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, June 28, 2010

in a heartbeat

two things. one, i found a new song that i like. it is not meant to be a sad song. it has a catchy melody. but put in context here, it is a very melancholy little tune.

two, i finished my opus. the dragons and the full moon. i have 25 of my Dragon's old cotton handkerchiefs. my opus, up there under the blog title, will be the center of the piece i am designing. it has taken me weeks and weeks. i worked on it after i stopped my commission work at 9 every evening. i am happy with it.

i miss him. i feel a longing that wells up inside me at times and i cannot breathe deeply at all. shallow, panting breath and i sob for him. on 8/9 July it will be 17 months.

17 months without our walks to every place we could find,
no cars, no tourists, places only locals knew about,
all along the ocean's edge.......

without his smile,
his teasing,
his arrogance woven with threads of fragility
and hope that i would always love him...
which i do,
which i will.....

without him in every season, especially winters;
i miss him in winter.
his watching over me while we were outside.
the hot showers when we went back inside.
the hot chocolate and snuggling on the sofa against his chest,
in his arms.....

17 months without looking at him when he is unaware of my gaze,
of my studying his form,
his face,
his arms,
his eyes,
his soul.......

17 months without being touched,
without being loved,
without being with my Dragon....

Camp Widow will be a surreal journey. i have my work that i am bringing for the table i am being given. my daughter came over and we worked on my new brochures. new work. new photographs.

i will fly out for San Diego the day after my Dragon's birthday. the day i fly back home will be 18 months, a year and a half since he died. the 11th of August will be our wedding anniversary.

August is my month of Dragon days.

knowing what i know it would all play out? i would do it again in a heartbeat.

"i would rather have had one breath of his hair,
one kiss of his mouth, one touch of his hand,
than an eternity without it."
~ City of Angels


"when they ask me what i liked the best
i'll tell them it was you."
~ City of Angels

i am bringing my opus to Camp Widow. and i'll have this new song in my head.

"silver moons and paper chains,
faded maps and shiny things.
you're my favorite one-man show.
a million different ways to go.

will you fly me away?
take me away with you,
my love..."

if only i could go. if only it were so.

Friday, June 25, 2010

the lost gummy bear of Stage Fort Park

i have always been one who noticed things, or people. little things laying on the ground, or people's moods and behaviors. i am good at finding things dropped or purposefully left behind, abandoned things. i am pretty good at reading people, what to say, when to back off; very much know when i need to back off into the shadows of my own life.

i know how to be alone and i know how to wait. it is not patience. it is the only choice i have open to me. i can wait without a hissy fit, or i can exhaust myself while waiting. i wait quietly which i guess is why no one knows me that well. when bad things happen, i know when i can fight a fight i might win. but i can size it up quickly and know that this is something i can never win. so i wait it out and try to survive it.

i am like a gummy bear i saw once at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. it is a big park where my Dragon and i loved to walk. there is a tiny bit of sandy beach down below the cannons left over from the Revolutionary War that are still mounted up on the bluff. we had walked there and i was taking pictures, and there was this bit of orange sitting on the sand. the reason this little gummy bear seemed so stalwart and worthy of a picture was that we had already had a first snow though most had melted away. also he was sitting precariously close to high tide's edge. he may in fact have washed up there but i doubt it. no birds had found him. no squirrels had wanted him. he was an abandoned soul.
his little orange arms were reaching out and open for anyone to pick him up. his little orange gummy face was frozen with a pleading expression. he was a little worse for the wear and tear life had heaped upon him, but he was still there, still hanging on, still waiting for some kind of peace. and closure.

at this point of grieving for my Dragon, i feel like that lost gummy bear. i am stranded. i miss him. no grief therapy to be had. no one-on-one with someone, with anyone who will listen to my story and tell me, "womanNshadows, you will be okay." or "womanNshadows, i am so sorry this has happened to you, in fact, so much has happened to you, but you are a strong woman because of this and this...." in my gummy brain the grief counselor or some wonderful friend, who has discovered what a good friend i am and cares about me, has patiently sat and coaxed my story from me and lists some qualities i have that i cannot see anymore in myself. they want to see me smile. not the fake one. a real one.

i know. wait, before you leave the rest of this unread, let me get the violin out so we can have melancholy music accompany this litany. or hit the play on my list of songs. and as a hook, i write about what ultimately happened to the gummy bear.

