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, May 29, 2010

Dragon in War and Peace ~ Memorial Day 2010

"Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background, the countless minor scenes and interiors of the secession war; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books." ~ Walk Whitman

my Dragon knew war. he is a United States Marine, Force Recon. he is a Marine Scout Sniper and did what his country asked of him. he is not a tall man but then tall men are sometimes handicapped by their height. my Dragon was his team's tunnel rat in Vietnam. armed with a knife and a pistol, he crawled into tunnels underground, into the blackest darkness to face whatever booby traps had been set. he was his team's strategist. he did get most of his men home.

there were a few who did not come home. i have written of them before. my Veteran's Day posting has it, i believe. but then there was his last tour.
of the eight men in the photo above, only one is still alive. my Dragon is fourth from the left. he is gone. the man fifth from the left is still alive. he has become my constant friend, the giver of the stories now.

on his last tour, my Dragon and his fire team were ambushed. they were involved in a terrible firefight. my Dragon carried one of his men across his back to the chopper. he was already dead but my Dragon was not going to leave him behind. the machine gunner on the chopper was killed in front of them. my Dragon got the rest of his badly injured men, the other 4, inside the chopper. he stood on the runner of the chopper laying down 700 rounds a minute with his M-16 to provide cover for them to take off. the NVC were laying down their own rounds that ate up the chopper enough that metal pulled away. my Dragon was impaled on the side and could not get inside the chopper. as it took off, he finished the last of his rounds, and had to stand on the runner outside the chopper all the way to base, over an hour. the scar was one he never spoke of. he sketched out the story of it for me but then his voice would drift off into silence.

it was his friend, my constant friend, who filled in the blank spots.
my Dragon served his country and now he is a name to be remembered in and around the car sales and Macy's Patriot sales on dresses and shoes. along with all the others who have served their country and are now only names on the lips of their grieving loved ones, he is now one of the flags that hopefully jog something in the minds of those hosting barbeques. maybe, when grandpa falls silent, lost in his memories of Vietnam, Korea, or WWII, the children will be told of the respect they should show him and why he is quiet. maybe over their hamburgers and hotdogs and steaks, heads will be bowed for a moment of silence to those who fought for the freedoms they enjoy.

i sound hostile and i do not mean to. i simply see that so many do not know what war costs in terms of the human soul.
my Dragon knew and he honored Veteran's every Memorial Day, really every day. in the mornings of Memorial Day, we would visit the cemetery. afternoons were spent walking the beach and paths all over Cape Ann. sometimes he talked. sometimes he did not talk. when he would fall silent he would just reach for my hand and squeeze it. and i knew. the memories were too much to speak of and i squeezed his hand back to let him know i accepted his silence. i was there for him, with him, always for him.
i love my Dragon and i am proud of who he is and his service to his country. he is my forever love. i will protect his memory as a Marine, as my husband, my friend, my lover, and simply as a man. i will know none better than he.

it has been a very rough few days for me financially and emotionally, but it is sometimes in the darkest most harrowing of times when we get an epiphany. he loves me. if he were here now, he would viciously defend me and protect me. i am his wife and he loved me. he loves me. i was loved. i am loved. however it can be said of someone who has died, i belonged to my Dragon and he belonged to me. i belong to him and he belongs to me.

"Ego dilecto meo et dilectus meus." ~ Song of Solomon 6:3. (i am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.)

i will survive and one day, God willing that i deserve the honor, we will be reunited in Heaven.

for all those who died for our country, and for the loved ones who are in sorrow all through this weekend i leave you with this poem:

"Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more.
Days of danger, mights of waking."
~ Sir Walter Scott

Friday, May 28, 2010

full moon

the moon is full again
and it rises on a soul
that has lost so much will to go on.
i have never needed him more
than i do now.
him being my Dragon.
there is nothing else to say
i can only stare at the moon
and wish for what i can
never have.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baz Luhrmann nailed it

"The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday." ~ Baz Luhrmann

i have been drifting along in open water to where ever the currents take me. i work very hard. i am looking for part-time and/or full-time work but it has been hard for me. i have no vehicle. i take the bus to job interviews, if i get one. i have one pair of pants that i wear over and over to these. mostly i am put in the pile of "when we have an opening we'll revisit your resume."

on top of this, the city is imposing new budget cuts. they are closing 16 branches of the library which puts 200 employees out of work starting June 1st. the rest of the cuts affect the schools and parks and recreation putting another 228 people out of work. also the local county VA is fighting to keep its doors open. it was a place where i was in line for free grief counseling. i need to talk about this depression. i need to talk about my life and what has happened and is happening. that will not be happening now. i am still on my own with this.

and then this morning i get an email from my ex that yanks the choke chain. he is overburdened and deadwood has to be cut. i am deadwood. my children and i are scratching in the dirt. i called the VA told them my situation. they were very sympathetic. the man put in a message up the chain to try and push my application on through. i am altering my resume yet again. i presently have 5 versions of it to fit any and all potential jobs i could apply for. and my daughter is taking me on my next day off to apply for food stamps.

i did get an email from a widow who wants 2 quilts and some sock animals. i am relieved and humbled for that. she is not on Facebook and knows i live in the United States. fortunately, she was not involved in all that, nor does she care about it. she found me through this blog and my creative one that corresponds. and then, in turn, my business site. knowing i have her quilt orders and sock animals coming has not lessened the panic but it has helped me from jumping off the balcony which would serve no purpose as i would only hurt my ankle and make life even more difficult.

right now, i am panicking. we'll figure this out but when you first get the heel of the palm in the chest, you cannot get your breath.

when i was little, i wanted to find love and be married. i wanted to get away from my parents whom i did not feel safe with. i was married for 20 years trying to make it work, trying to stay safe, until i was allowed to be free. then i met my Dragon and i was safe with him. we had food. we had a roof. we took care of my children. we had a hard scrabble existence but we shared in it. he protected me but now he is gone. i am alone and vulnerable and i am so very scared and tired. everything is magnified when you are scared.

