terror. we are not alone in the world. there are many foundations and organizations out there. Soul Widows was what i needed. i needed a candle for my husband and our love. i needed Elizabeth and her gift that allowed me to come. i needed the Clown of God to push me over the wall i had built so that i could laugh without restraint. i needed to meet the Goddess Diana to see the passion for justice and know that it is right to fight for yourself and damn the world for setting it up that way. i needed to meet the Ceramic Storyteller so that i could share my own history of the Angel Cards and how i used them with my own children during bad times, and to listen to her and validate her fierce mother's heart. i needed the Disciple of Grace to steadfastly keep reminding me that it is safe to call her Friend. i needed someone like our Fiery Fairy to show me that there are counselors out there, people, women who truly care and have made it their life's work to save us; to find us and save us all if she can. and to meet the Matriarch of Grief and Joy so that i have a hand to reach out to, to see that i will be able to talk and learn, to cry and find strength, and to know that i do not have to stay silent and alone. i now have a tribe of sisters to whom i can call to.


this weekend, Soul Widows showed me a way towards the light. Elizabeth and our Fiery Fairy, the entire tribe helped me see that there is a light out there for me. no, it is not the headlight of the oncoming train. but even if it is, i will not face it alone.

the light for me maybe still be veiled by my stress and grief and worry and anxiety and mourning, but the warmth it offers, the freedom beyond the curtains is worth fighting for.
never give up. "improvise, adapt, overcome." the Marine Corps motto. well, one of them. my Dragon never gave up, even when he was dying. i am not giving up. i never was, but now i know that i will have a tribe to call to when i am on my knees.

my love for my Dragon is set in stone. i cannot imagine any other standing beside me as i contemplate eternity. he was a powerful life force on Earth and now that his soul is set free, oh, my.....imagine what he is feeling and doing and seeing now that his great love of adventure is free to go wherever. Heaven. the Universe. joining St. Michael the Archangel and his Warrior Gang of Fierce Angels. my Dragon would join them and their fight for us all.
i love him. i love my children. i love my sisters. i love our Fairy and our Matriarch. i had said i would never love again, but when i wrote that in the intensity of my grief i was forgetting that there are many ways to love.

thank you to Elizabeth. thank you to our Fiery Fairy. thank you to our Matriarch of Grief and Joy. thank you to all the women of the tribe who accepted me and thought good things about me, and told me so.


p.s. to all who read, please note, that the colors over the words Soul Widows and Angel Cards are hyperlinks to find the website and to find the cards. the Angel Cards, mostly to make sure our Ceramic Storyteller has it.

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


thelmaz said...

I am so happy for you, that you could let others really know you, that you could share your pain and theirs and that the weekend was all you hoped it to be.

Boo said...

I lapped up every word and photo. Thank you for sharing something so precious to you with us :-)

Very happy for you ... I hope the effects of the weekend remain with you for a long time xxx

womanNshadows said...

thank you both for staying with such a lengthy series, but i did want to do justice to something that gifted me with hope.

peace to you both.

Lonesome Dove said...

Wow! I am so glad I spoke to you this morning and found I had not completed your series. What a wonderful experience for you! I am ecstatic that you found this group and were able to be you, to share you, to feel good about yourself. What a wonderful group of women; your words truly paint the picture of the angels they are and I am so tickled you have connected with honest, caring, soulful widow warriors like yourself. BRAVO!

I have to say that when I read where you received your name from the group and didn't know what to do with the words other than hold them close for a time, the image of the character Lorena from Lonesome Dove flashed into my mind. When Woodrow is taking Gus's coffin back to Texas, he stops to deliver a letter written by Gus to her. She can't read, but doesn't want anyone else to read the letter to her; it doesn't matter; it was from him and that was enough for her. Lorie was a silent, strong-willed, and intimidating woman; much like yourself. I hope you see (and believe) what we all see in you.

Lonesome Dove said...

One more thing; you must explain the wooden sculpture of the dragon in the final picture.

Suzann said...

Oh dearest sister - these posts make me so very happy - so very happy. Thank you for sharing the experience with all of us. Love and more love flies across the miles between us. xoxoxo

Sacred Journeys Hawaii said...

What a great gift you have.
But i still wish for you to have a good spiritual retreat.

Post a Comment