i know how to be alone. i have been alone throughout so much of my life. but i know that sometimes i would like to find someone other than my poor daughter to talk about my grief with, about the soul-ripping misery of wanting him back, and of praying i will really, truly get to be with him again.

i am not even abandoned on a lovely beach with the sights and sounds of the ocean. i am left in the middle of concrete with only more concrete to see when i go outside to walk around. i hear car tires screeching and people screaming at each other. on Father's Day there were police sirens and children sobbing in the parking lot beside a police woman because their father had beaten the living hell out of their mother for not getting them up and out of the house soon enough for his all-day-in-front-of-the-television father's day. it is not a pretty place and definitely a difficult one to achieve any kind of a zen-like state.

i know that no one can be content with where they were abandoned. whether in homes they have lived in for years, or they are forced to move immediately following their loved one's death, or they decide to hit the road a la gypsy wagon. if i had the money, the gypsy life sounds appealing. or to buy a little beach house and pair down to a very simple life of nature and art and mourning.
he is the most lovely man. he is soulful and funny and sexy and he loves me more than i have ever been loved in my entire life. in all the definitions of love: maternal, paternal, romantic, friendship, only he loved me. only he cared about me. and i miss him so badly. yesterday and so far today, 9:00 AM, i have been sent on a sobbing crawl through purgatory. i love him. i do not know how to have a life without him. i long for him.

okay, you have waited patiently. wading through the quagmire of my grief. so here it is. the conclusion to the story of the lost gummy bear of Stage Fort Park.

i took the little orange bear's picture. i had his whole story in my head before i brought the camera away from my eye. i stood there looking at him. and getting colder. my Dragon was always conscious that i had suffered a bad bout of hypothermia so he paid attention to our time outside in the cold, and my movements. i tried walking away but then i would stop and look back at the gummy bear.

"you want to save it, don't you?" my Dragon knew me so well.

i must have bit my lip or had an expression of embarrassment but he is my Dragon and i am his Beach Bunny. he laughed at me and walked over and picked up the gummy bear and put it in my camera bag.

"c'mon. let's get you home. it's supposed to snow later."

we took the gummy bear home and put him in a sandwich bag in the refrigerator. i would say hi to him when i reach in for something. i even heard my Dragon say, "you still here, old man? she's crazy, isn't she? but a good kind of crazy."

when my Dragon died and i had to leave Rockport, my daughter and i went down to the beach and i put back a whole bunch of shells and driftwood. i could not bring it all so i set it free.

i set the little gummy bear free, too. i tucked him into a notch in a piece of driftwood and set him off with the out-going tide. sort of like his own Kon-Tiki adventure. i know it sounds odd but bringing him so far away from the beach would have hurt him like it is hurting me. and the memory of how he came to live with me was too painful to keep remembering every time i opened the refrigerator.

i am lost and adrift on an ocean of grief with no water in sight. i am like the lost gummy of Stage Fort Park. i am laying here with my arms out and open. i have a pensive expression most of the time, and i am waiting to be found. found by God. taken to my Dragon. however it plays out, i am laying here, lost and waiting.

at least i can see the moon. tonight it will be full again.
all i can do is sigh. some children here call me la mujer que adora la luna. i guess i am.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

i got to be a mom again today

my children are grown and do not need me every minute of every day like they did before. i know they still need me, but the dynamics have changed. i suffered through the "empty nest." my Dragon was patient, loving, tender, more sensitive and incredible than i ever hoped for.

and my children were understanding and patient with my enduring watching them fly away to their own lives. they call. they write. they visit. the Three Musketeers we were during their childhood survived the transition of the younger Musketeers growing into adulthood.

they have both told me they remember how i put myself in front of them to protect them, and now, it is their turn to protect me. i have leaned on my children; my daughter more since i live near her. "my daughter will be my daughter for the rest our lives." she carts me on my errands. she intervened for me with bulldog tenacity with the dentist drama. a recent explosion with the ex resulted in taking me down to a level i have not been in in a very long time. my daughter found out and she went nuclear. she told her brother and both of them verbally ripped him apart.

but today i got my chance to be a mom again for my daughter. she needed me and i felt like maybe there is a reason for me to still be living.

last night she accidently crushed her finger in her sliding glass doors. they are heavy and slide very easily. i have almost gotten my hand caught. this morning her finger was so swollen and painful she could not move it. her husband had already left for work and she was frightened by how much she hurt.