i am worried about going to San Diego. correction. terrified. i have no idea what to expect. i know. if you go with goodness in your heart and great expectations, then you will receive it. i have tried that and it can so quickly turn at the drop of a word. what frame of mind do i adopt? are any of the people who emailed going? i am keeping as low a profile on FB as i can and yet still be part of the Cloud Project, still talk to my son through the chat thing, and my constant friend. back when this was all going on i allowed him to network in to my computer and check my emails for a while. if the names coincided with people on my list of friends, he left them alone. the ones that came through from outside, he opened and read. he would speak of them to me before deleting without my having to face the venom. there were 3 that were vicious, bordering on bad enough that he sent them along to whoever is in charge of Cyber Bad Stuff. i do not know the government initials that handles that nor what was contained in the letters. he patiently took on this drama over for me and he put a stop to it. he no longer networks in. my Dragon would be happy that i had this buffer because to tell you, i did not know how to handle it. and facing it was too much with everything else i worry about.

i am working very hard for Camp Widow. i am sewing constantly. well, not at this moment, but i do have to take breaks. the arthritis gloves get hot and my hands get stiff. i have been blessed with being given a booth or table, however it is laid out, in San Diego and i will set up and sit and wait and see what happens. but after all that happened, i do not know what to expect. how will it go? do these people travel in packs like piranha? these are rhetorical questions that there are no answers to. it will either be okay, or it will not. no one can anticipate what people will do. slammed and slammed again, i have no idea but i will be ready for anything. the tension of it is bringing me down though. one local widow here who knew about all this asked me if i was going with my suit of armor. i joked back that my chain mail was all ready, but the reality is i do not have any armor. my Dragon was my armor. and i was his. but he is gone and i am as unsafe as i have ever been; as unsafe as i was living with my parents, and as unsafe as i was for 20 years. i wish my Dragon had not had to leave me.

i need something to start breaking for me. it has been a long life and i am so tired. i am so scared. this is all on me, me and my children. they are making me so proud and so grateful coming together as they have today to work on this.

it's funny. growing up i never ever dreamed big. all i ever wanted was to love and be loved. i wanted a little home and a family. i never wanted the fancy place in a fancy neighborhood with lots of money and a high social profile. i wanted a studio to work in, to be together and deal with life as it came, but always together. when my Dragon and i found each other, i could see us getting old together. that is not going to happen anymore but i feel i have aged 20 years.

and now today. the email that i never thought would come has arrived. dear, God, even after all this time, after all that's happened to me, and after all the penance i have done, all that will ever happen for me is to continue to crawl through this life.

i am trying to figure out how to disable the comments because there really is nothing anyone can say. hopefully i can i do it. or i will fail and it will be open. i do not know. i only wrote this to be found, much like Lt. Cap. Dimitri Kolesnikov's message to his wife before he died in the Russian sub, the Kursk. he knew he would never see an answer to his letter just as i know there is no answer to what is happening in my life. it is more about knowing that someone may read it, and maybe think about who was here, and what happened. it is more about using the freedom to write from the darkest fear and loneliness, and to break the silence that either death can impose or the hardships that come our way to change even the way with breathe.

there is no reason for reaching out to people who may or may not be there, or who may or may not care, but it is one of those things that defines us, and at least to me, proves that each human has a soul. if this life is filled with fear, terror, and pain, then maybe the soul can find true peace after it is freed from the body. i can only hope.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

loose ends

i am at loose ends. see them all? bits and pieces of colored threads are all over me, all over my apartment. i vacuum everyday. and then i sit down to work for about 12 - 15 hours and when i get up to go to bed, there they are. all over me, all over the place.

loose threads.

loose ends. me ~ at loose ends. it's a metaphor.

i feel myself quietly falling apart. or, i fell apart when i saw them coming to me to tell me he had died and i have not, as of yet, put myself together.

my heart is gone. i know i have told you that. i do not feel it anymore. but that's okay because i know where it is. my Dragon has it in his safe keeping. knowing i was not going to be going with him this trip, it was all i had to give. i need my mind, but since he had to leave me, he can have my heart.

i won't be needing it here anymore.

i have settled into depression. it is the kind that there is no pill for. i miss him. i love him. i wish he were here for me to talk to. i would even settle for talking to him on a sat phone if only i could know that he was somewhere on the planet. his voice did such lovely, warm things to my insides.

i look at his urn and i cannot believe he is inside there. he is larger than life, a myth come to life. how can he be reduced to that?
but it is his soul that is larger than life. his soul that filled the room, filled my heart, my life, my whole world. and his soul is not in there; just the part of him that i could hug.

i still cry at the drop of a hat. the tears are not going away. i drink green tea and V8 all day to keep me hydrated. i do not know what to do with myself. i feel listless. i feel empty.

i feel like my soul is gone from me. it is off out there somewhere aching, crying, calling for its mate. i still have to be here and be alive, but my soul at least has the power to grieve properly, wildly, deeply. very Queen Victoria-like.

my whole life has been turned upside down and all the stuffing is rushing to my head. and i am at loose ends without him.
we were going to go out together, "Bicentennial Man"-ish. holding hands. very old. ready to take the next step. together. but someone screwed up the scheduling. he did not get to "grow old along with me." we are not together.

they made him go by himself. and i would like proof from an angel that he's okay. okay?


hello, God?

i'm at loose ends here.

okay, well, You're busy. but at least note that in all my prayers through the day, i ask to be reunited with him, on Your timetable, of course. i am not pressuring You, just begging. i do not want to make You mad.

please. he needs me and i need him.

marriage is a sacrament and he and i took our sacrament very seriously.

and love is the most powerful force in the universe, and can conquer time. "faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

and i love him with all my heart and soul.

so, is that a yes?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

my Dragon ~ Chinese verses Revelations

i read at night when i cannot sleep. i have been doing some reading about Heaven and hell and, in due course, have gotten to Revelations. here is where the references of the dragon as symbolic of evil got to me. My Dragon is not that dragon and i wanted to write this out for my own sake, for the sake of communicating the kind of person he is.

he was born in 1952, which is the year of the Dragon on the Chinese calendar. he is half Russian, ¼ Sioux, and ¼ Inuit. his father was in the Air Force and so they lived all over the world. he is very self-confident, bordering on a little arrogant, but in a good way. the fun way. he loved my teasing him about his being so sure.

my Dragon was drafted in 1969. back then when you were drafted you had a choice of which branch you could enter. if you did not choose you went into the Army. my Dragon chose the Marine Corps because the Marines signed you up for 4 years rather than the Army’s 6 and my Dragon wanted to get back to college. he had only just completed his freshman year. his first tour in Vietnam was in 1970. it was still a bad time in that particular “conflict” and he had become part of an experimental unit. he went on two more tours in Vietnam, his second being when he earned the nickname Dragon. in the jargon of the military, it had been a “bad day” but my Dragon had stayed on his feet, fought fiercely, and gotten all four of his men back, shot up some but none of them died out there that time. there’s more to the story so accept that he earned his name. Dragon.

it was Vietnam and therefore under the influence of Oriental philosophy, mostly Chinese. the men chose that influence for my husband’s nickname; not Bible scripture, nothing Satanic was intended. his nickname comes from the Celestial Chinese Dragon, which is referred to as the mythical creature that brings prosperity, good fortune and abundance to the Chinese people.

the Chinese Dragon is benevolent and signifies greatness, goodness, and blessings. it also represents power, boldness, heroism, perseverance, nobility and divinity. it is Western Dragons that have the negative connotations. Eastern Dragons are beautiful, friendly, and wise. they are sometimes called the angels of the Orient. many Chinese cities have pagodas where people burn incense and pray to dragons with special services taking place there on the 1st and 15th of every month. the thing that made me smile when i looked all this up is that most of the Dragon shrines and altars are usually along the seashore and riverbanks because it is believed that Eastern Dragons live in water.

the Chinese Dragon is seen as the symbol of divine protection and vigilance and regarded as the Supreme Being amongst all creatures. it has the ability to live in the sea, fly up to the heavens and coil up on the land in the form of mountains. it wards off evil spirits and protects the innocent.

there was a lot more in the books i checked out of the library but i wanted to clarify who my Dragon is. in my reading of the Bible, i was getting tense when reading Revelations. that is not the reference that should be linked to my Dragon.

my husband is honest, good, kind, and did his duty to his country. he risked his life over and over to protect innocence. it is true that he killed men but it was war; every time it was because of war, conflict, enforcement of the law, etc. however i can describe it.

my Dragon is a rescuer of puppies who get caught around trees and rocks.

he has a great sense of fun and adventure.

i love his legs, his hands, his shoulders, his beard, his expressions, his lips, did i mention that i think he is so very handsome?

he put up with me and that is asking a lot of a man.

he is fearless, always was.

i simply wanted to clarify who my Dragon is for anyone who may correlate the nickname Dragon with something evil. my husband is not evil. he is the best man i will ever know. i love him so very much, more than i could ever help anyone understand or believe.

my Dragon is not perfect but he is mine. i would marry him all over again and forever link my soul with his. he is strong and right now, here in this world by myself, i really need to draw on the strength that he had. i need to hold his smile close in my mind and put the love we had in that hole where my heart used to be.

of note, when i type my thoughts out, i do type of him in the past tense, and then i proofread and stop at each verb and change them all to present tense. because i hold the belief that we do not change simply because we die. we are the same there as we are/were here.

i love my Dragon. i love him for all the goodness that he is (was) (had) inside him. i love his handsomeness on the outside. i love his intelligence that was inspiring and challenging. i love his sense of humor. i love who he is, was, and would have been as we got old and decrepit.

he promised me he would chase me down the hall to our bedroom via the help of his walker. i look at my photos of him and wish we had been given the chance. i thank God i had what i had with him. i pray about when we are reunited, womanNshadows and her Dragon ~ the good Dragon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

open water and the Dragon over the setting sun

i miss my husband. today it is acting upon me physically and emotionally, causing me a pain that is pulling me down below the surface of this grief.

all around me life is going on while i feel like i am drifting out in open water. i am exposed and alone being carried along on a current that i have no idea where it is taking me. that's what it feels like when i read about how others are still grieving but so very busy, about the changes they are enacting in their lives because they have control over their own lives, and about how some are making a difference in the lives of others. then i examine what i have accomplished and see that my little business that i am struggling to get off the ground is doing nothing to change anyone's world. there is no impact that i can see. my Memory Quilts, all the things i sew and embroider do nothing for anyone. my art is just that,it is mine. it has no impact. i do not think it will leave any legacy at all. at least that is what it feels like today while these waves lift me so high up and the drop me down hard and fast in a trough so deep that i cannot see the sky. i cannot see what i am worth. i am still floating along but i cannot lift my head nor see anything but such sorrow right now.

i am worth a lot to my children and i am blessed with them. i also remember how it felt to be loved by my Dragon, and how alive i felt with him. now i only have the memories of how it felt. he gave me such a deep and beautiful love and i never took it for granted. i love him so much and we communicated that to each other daily. he is a force of nature and now that he is gone, it is like all the air was sucked out of the world, out of my world, and i am faltering. why did he have to go? why was he taken away from me? i am the one who has nothing to offer the world. i am the weak one. all i am and have is my love for my Dragon. why wasn't it me?

last night's sky gave the gift of the most beautiful sunset. the clouds gathered around the sun as it was making way for the moon, now waxing towards the 28th. i went and took pictures for an online community i joined: Clouds 365. it is something i can do now. i take photos of the clouds and upload them, and sometimes people say nice things, only nice things. no one has been mean yet.

i was very lonely last night for no particular reason. i miss him. the sky was beautiful and i wanted someone to share it with. i wanted him.

and there he was. strung out across the sky over the top of the setting sun. he was resting his chin on a cloud. my Dragon.