so she called me! her mom. she came over and we went to urgent care. her finger was not broken but there was a lot of blood collected under the nail. they wanted to relieve the pressure and she was scared. i held her hand and stroked her hair. i talked to her throughout the procedure and talked her through breathing deeply when they pressed the blood out through the hole they made. she cried and squeezed my hand so tightly. it reminded me of so many times when she was a little girl and she came to me crying, wanting me to hold her.

then she felt better. the pain was lessening even as we walked to the car. the pressure of the trapped blood was gone. bandaged and ready to go home and lay down, she drove me back to my place to drop me off. i told her to call me when she was safely home.

when she called, she got teary again on the phone. she was so glad i was close by. she was so glad she could call me. she liked that i could take over and be like i used to be.

i told her no matter what happens in life, no matter how much i hurt over the death of our Dragon, i am her mom. i will always be her mom. if i live into my 90's, i will be able to find the inner reserves to stand up for her and in front of her to protect her. she is my beautiful BabyLove, my wild, gypsy baby. and no matter how old she gets, she and i will always be close. no matter how much she takes on for me in my behalf, she will always need me.

i am her mom. we go way back.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

dad's day

he was not their biological father but he was there for all the big things and little things that their father was not. he was not their father but he was their dad. he got there in the middle of their teen years so he got there for some really important, wonderful times.

my daughter embraced our Dragon from the moment he walked into our lives. she was and still is completely in love with him in the role of her dad. and he was completely in love with her as his daughter.

it was, oddly enough, cheaper for us to get her a small apartment in a big old house than to pay for dorm rooms so he went out and bought her a canopy bed. he told her he had always wanted a daughter to treat like a princess. well, here was his chance. what he spent on that bed was ridiculous but she loved it, loves it still.
he and i were at her college graduation when we overheard her say to someone that she was a "daddy's girl." her exact words were, "he's not my father. i hate that word. you'd have to know him to understand. but that man is my dad so finally i can be a daddy's girl." he had tears in his eyes.

my son is much more reserved. he worried about how his father would perceive his relationship with this new man in his life. he had a right to worry. there were complications for him that were not there for our daughter. our Dragon paved the way for our son (that's how he referred to my children - "our children"). he told our son that his father should always come first, but that he was there if and when he needed him. it came to pass that our son needed our Dragon because his father was not around.

our Dragon felt humbled and blessed to step in when he was asked. and my son asked. over and over, he asked our Dragon things a boy needs to ask his dad. he came to me once to ask if our Dragon felt left out since he always called his father first. i told him, "no. he knows your father comes first. he's simply here because i love him and he loves me and he loves both you and your sister as if you were his own. he will do anything you ask. and he will step aside whenever you ask."

my son became "our" son when he said, "he's like a dad then. i've never had a real dad, you know what i mean, one who is there for me."
his "dad" was there to teach him how to work on his car, to take photos before his prom, to talk about girls and sex and respect, and to confirm that it was okay to still be a junior and then a senior in high school and to have never taken drugs, smoked anything, or imbibed in alcohol. he made our son aware that those things do not make you a man. i would watch my son's body language and see that around his father, his behavior was very correct, tense, and cordially respectful. around his "dad" he was relaxed and teasing; he was himself.

our Dragon was there for our children in the myriad of ways a man is there for his children. everything big and everything little, dramas and traumas, joys and celebrations, he was there in their lives. people who had just met us often believed he was their biological father.
he was blessed to be there for everything that their father missed out on. my children were blessed to finally have a dad. he adores them. he loves them. he felt blessed to have us in his life.
i know he misses them. he taught them so much. i see so much of him in them.

they miss him so much and talk about him all the time. they miss him with a type of longing that only comes from never having something, like a dad, finally getting one, and then losing him. they adore him and love him with every feeling a child has for their dad.

but then, with all he gave us, we know he is not really gone from us. he was at our daughter's wedding. he had the first chair front row.
he is out there watching over us. he is waiting for us. God willing, we will all be together again in due time. and in that joining, we will never have to worry about being separated.

happy dad's day, my Dragon. it was us who was blessed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the art of grief

with all the books i’ve read, all the writings online i’ve read from those who grieve, and the way i, myself, feel, i do not see any true path to grief. there is no lighted runway that we are all circling in the darkness above trying to find. there is no single path to enduring this pain. i have seen people reaching out online and find it a struggle to be understood. i hear of struggles with family and friends not understanding what is "taking so long." even those who are grieving sometimes have a hard time finding it in their hearts to be compassionate towards their fellow widows and widowers.