i wish i felt better. i keep working and feigning a smile on Mondays when i get to go out. i keep thinking any day now i will start to feel better. any day now the VA will come through. any day now someone will call and ask, "how are you? would you like a visit? i'd love to see you."

i wish i could find a way to make a difference some how so that i can be seen again. i would like to leave something behind so i might be remembered by at least one other person beyond my two children. if i died today my funeral would be an Eleanor Rigby affair.

i had thought i could make a mark with my sewing, my Memory quilts, and all the other things i can make but i am not sure anymore. that whole Facebook/confusion/smack-down showed me how quickly i can be the lowest common denominator and i have not come back from that yet. i second guess everything. on top of the dentist thing and facing the imagined fears of being a wraith in San Diego in August, i am in a bad place these days. my daughter and i are talking about it all and she is just as confused as i am about things but she is angry that people have been so cavalier with my feelings while i am just hurt about it. but whereas she wants to try to fix it, i am too tired to try. sometimes people, like things, get too broken to bother. i have patched myself and glued myself together so many times over my life that it should be routine. but since i see there is no one to whom it would really matter, and my children know that i am scarred, what is the point?

i miss him. i wish i had him to talk to. i wish i had him to laugh with. no matter how rough it got in our lives, there was love. we had each other. he would touch me. he would hold my hand. i would caress his face, touch his beard. i would massage his shoulders and his back. we nurtured each other and cared for each other in tangible and intangible ways all day every day. we loved being together. every moment was a blessing.

i miss being in his arms. i miss being liked, and loved. i miss my Dragon.

the heavy blanket of clouds is parting this afternoon. maybe there will be another Dragon in the sky this evening, warming himself over the setting sun. if not, then at least the moon is waxing.

and i will have a perfect view of both out here in open water.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Marine Corps ~ Force Recon

yesterday was my Monday with my daughter. i took my poor tired camera with me because the clouds were so interesting. i saw an E cloud and i took this photograph. E is the first letter in my daughter's name. i told her God made the cloud for her. she rolled her eyes. but she did laugh. and that's all i wanted.
so day became night and it was okay. i was okay. i had gotten up and worked until she was ready to come get me. we took me to get quilt batting and then on to Wal-Mart for groceries. i was going fine. we talked about my Dragon and it was good. i got home and put the groceries away then got back to work.

and i was fine. until a show came on at 10 pm and i was riveted. "The Marines." it was an hour and a half long show of the making of a Marine. from boot camp, through officers training, some sniper training though they did not show a lot of it, and speciality combat training.

my Dragon was a Marine Force Recon. he was part of the 1st Force Recon in Vietnam doing 3 tours. after that he did so much more for his country. he did HALO dives in the dead of night. he taught hand-to-hand combat. he was sent out on missions, decades of service to this country. he led sort of a secret life, one i would love to speak to. but promises are promises. i will keep mine to him and let his secrets die with me.

Memorial Day is coming. to him and i it was more than lawn day, or having a cook-out, or even a parade that meant nothing more than parents' had to get their children dropped off by their band or their scout troop. it meant so much more.

my Dragon is a realist but he also embodies the idealism that i have seen in every Marine i have ever had the honor to meet. he believes in God, Country, Corps. he knew the history of the Corps, the battles fought, the strategies used, and never wanted to let that legacy down. he did not let his beloved Corps down. nor his country.
i talk about his stories. i wrote that they are being continued and fleshed out by my constant friend. i never thought i would get to have more of his stories when he died. i cannot thank you, my constant friend, enough for the lift to my spirits. i do need it. it is a crutch i know but without him, i feel like i am spiritually crippled. he is everything to me.

i watched the Marine program. i thought to myself, he stood on those yellow footsteps. he went through the Crucible. he spent 3 tours in Vietnam. he is a sniper. he excelled at all the training he received and kept true to the warrior ethos of the Marine Corps.

i miss him so much. i cried until i feel asleep. it got to the point where i ran out of tears but my body kept heaving with these deep sobs. i miss him. after being with him, everything is pale in comparison. he is my husband. he is my Dragon. he is my Marine and i am so proud of him. i dread another Memorial Day without him. i dread today without him.

i have no idea how to be happy yet. i am only happy thinking of and talking about him and even in that it is bittersweet because he is no longer here.

the 31st is Memorial Day. the full moon will be 3 days passed. it's fitting.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

lost soul

i feel like a lost soul these days. because of circumstances, i exist in a very limited way and space that makes me feel like a wraith in my own life. i wake. i work. i sleep. i do not go out. i am taken to the grocery store, for work supplies, and the used bookstore. then back. mondays allows me 3 – 4 hours out and away. clerks see me because they are the ones who finish the transaction i initiate by bringing what i would like to purchase to their counter.

i am lonely. would i like a woman friend, a peer to talk to about woman things? yes. it is hard here. i think the drawback of befriending me might be my lower financial situation, my lack of having a car which makes my company a burden, and my having come into already established lives that are flush with friends and extended families. i can only bring me to a friendship and so far i see that i am not enough.

my phone has rung twice since before Christmas that it was not my son or daughter. there are not many from anyone i have met here who check to see if i am okay and i have stopped calling. it feels too much like i am begging. it breaks my self-esteem. i did it for the first 11 months after i met a few widows but i was continually put off due to their busy lives. it lead to few of my calls being returned to none. like the song says, “I can’t make your heart feel something it won’t.”

i did get one “curiosity” call about my issues with the dentist. i said “hello” and the woman immediately advised me on what i should be doing, explaining that i was a fool to go back. she closed with, “See, you get phone calls. I just called.” the dial tone prevented even my chance to say “thank you,” and “goodbye.”

i do have a constant friend, that’s what i call him, my constant friend. he is my pen pal if one can be called such a thing when communicating solely on the computer. he is my husband’s Marine “brother.” i want him to know i am most grateful to him. one, he tells me stories about my Dragon which adds to the painting i had started in my head. two, he talks to me and has yet to find fault with me.

the stories. i seriously wish my husband’s friend had come for a visit. i would have plied them with alcohol and then taped them reminiscing about all their “adventures.” i would have been allowed such a legacy in that tape. two men whose lives were spent serving their country in places like Vietnam, Angola, Beirut, and Afghanistan, dancing on the tip of the iceberg. they have so many stories, both separately and together. some are wildly funny. some are just wild. listening when my Dragon told me things, i was always studying his body language to make sure he was okay during the telling. listening to my constant friend, i can continue my visions and empathy of what my Dragon and he went through. i can sense the fear they sometimes dealt with as well as the adrenalin rush. i can close my eyes in wonder at what these men were asked to do. most of all, i am continuing to learn what my Dragon and my constant friend live with.

i miss my Dragon. as each day passes, each week, i miss him more and more and yet, oddly, i am becoming more accustomed to feeling this way. it is not any easier. i am doing what has to be done to continue. I am adapting.

i am lonely for him. i miss the thrill i got when he smiled at me. i miss flirting with him. i miss his presence. i miss his words, his brooding, his nightmares, his laughter, and his breathing next to me in bed. i miss his warmth and his love. i miss his legs, arms, hands, mouth, and his eyes looking at me.

i wish he had not died. i sometimes want to go back to where we lived so much that it breaks me. i wonder if i could find peace back there. it was more a small village than a town. people knew us, they knew me and liked me. it was okay to be exactly the person i am. like my Dragon, they saw me, listened if i spoke, and liked what i made. i wonder if i had had the wherewithal to stay, if my grief would have been more poignant and less stressful as i settled in to wait to be with him rather than being here with this lonely gut-wrenching pain and not having anyone to talk about him with. the pull to go back to the cove is so strong inside me but is also one that, even with all the money in the world, would be impossible to fulfill. i cannot explain. the pain is so great that taking the time to explain would send me to bed. accept that it is beyond my reach. to quote another song, “you can spend your whole life working for something just to have it taken away.”

it was all taken away. it is for everyone who loses their spouse. i am not worse off than anyone else. i am simply trying to find a way to be heard. i am saying it was the same for me. here is the only place where i may try to express what i am feeling with any hope that someone will hear me.

when my Dragon died, i did not ask for any of my love to come back to me. i do not want it back. it belongs to him. i gave it all to him a long time ago. but i also lost my place in this life. i lost people seeing me, realizing i hurt as well. i lost our location. i lost our cove, our small slice of the ocean, our island, and all our dreams.

i lost the love of my life, the one i am meant to be with. it was sudden and he went quick. i did not get any last words. i wish i had. just to hear his voice again. once more.

sometimes, when i first wake up, or in the early afternoon with there are still hours and hours of living still yet to face in the day; i can get tricked into believing he is not really gone from me for the rest of my life. for a second i sometimes think that he should be back from his errand. but then i look out the window, not at the ocean, but at asphalt, and i remember.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bunny is Mad as Hell

Bunny, that would be me, is finally pissed. yes, i said the P word. i do not like to type crude or negative 4-letter words because simply, there are better words to convey these thoughts, but i, that would be our soft-spoken, submissive-most-all-the-time Bunny, is pissed as hell.

see that face? can a Bunny look any more angry? i do not think so. grrrrrrrrrrr.
i am telling this in 3rd person to deal with it from a detached point of view. Bunny is the strong one. Bunny belongs to the Dragon. not me. not yet. i need to come back from all the put downs of late. it has been a long, long few weeks here. very long.

Bunny had gone to a dentist less than 7 months ago. he did his dentist thing. he took x-rays. he poked and prodded. his decision was to build up the tooth. the night of April 27th i ate a nacho. yes, Bunny made nachos for supper. she was running out of food and got creative. Doritos and grated cheese melted on top for supper. she bit into the chip and BAM, or i guess she should say, "CRACK" or whatever word can bring the image of a tooth splitting vertically up into her gum. sharp pain. spitting blood. (sorry for being graphic) worry about what had happened. Bunny's daughter made an emergency stop over after work and, yes, the tooth was split. it was confirmed so Bunny called the dentist emergency line and left a message to be called first thing in the morning.

Bunny called at 10 AM and in a quiet tone of voice, respectful and polite, asked if the doctor had gotten her message. the receptionist was snippy and said, "Oh, yes, i have your message. i give them to him at noon." Bunny was diplomatic and explained AGAIN that she felt it was an emergency and wanted an appointment. she was given a time and her daughter took off work.

when they arrived the snippy receptionist said, "oh, i meant to tell you that the appointment was for Monday. the doctor wants to take the afternoon off. it's such a pretty day and you were the only appointment after lunch."

Bunny has cotton in her mouth because the broken tooth keeps rubbing the gum and bleeding and the snippy receptionist wants her to wait 4 more days? no way. Bunny got teary. Bunny had not eaten anything since the tooth broke. the doctor was still there. Bunny wanted to see him. she was hurting. she was bleeding, for gosh sakes. the doctor saw her and the blood and decided to see her. sadly as a statement to her character, Bunny graciously thanked the dentist. her daughter was, however, was furious, but held her tongue, too. the dentist had Bunny sit down then he reached in with a tool and yanked the broken part out. he did not deaden it. he was in a hurry. then he said, "needs a crown. see you Monday." and he left her and her daughter. the nurse booked the appointment saying it would be for a crown and take 2 hours. she also said to eat soft foods only on the other side of the mouth.

so on April 26th, Bunny is dropped off and suddenly it is SURGERY. 9 shots of Novocaine and 12 stitches later Bunny is shaking like a leaf. she hurts. she's in shock. no one had said surgery to her. they had said, "crown." she did not know she would have oral surgery. Bunny had a crown done before. there was no surgery then. the dentist said, "well, i guess i should have explained that there's more to it." so he explained to Bunny and her angry daughter who had come to pick up her mom.

one month and Bunny would be as right as rain. the gum would heal. once a week checks. the fourth week and Bunny would have her crown.

the next appointment was May 3rd. stitches did not come out. he said it still looked inflamed and maybe it needed more healing than he had anticipated. an appointment for May 10th is set for the stitches to come out. "oh and by the way, don't eat on that side, very soft foods only, no peanut butter or anything sticky, for 3 MONTHS." then Bunny gets her crown.