each road in life is different so it stands to reason that each road of grief is different. for me, i was holding hands with my Dragon beloved on the road we both had chosen. we were a force to be reckoned with because of our love and devotion to each other. united, we faced whatever came our way.

and then he died.

it was so sudden that while he gasped for breath, i was gasping for air. confused and devastated, i worked on him, talked to him, left him to open the door for the Paramedics, sat in the police car racing to the hospital, to wait only 5 minutes before they came to tell me he had died.

and so i am left here on this earth with people who do not know me, people who have not accepted me, people who do not see value in me. i met two widows my age that could have been friends but used me in an unkind way. i was one’s “last ditch friend if my other friends aren't around,” her words to me. and i was the “crutch” for another and eventually abandoned because i did not call her everyday to check on her and do not own a car to bring her her meals.

in college i majored in art and psychology with a minor in philosophy. i took an argumentative logic class and on the wall above the chalk board was a sign that read: It is so seldom that we feel listened to that I wonder why it is we spend so much time talking. that semester he used it as the only question on our final exam. i believed that statement then and i believe it now.

however i fight against the sometime reality of it.

on that final i wrote that if we ever stopped talking to each other we would become disconnected and then we, ourselves, the part of us that longs for companionship, would suffer greatly. i wrote that we needed to try to communicate, however frustrating it is, because to lose the desire to try and connect means we have given up on being seen; that we were giving up on ourselves. then when we are in real trouble, we will not have anyone to call out to.

i tried to call out to others for decades, but no one listened. then i met a Dragon and he heard me off in the shadows. he wanted me. he loved (loves) me. i have value to him.

he left me behind and though i know he did not want to, the result is the same. and i still feel that if one of us had to go first it should have been me because i am so tired of people and life handing me sloppy fourths. but that is the weak, selfish part of me, my id. the part of me that wants to do the right thing, to be a better person, my superego, wants to try to do good things with my life. i want to feel brave enough to set free all that i am and have kept hidden and protected through all the years before i met my Dragon. he was working on my self-confidence. i need to honor him and honor myself with continuing that work. i want to earn my dragoness scales so when it is my turn to fly away from here, i can, with dignity and grace.

but it is tiring to work on my self-confidence and grieve for him while facing all that has happened to me since he died.

the VA, God bless them, are still working on my monthly stipend. i swear, if i owed them money, i would get a letter a week plus phone calls.

so i make things. i make them for other people and for myself. i sew. i bead. i quilt. i hand appliqué. i do it all by hand. it is solitary work. my own art of grief.

for this kind of work i should be living in a lighthouse on some remote island with a mail boat coming twice a month. now that would be heaven on earth. imagine my view of the moon and stars from there. imagine the storms coming in off the ocean. imagine the wind, the shells, the driftwood on the beach. imagine the things i could make.

and if i wasn't heard from out there, there would be the reason of geography rather than neglect. but having the pull to the ocean that i have inside me, i do not think i would be sitting inside much. i would set up my work outside for as long as weather would allow. my music would be the wind and the water and the gulls. and i would always believe i could hear dragon's wings behind the clouds. fantasy. whimsey. delusions. on an island like this, it would only add to my imagination, to my creativity.

there is another kind of art to grief. it is in facing it without letting anyone get to you with their pressures of how you should be doing or what you should be doing or feeling at any given point along the road. i have been looking for 16 months for someone to talk to to no avail. i do not have money to pay someone to talk to. i do not seem to be a good enough friend based on that same monetary limitation. what i say and what i give freely of myself is not enough. and so i make things. art is my grief therapy - my art of grief. all my creative work through every day and all my thoughts of my Dragon are what are seeing me through. these two things are my company on this road.

i am doing the best i can while i amble along this lonely road. i am going my own way. i am reassuring my children i will be okay. and without him, without the wondrous love of my Dragon, okay is the best i can hope for. dear Lord, i miss him.

i used to feel him there before i woke. if i had to tell you something great about being with him off the top of my head, it would be that i could feel him near without having to see him. if i had gone alone to the beach, i would sense him coming to me. i would look up and wait for a pause, and there he would be, standing at the top of the drop off casting his eyes to find me among the rocky shoreline. i would wave. he would smile and head down to me.

he would say the same about me. we always felt the presence of the other.

i used to wake in fear and trepidation for what the day would bring but when he came into my life, it all changed. the entire world could fall away, or we could fall off the edge and it would be okay. i would be with my Dragon and we would be holding hands.

i pray that i will be with him again and this time, we will fly together beyond the ending of time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

he and i

today it has been 16 months. 16 months of being without him. without his voice. without his touch. without his smile, even the embarrassed one he had when i took all those photographs of him.
what was it about him, about him with me? we were both divorced when we met. it was something we had both thought would never happen to us.

his first wife hated him when she found out "exactly" what he did when he was sent out. she called him "monster." she called him a "killer." it did the damage she hoped it would.

my first husband never loved me. he married me, he said later, because his mother told him it was time. he chose me because i was compliant enough. he said i did what i was told and he had thought i always would. but he never loved me.

two outcasts adrift in a world that could not find anything about them to love. a Dragon and a woman who kept to the shadows because it was safer. a Dragon who was unafraid of the dark found me and kept me snuggled and safe under his wings, against his big body, near his heart which is the only vulnerable part of a Dragon.
he and i are kindred spirits. we are two strings on the lute that Gibran wrote of; quivering with the same music, standing apart, yet so near to each other.

he and i are opposite in all the ways that can attract to people together. my gray moth out of the darkness to his warm flame. i burned with his fire and it was glorious. so warm. so much light. the darkness was kept at bay and i knew love.

he and i are the same in all the ways that hold to people together, united against a world that might try, would try to tear them apart. tested and passed, he and i grew closer with each trial. every gauntlet we walked we did so with arms linked and heads held high. we had love. no force is greater.
he and i share the same dreams. we smiled in amazement at the thoughts of one another, so exactly the same. finishing each other's sentences, laughing. shared silences so companionable. thoughts lost together over what we wished could be for us. contentment found in each other's arms. he and i shared a bond that life could not even slice much less sever.
he and i shared our darkness. he gave me his sorrows and guilt. i gave him love and the absolution that i told him he did not require. he gave me his vulnerability and i gave him love, joyful acceptance, and my awe.
i gave him my scars and my fears. he gave me his tears to wash the nightmares away and love to comfort me. i gave him my self-hatred and he gave me love and the awareness of what he saw in me and how he saw me.

he and i cleansed each other of our previous lives. we both took the other's hands and held them to our chests to feel the beat of our hearts. we looked into each other's eyes and saw the respect, admiration, love, and desire there for each other.

he and i shared our lives, our minds, and our souls. we found who we truly were in each other and joy that we allowed each other to be. once lost, now found. we felt reunited in our first meetings if such a concept can be understood by outsiders. each moment together solidified our bond more and more, welding our love together until "death did us part."

but it only parted us as physical beings. i have learned a lot about life and about others while i grieve. this kind of sorrow does bring with it a gift; a clarity that cannot be ignored. i know what needs to be done. i know what i want to do. the numbness has finally faded from my brain and i find that all the self-evaluation i have done these past 16 months has given me a view of myself. everything that has happened to me since my Dragon died has shown me how i must be.

i must be a dragon in my own right. my mate is dead and i am alone on the mountain. i must be watchful lest some snake oil salesman tries to con me. i must be savage in the protection of my own rights as a grieving dragoness. i will let no one touch me to hurt me. my scales have grown in.

i gave him my heart to take with him so that he is wrapped in my love until we meet again in Heaven. what i have only begun to hope, to try and believe in is that he left his heart behind with me. at the moment when he died, maybe there was an exchange. as the air in the room swirled with the breeze of his wings taking him away from me, we gave each other our hearts.

we may not look the same in Heaven but we will know each other by our hearts; him holding mine, me holding his. and maybe in Heaven we will not exchange them back, but forever keep each other's hearts inside us just as we clasped hands in this life. me touching him. him touching me. always touching. always a couple. a sacred bond sanctified by our vows. "till death do us part?" our love did not die. a body died. his soul lives on and his humility and my prayers assure me he is in Heaven and at peace, albeit waiting for me. i trust in God. my dream is one that i think God would approve of.