Bunny and her daughter are in shock. 3 months? he guesses he should have explained it better last week. no kidding. three months of eating like her jaw is wired shut takes planning and budgeting Bunny's stipend of money. he said that Bunny needs 3 months for the gum to heal. during the surgery he had had to sand the bone where the tooth had actually gouged it.

this is where Bunny's daughter has to step in and ask, "this is a tooth you worked on 6 months ago. it was taken out by a soggy nacho chip. she wasn't gnawing the marrow out of a bone. it was a limp, cheesy chip and it totally destroyed your work of 6 months ago. you are charging us over $1700 for this. you don't guarantee your work. and every time we come your snippy receptionist out tells us she booked the wrong time and could we go away. but we're here and we're seeing you. first it was a crown. then it became surgery and one month. now it's 3 f*cking months." (Bunny's daughter was really angry and yes, she cussed like a sailor on first dog watch on a hot day at the equator while stuck in the doldrums.)

the dentist smiles and says, "sorry."

what is Bunny and her daughter to do? he has us. we need this done.

so Bunny is all set for the stitches to be removed on May 10th. NOT. okay, not exactly not. the nurse took out the stitches since the doctor was NOT there AGAIN. she could not give an evaluation of the healing progress but his notes had read, "stitches out" so she took them out. no real post-op instructions could be given. and why was he gone? his NEW OFFICE needed his attention.

"WHAT NEW OFFICE?" Bunny and her daughter were stunned. "he'll get back to you."

"is it a secret?"

Bunny and her daughter whose anger has reached incendiary were told to leave. since the doctor was gone the office was shutting down for the day. the next appointment to see "if the removal of the stitches went okay and if any healing progress has been made" is May 24th. Monday is Bunny's daughter's only day off. the snippy receptionist now acts like she is judging us. she said that there were "other days available but if Monday is all YOU PEOPLE can do then it has to be the 24th." the snippy receptionist with the judgement affliction told Bunny that her continued healing was up to her. "entirely up to you," and that if Mondays was the only day she could get a ride to the office then, how well and how fast she healed was entirely up to her.

Bunny and her daughter called and left messages for the dentist to answer some health questions. they called on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and today. he did not return the calls. his snippy receptionist with the judgment affliction told Bunny's daughter, "i emailed him once. he has the message. he will call when he takes the time. you chose your next appointment time. i am not bothering him with this. "

all through this, Bunny has been quiet. she has been a good girl. she has cooperated. she does not like confrontation. but Bunny's daughter has borne the brunt of the snippy receptionist with the judgement affliction's very sharp tongue for the last time. Bunny is mad as hell. Bunny dashed off a terse email to every email address in the dentist office with bulleted text of facts as they played out. Bunny wants answers. she also copied her ex and her daughter. Bunny's ex-husband passed along his own email to the dentist succinctly saying that the doctor needs to answer the questions. and oh my gosh what happened? the dentist emails us back.

get this. he's sorry. he has a migraine today and is flying out to LA to learn to be an orthodontist. he will email the answers tomorrow but that Bunny "should be fine." oh, and the address for the new office is below his signature.

i weep for the state of the world.


i am Bunny and Bunny is me. my stuffed rabbit has a much softer and cuter face than i. i look more like the troll below so i use the stuffed rabbit. but i have to be honest. i look more like the troll. my blonde hair has some silver threads now. i have some worry lines. i cry. i am sad. i am tired, so very tired. i work all the time. when i "knock off," i do hand work in my lap.

i will admit that i would like someone to think of me for one moment. i want someone to think that maybe i have feelings and that a broken tooth can cause pain. what ever happened to "first do no harm?"
i wish my Dragon were here. he has a presence that few ever challenged. his voice could be so deep and cold. he exuded authority. once i fell and broke my hand. the ER doctor who splinted it said so. he pointed to it on the x-ray. two days later at the orthopedic doctor's office, he said he did not think it was broken, that had maybe asked for the splint. he winked at my Dragon and said, "women." my Dragon did not smile. the doctor grabbed my hand in his and forced my fingers into a fist. the snap of my bone was very audible. i felt faint from the pain. i did throw up immediately. the nurse in the room was horrified. my Dragon reached over and grabbed the doctor by his tie and said, "if you have a partner, get him in here now because you are not touching my wife again." when the doctor tried to leave, my Dragon said, "no, call him. yell, text, cell phone. whatever, but get him in here to see what you did to my wife."

you can't pay for that kind of protection. well, you can but it costs. my ex never stood up for me that way and never stood by me. never. when we lost our first child, he left me alone to go sailing with his friends. his remark of "we'll have another" clubbed me in the backs of my knees. so no, you cannot always trust that you will get the kind of love, loyalty, and protection that my Dragon gave me. and this dentist and his snippy receptionist with the judgement affliction are reminding me of what i lost.

i lost my fierce Dragon who stood between me and all that was unholy. if a woman cannot get it done, it will take a man. and i wish it were my Dragon. that dentist would not be acting this way if my Dragon were here. the dentist wears a tie. when i listen to his chipmunk voice i dream of a Dragon's hand cinching that tie a little tighter.

i am drowning here in anger and stress and worry. how do i stop drowning? everyone needs to get their frickin' feet off my head. i have apologized my whole life for things - stupid things, things that were not my fault, even for my feelings. i should be allowed my feelings. i am allowed to be alive - as much alive as i can be while wanting and needing and missing my Dragon as i am. damn-it. now i'm crying.

i want him back. i need him. i think i need to call in the Marines on this one. it's going to be a long 3 months.