"And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

i have faith. i hope. and i love.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

the right blue

i got caught in roller waves once. i was diving off a beach in Mexico with a group. we were called up because of a freak squall coming that the spotters on the beach were not sure how long it would last. one does not just "come up" from 60' but we got there and got caught up in rollers.

i felt the pull and turbulence of them with about 12 or so feet still to go. it was sucking me up and turning me around. the BC vest was useless to stabilize me. i had never come up in something like this. i almost did not know where the surface was and wondered if i was swimming the wrong way, heading back down rather than up. both were blue but which one was the right one? i admit i was panicked and breathing too fast. but i struggled and finally popped up.

getting pounded by the waves was no fun even after i got the sand under my feet. i was pushed and shoved and then this intense suction trying to pull my feet out from under me. taking the tank off and stripping down, then sitting down on the beach to look back at where i had come from was a religious experience.

it only has to be quiet and my calling up the memory for me to smell it, feel it, and taste the salt. i remember my muscles ached for days afterwards.

talking about it that night with the group on the beach in front of the fire, you would think we had all barely survived. each of us spoke of the flashes of fear. each of us spoke to the colors of the water and the confusion of which blue was the one to work toward. irony is, we all went back out the next day. the call was too strong. the aches, they would fade by the time the plane returned us each to our respective cities that we called home.

being in rollers is what it has been like for me ever since he died. i feel like i am being tumbled and shoved, rolled and slammed by my misery, by the world, by life itself. i miss him yet i have no recourse. i do not know what to do with myself. i do not know where to swim. which is the right blue?

i called my priest back in New England. i have spoken to him a couple of times since the one year milestone passed. he knew my Dragon and i pretty well. it was a small parish. he said that he believed even if my life circumstances had been different, if i had financial security and been able to stay in Rockport where i had made some friends, that he felt i would still be as i am. i am in mourning. he said it was alright for me to still be this sad, cry this often, and to ponder the unanswerable questions.

he said one thing that actually made me feel good about feeling this sad. he said, "i have not seen a couple as bonded as you two in a long while. people marry and are together for years and years, and they love each other and their marriage is truly blessed. but then there is a couple who find each other, and they fuse together until you realize; you never see one without the other. you stop thinking of them as separate people. you think of them as a couple, always together, permanently joined. death cannot shatter that bond. that's why you feel lost right now. but in a while you will feel your soul settling down, and you will know that you have accepted this wait to be rejoined. that is when you will feel some peace inside."

so i am will keep swimming and tumbling in these rollers of mourning until i feel myself settle down inside. i will eventually stop fighting to "get better" as i have been told will positively happen. then i will finally get my breath. i will be able to breathe without this terrible pain in my chest as i wait. i will focus on the right blue to swim to.
i watched the "Burn Notice" marathon the other day. it was our show. lots of parallels to his life. my Dragon would point out where the writers had left some things out so some idiot could not duplicate something in his garage. we always enjoyed that show together. i miss his insights now. i miss his steady voice.

i wanted to watch "Toy Story" tonight and got there too soon. i saw the end of "The Notebook." i got there as he entered her hospital room and got into bed with her. and then they died together holding hands, side by side.

and it broke me in half.

we always wanted to go out like that. my Dragon had said he did not ever want to see the sun dawn on a world that i was not in. i did not want to be in a world that did not have him in it. we kissed all the time. we touched constantly. we slept together always tangled. i was always cold. he was always toasty. we sighed in the night together. his missions were the only times we were apart. and then he had his last one and we were supposed to be together for a long time.

but our ending has been re-written. i can only hope it is now like "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."

i'll close my eyes and drop my tea cup. and there he will be. he'll reach out his hand and say, "hello, love. i've been waiting for you."

then he'll take me past the moon to Heaven where the angels will be with us to celebrate the start of our forever and nothing will part us again.
i look at the moon, and he is all i think about. i look up all the time at all the beautiful values of blue that color the heavens.

it is like when i got caught in the rollers. i kept trying to swim up. i needed to go towards the right blue.

i still do.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

the dreamer spies the dawn

i have always been a dreamer, a bit too much of a philosopher, and an observer of life and people to the point where i have had to be brought into my own life very rudely.

if i am truly honest with myself, i should have tried to have been a teacher of philosophy and gained tenure with some small liberal arts college. preferably one with lots of trees and mountains, or a college by the sea.

i am a dreamer and as a little girl i had my hopes for my adult life. i wanted to love and be loved. i wanted children and a small house, a cottage really with a yard large enough for a garden. rural was my preference but with love, ah, you all know; you go where your love is.