i am not proofreading this one for anyone. i am too tired. my damn tooth hurts too much. i do not give a flip anymore. too many people have mistaken my quiet, non-confrontational personality as a door mat. i am tired of being walked on and told i am wrong, being treated as unimportant, and told that i do not have a right to say what i feel. i have apologized for living too often. i have rights, too. i am mad as hell. they were rude to my daughter so now there's going to be hell to pay.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bunny at 15 months out

it is 15 months today. it is just after 9 AM and i am weary. i keep thinking of the Saracen Tower escape. i realize there are as many options as i have an imagination out there waiting yet financially the wherewithal is as limited as a choice of one. pick a card and there is only one in the hand that offers. so i pick, uh, that one. thank you. no, seriously, thank you. i am grateful to have the apartment. in 10 weeks when i am allowed to eat regularly i believe it will be better. hunger and pain do are not easy to live with for 3 months but there is that light at the end of the tunnel the last week in July. some do not have the knowledge of a light.

i am hopeful that if and when the VA determines what my husband's time spent as a Marine is worth, i can make a couple of changes. it is a dream and all i have at the moment. i can make it enough.

for now, i have my Saracen Tower fantasy to serve me until reality forces itself on me. so here she is in all her silence. Beach Bunny making a break for it in her mind. inside our minds is all we have. we can be beaten. we can be broken. we can be made to serve. but no one can take our minds ~ unless sodium pentathol is involved and then it is all up in the air. {parenthetically speaking - my Dragon knew how to beat it. it comes with on the job training. the man had his stories. i really miss that side of him.}

dreaming of the Saracen Tower that is for sale, Bunny stares at her photos of it, of the little village that sits quietly in the valley carved out so long ago. she has her fantasies of living there in an "Under the Tuscan Sun" vision. guess it would be "Under the French Sun" which does not flow off the tongue as nicely but it is where the Tower is located.

she sees the lovely village and imagines all sorts of eccentric souls living there who would be her friends. open air markets, cobblestone avenues, smiling people who would take the time to know her and who would be happy to see her. and Bunny would sew for them and take pictures, maybe make stained glass for the church or for little restaurants there. she would carve wood for them into scenes that try to capture the ephemeral beauty of living in such a place.

so many fragile silk threads that weave together to create a full fantasy. Bunny has the silk thread. Bunny knows how to weave. she does it all by hand, and in the creative part of her mind.

Bunny would love to meet the ironwork artist who created the massive gate that protects the Tower's entrance. the large, round stone that is encircled by an iron arm makes Bunny think of things that have no beginning and no end, like her love for her Dragon. Bunny thinks the artist would understand this because no one can create such tender beauty from such an unforgiving medium without understanding love.

Bunny stares wistfully at the kitchen 3 stories off the ground. she knows how much her Dragon would have loved to cook in such a kitchen. he loved cooking and Bunny loved watching him. spices and herbs were his speciality. Bunny's speciality was growing them. she imagines Dragon calling down to her from 3 stories up while she is in her garden. "oregano, and some thyme. and parsley. you love parsley. bring some of that up, too, my love." Bunny would never have taken for granted the peace of their little world there in the Tower.

the bedroom is at the highest level of the tower and Bunny imagines the view out the window. if she could live there with her Dragon, the 875 year old stone walls would feel the deep love and enormous peace that emanated from them as they loved then slept there in a tangle of arms and legs. as life played out, Bunny knows she would set up her computer in this highest room to write her books. she would gaze out at the mountains and the village for inspiration. up this high, Bunny is closer to Heaven. and her Dragon.

today Bunny's Dragon has been in Heaven for 15 months. that is a long time for her. not as long as for some nor as long as it will be for Bunny. it is longer than others at this point and Bunny feels sorrow for their grief. Bunny does not compare or contrast. grief is what it is.

what Bunny does do is live in her head. it is where her memories of her beloved Dragon are. it is where she centers herself to try and find peace. it is where all her creativity comes from. Bunny protects her mind. it is pretty much all she has left since she gave her heart to her Dragon so he has something to remember her by while they are apart.

Bunny lives in a kind of tower as it were. she looks for friends. she has few options but she has not given up. Bunny is constantly on the look out for friends. she tries very hard. she has gotten her hands slapped but Bunny has been hit before. stinging is not the same thing as hurting.

so, until Bunny can find a friend, or a friend finds Bunny, she has her little Saracen Tower fantasy. she lives there when life is hard to face. she smiles there when there is nothing to smile about. Bunny does imagine living there with her Dragon, but even in her fantasies, she can quazi-face the reality that he has died and flown to Heaven. so Bunny brings him to the Saracen Tower with her. she keeps her Dragon safe inside her mind. her love for him is active. she cannot control her love. see, Dragon was that cool. a one-of-a-kind sort of man for Bunny. the only Dragon Bunny wants. like the Highlander says, "there can be only one."
i love you, Dragon. i miss you. you are my dream and my fantasy. all i have to do is close my eyes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

only in my mind....

i read somewhere that only in our minds are we truly free. that is where i have always gone to find release from the life i was having to deal with. it is where i go now when i am faced with awful things that i can do nothing about.

it is worthy of note that i never had to close my eyes and fantasize about being free when i was with him.

two weeks ago my tooth split vertically up into the gum. the dentist said it was one he had worked on less than 6 months ago. he is charging me $1745 for a crown. that's what he said. we're doing a crown. the quick and ugly turns out that he forgot to tell me i required oral surgery. i found out about the surgery when he started stitching my gum. it is going to take 3 months of eating only jello, pasta, soups, oatmeal, and a few other very soft foods cut into small bites eaten on the other side of my mouth before i will be healed enough to be given a crown. he promised i would have it the week before Camp Widow. so i can eat, he said.

it's been hard. i've been very hungry even after i eat because i cannot eat a complete meal. my jaw gets tired.

i make quilts out of clothes of people who have died. a woman put a link to the Facebook photo album of my work to try and help me. her brief words were gracious. unfortunately i have been deluged with messages from women who think i am "feeding off the dead." that i am "profiting from people who are deeply grieving." that i should "teach how to do this at Camp Widow so people don't have to trust you." that i should "make them like that rag quilt place does - just some squares so you don't have to charge as much as you do."