as a little girl, i had an idea of my love. i wanted G.I. Joe. the Barbie my mother bought me always dated and eventually married G.I. Joe. never Ken. he was too ambiguous. Ken seemed to slick and soft. pasty boy. Joe had a tan and muscles and could protect Barbie. you have to remember my childhood was one of not feeling safe or loved, so Joe was going to come in and rescue me. by 12, i knew it was up to me so i studied and graduated high school early. i was steadily moving through college right up until my mother was diagnosed with cancer. then i quit school and moved into the hospice to live with her and care for her so that she did not die alone.

i met a Ken, not G.I. Joe, but i cared deeply for him, for his cool manner, and his financial stability. we married only for me to find out slowly that he could never love me. my thoughts about Ken dolls had been prophetic after all.

and then i met my G.I. Joe, my Dragon. he was everything i had ever imagined, read about, dreamed about, and wanted. funny thing. he wanted me for the same reasons. kismet.
such a fine man with dreams of his own. and they matched mine. almost too late in finding each other, we lived for each moment we were given. we talked and planned and dreamed out loud incorporating each other's quirks into our sketches for our life together.

we would live by the ocean. there was a home that needed saving, the old fort at the end of the Neck. it was not on our cove but we could walk there easily. the fort was too unique to pass up simply because it did not sit on the cove.
and i would have my studio there. my sketches were detailed and in color. yes, i took the time to fill in with colored pencils.

they are now rolled up in a tube in the closet. i have been unable to look at them. but, dreamer that i am, i do not have to look at them. i know what i drew. i remember all that we wanted to do to the place. i can hear his deep voice in my head speaking about it, even with my eyes open.
he was a dreamer like me, a philosopher, a profound thinker, and one thing more. he was the adventurer i never was. the story of his life allowed me to go all over the world with him. i saw war, walked through jungles, and parachuted out of planes in the night. i ate unusual food and heard him speak languages i never would have heard without him. he introduced me to the wildness that lived inside him that gave him the courage to say "yes" to all the different things our country asked him to do. and through his stories i went with him when he recalled it all.
days were something we welcomed together and sunsets meant nights tangled up together. he returned from his last mission with a fever for holding on to me even more than before. i have recently learned he almost died that last time, closer than he had ever been to being killed. he never told me. i only accepted his need for touch with welcome arms. i love being in his arms, having his face in my neck, and his whispers in my ear.

and now comes the dreamer's dawn. i miss him.

i read. Lord Byron, John Donne, Yeats, Rilke, Gibran. i read a lot. mood reading. Oscar Wilde wrote: "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."

my Dragon died on the night of a full moon. it is coming up on 16 months. i read what widows and widowers write to forum questions and i do not feel any compatibility with them. i am not finding any small smiles. i am not coming across any little joys to light my way. i believe there is a bond between my Dragon and i that precludes me ever finding a man that i could feel comfortable with. there are too many Ken dolls out there. the true, old breed of G.I. Joe that would be my peer is a once in a lifetime thing. i had my once in a lifetime with my Dragon.

the forums provide me with enough insight to some of the more vocal others that i feel far apart from them. they are only a infinitesimal slice of widows and widowers but i know i am not capable of joining in with my despondency. i would most likely be ripped to shreds.

my life circumstance is such that it is inhibiting my grieving. arrested grief as it were. can there be such a thing? can so much happen to a recently bereaved person that it hinders the grief process?

often i feel like i am still sitting in the nether-week between his death and his funeral. i am numb with terror at how to survive. i am crippled with the loss of him. never to be in his arms. never to hear his voice coax me along, giving me his support. never to let my fingertips touch his face, his beard, his brow.

in some ways i feel like i have been pushed down a gauntlet that is lined with people armed with canes ready and capable of striking out at any slightest perceived error. i have been struck many times since my Dragon died. if he knew, he would be pissed. he is dreamer but also a man of action. as for me? i am exhausted. life tired. battle weary. 1000 yard stare tired.

i am a dreamer and i am now facing the dawn alone. the moon has set and my Dragon has flown. it is dawn on a world i do not care for.

"Once I beheld a splendid dream,
A visionary scene of bliss:
Truth! -- wherefore did they hated beam
Awake me to a world like this?"
~ Lord Byron

i love my Dragon, my beautiful dreamer, the keeper of my heart, and the other half of my soul. how could they have parted us so cruelly? how could they have taken just you and left me here alone?

the dreamer spies the dawn and has to turn her eyes away. the landscape is too harsh.