somewhere along this wretched path people have gotten the idea i am from Nigeria or currently living in Nigeria. i can assure you that i live in the United States.

the messages that i have gotten have ranged from coercive to my teaching so i do not "bilk the bereaved" to hateful and saying i will surely go to Hell. i have done what my infuriated children and my husband's friend have said i should do. delete them all.

and i have. but the feeling of being whittled away lasts. like that awful thing said and one hopes no one heard, but then the echo comes around and you've heard it again. how many people have chatted each other up and condemned me for trying to make a living? yes, i charge for the quilts. the most largest and most expensive one i did was 9 feet by 10.5 feet. it had several - several - embroidered sentences and two hoodies for the little girl to be able to wear. i charged over $700 but under $800. i had only two and a half months to do it in. she had a special deadline. i worked upwards of 16 hours a day and met the deadline. i made $2.40 an hour.

i am crushed. there is nothing i can do. i have to keep my head up and try and remember that the people who have their quilts did not feel over-charged. i believe they really like their quilts. i think they do. no one has asked for their money back.

so i guess that leaves me with living inside my mind when i feel this hurt which is most of the time right now. i know it will pass. it will all go away and i will be forgotten which is not as pleasing as it sounds since i need word of mouth to let people know i am here and can make the quilts. tangible solace. or so i thought. it never occurred to me i could be viewed as a vulture.

maybe i should change my brochures. add a tag line.
Quilts and other Textile Art
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

it is the middle of the afternoon. i have had lunch. i had a grilled cheese cut into very small pieces. i am hungry again. or still. i can't tell anymore. i posted a response to the letters on my Facebook page. some people have put up some nice comments. i made sure i thanked them.

i am going to get an iced tea and maybe try to eat some goldfish crackers. if you leave them on your tongue they get soft. then i am going back to work on a quilt.

so i guess things are fine here for me, a profiteer of death living in Nigeria.

while i sew i think i'll disappear into my mind. it's the only place where everything works out. it is the only place where i am wild and free.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

old photos

my dearest Dragon, my lovely soul,

it's another Sunday. in one week and 14 hours, you will have been gone from me for 15 months. and i feel it. in my mind, on my skin, in my lungs, and where my heart used to be.

i still cry. often. i do not know if that's okay or normal, or if i am stagnating here at the realization that i am living without you. i would look at you, and at time, my love, i would never think it possible. i took so many pictures of you. from behind you all sneaky and making you pose for me. you never got used to my taking pictures. you never thought i would run out.

but 14 months and 3 weeks ago i stopped being allowed to take your picture. and no, i do not have enough. what happens when i run out of pictures of you to fiddle with and post?

you are cute. you are handsome. funny. adventurous. daring. charming. dangerous. trustworthy. mine. and i am yours.

i sulk sometimes. i know it is wrong. but when i think of the home we were planning on buying, on all our dreams that ceased to be the moment you died, it cuts me in half. our lovely old fort at the end of the Neck - we are not there. i miss us. i miss the ocean. i miss our walks. our island. the gulls. taking your picture. i miss you.
i miss your laugh. where do i go from here now that you have had to go so far ahead of me. you are out of sight but not out of mind. Lord, help me i think of you and wish things had been different. i wish you were here with me. not even in our dream house, just here with me. i am so lonely. it is often a physical pain and my only recourse is to write, or to close my eyes and fantasize of you, or go find the moon.

your serious face. i zoomed from the other room. you were reading contracts and being all working and focused and thinking. i love you mustache and beard. i miss touching them. i miss your eyes, the intensity and the joy. you have such powerful emotions. you were so articulate but your eyes, even more so.

i talk to you even though i will never hear your voice again. i tell you everything, still. this happened. i felt like that about whatever. all the little things that make up a day i still share with you. like today. that woman with the two chihuahuas turned them out again - no leashes. they snarled and circled us. pinned us against a tree. and i had our dogs' leash wrapped awkwardly around my hand. it was tight against my knuckles and when Carmen and Scootie tried to protect me and each other, it crushed my knuckles. hurt really bad. not big deal. iced it and then went back to sewing, but it would not have happened if you were here. you would have reached over and picked her dogs up by the scruff of their necks and probably done something outrageous like head for the trash can. you would never hurt the dogs, but you would have made your point. or you would have our dogs tight in your own solid hand, strong, safe. you would not have gotten pinned against a tree.

just stupid stuff like that that upsets me now that i am alone - now that you aren't here anymore. nothing is horribly wrong but nothing is right, not without you.

i miss our adventures. i miss our walks. it is 2:233 PM here on the east coast. Mass would be long over. we would returned home to have had our usual languid morning together. then lunch and we'd pack up for the afternoon. we'd be on the rocks. the beach. collecting all the miracles that can be found at the ocean's edge. i miss the roar. i miss the gulls. i miss the salty smell. i miss the wind. i miss the utter freedom that comes from being with you.

safe yet wildly exciting. every day was grand. every day was filled with love. even the bad times had the grace of your love and care for me. in all our years together we had two fights. two. and being the man and therefore being wrong, you admitted you were wrong. i am trying for humor but i failed in making myself smile. because i miss you so much.

i miss our life. i miss your love. i miss your being here with me so i could talk to you, tease you, and touch you.

i am running out of pictures that show you in all your worthiness to be put online. the others are either missed shots (that i am keeping regardless) or shots where you have made a funny face and those are for me alone. silly man. playful. fun.

it is hurting so bad to think that these can almost be called "old photos."

you are now free from this life we shared. i wish i could have gone with you. i wish you could have stayed longer. but i do imagine you free and wild, your spirit so joyously happy. i know how adventurous you are. you must be having a glorious time.

i am lonely for you. i need .......... whatever. it does not matter. i cannot have what i want and there is no one to call to come over to talk to me. so i crawl away and get back to work.

two souls separated. one is free. one is earthbound. i pray you remember me. i pray that one day we are together again. off on another adventure.

and i will not need pictures anymore because nothing will separate us ever again.