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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

harsh realities from the other side of pneumonia

there is a mystery to living that i have not discovered yet. next week is my birthday and i will be 53. it is a sad commentary on my life that i have not found a way to live, only exist, but at least i am doing that.

i survived childhood by hiding. i endured a first marriage by hiding. i never felt safe during the first 44 years of my life, and that is another sad statement to make. then i met the Dragon and i finally felt safe. yes, we had severe financial troubles left from the fallout of my first marriage and we endured so much, but we did it together. we kept our little tribe safe. and then he died. he died and left me here without anything to my name but the memory of a love that will never die and dreams that i cannot let go of.

i fell ill over Christmas, seriously ill. i had a high fever that would not break and i could not breathe. i was terrified and my daughter had limited time with me because of her own work responsibilities and the fact that i did not want her to catch what i had. i could not cook for myself so i ate raw oats for several days. i could only lay around and be hot and cough and choke. i finally got to a doctor who treated my illness, but the length of time it has taken to recover from it has given me time to evaluate a lot of things. also being on 4 kinds of medications helps with the delusions and hallucinations that came about through my aloneness.

i was very ill and people knew about it. i got well wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery, and that was nice, but it does not help at 11 PM or 3:15 AM when the fever is high and air is very dear. reading kind thoughts online does not help when no one is there to call to when i am coughing and choking over the toilet and nothing is coming up from my lungs to clear the way for oxygen. i missed my Dragon so much when he was not there to cry to when i fell limp and damp from fever and paroxysms of coughing and wanted for all the world to have someone help me back to bed and dampen a cool cloth for my aching forehead.

no friends. the girls i work with are of a different generation. i have not been able to join a church since i do not have a car. i am on a list for a "pick up for services" but no one has called me back about it. as i said, i could not all my daughter for i did not want her to catch this and my Dragon is no longer here to hold me and try to coax me to eating toast, and drink hot tea. or take the dogs out.

there was a backsliding into a deep and lasting grief over losing him that happened to me these last 3 weeks. every day i told God, "i just wish he could walk through the door one more time and take care of me. please. just let him help me get well this one more time." but he couldn't come back and i felt miserable and alone and i hated my life. i hated everyone who has friends who stop by and support them. and in hating people, i felt even more miserable. hot tears from a hot fever and feelings sorry for myself made me a terrible person.

the few times i typed on Facebook did not help. well wishes are nice but when i faced the harsh reality of knowing that no one was coming to take care of me, i felt terrible and selfish and childish and very cut off from the world.

the world breaks your heart and some people become strong at those broken places, but so far, i have not. i have been knocked off my feet again and again. i do not have the luxury of money to feel safe with, to have health care from. i do not have the blessing of friends to go see, or who come to see me. i have my talents with a needle to attract people to me, but i wish they would stay for a while and talk TO me, listen TO me. be a true friend. but so far, i have not found anyone.

i like talking to the Matriarch of Grief and Joy but i schedules being what they are, i have not talked to her since the second week of December and will not get to again until the last week in January. a long stretch without feeling heard and there are things i wish to be heard about.

i do have my job at Build-A-Bear that i feel blessed to have and wish dearly to keep, to have the hours i need to survive. and i have my children who worried themselves sick over me, but could do nothing to help other than wait for the meds to start to work, and promise me that they would not allow me to wait so long next time.

next time. i do not think i could handle a next time. sick like this? i could not breathe and i do not think my lungs can take another bout of pneumonia. maybe being this sick has brought me low and i am speaking from still coughing too much, but i am not journeying well on this road laid out for me. i feel down, and alone.

i miss him so much. i miss his arms. i miss his voice. i miss his taking care of me. i miss his love. the only time in my life i felt truly at home, truly safe, was in his embrace. and i will never have that again. i feel shocked to be so alone in the world when i really am such a gregarious person. but i do not seem to have much to offer anyone other than what my words can do for them, and my needle and threads.

i have offered Bunny to visit as a chance for me to connect with the world at large. it is a ridiculous adventure that serves no purpose other than my stupid idea of a fuzzy bunny for a lonely widow to hug, the Bunny they have seen up on my blog who has possibly touched their hearts. her little outfit is cute if i do say so and i have a little leather journal for everyone to write in. i am trying to make her as enticing and attractive as i can so that she will have friends galore to say, "look at me! i have friends! i am popular!" but the truth is, the truth is i wish it were me with the money to come and visit. i wish it were me taking photos of all of you and listening to you and holding hands with while we cry.

it is merely a way for me to have a tendril of a connection to the world that i will never see, never know, but wish with all my might that i could have. i have addresses to get Bunny started, and need anyone else, especially my two friends down in Australia who wanted a visit from Bunny, to send me their addresses. it is my hope that when she returns, i have notes and pictures and stamps in her journal and that Bunny has funky little bracelets and necklaces around her from all her travels. at least she got to go somewhere and hopefully she made people feel good.

i think something happened to me while i was so sick this time. i had a dream while i was sick that i died and no one knew. like the woman who died downstairs last fall and no one found her for a whole day. i know that with my daughter that would not happen, but when you have a fever and are weighing the pros and cons of spending money on Urgent Care, your mind goes to very dark places. what if i died right now? i have 2 quilts i would leave unfinished. i have a dream journal that would frighten an exorcist. my two little dogs. God, i would not want to die and leave them. but then i wondered who would my children call to come to my funeral?

no one. they would maybe post online, and that would prompt a little flurry of "oh, my gosh," and "how sad," and "what happened," but beyond that, my funeral would be a tiny service with only my two children there and the priest.

a quiet little life. like Wordsworth's Lucy.

"she lived unknown and few could know
when Lucy ceased to be,
but she is in her grave and oh,
the difference to me."

if i died, and my Dragon were still here, there would be a difference in his life. my absence would be felt. he would cry, as i have cried for him. and then that makes me think that it is better this way. i would not want him to cry. i could not bear to know he had sorrow, which leads me to say, yes, he would not want me to be this sorrowful over him, but i am and i cannot help it. and as i wrote to Boo earlier, i do not think our men would mind the length of time it takes for us to get through the tears. we love and love deeply. the bond is so great for some of us and our marriages so happy. sudden death is like an amputation. the phantom pain is a powerful force that can rule the night, and during illness. we need them back and we slide down close to the pit of despair when we think of how it could be if they were here taking care of us.

i have been very, very sick this time around, felt very, very alone, and i am still under the weather, and i miss him terribly. my heart and soul have been quite literally broken open by his death and the whole universe has fallen inside me. i see only the stars and the moon. i see only the sun that hides the moon with her brightness. and i see dragons in clouds every where i look.

i am trying to recover from his death, but it has been hard. everyone who meets me wants me to work for them, but few want to sit with me; just come and sit with me in my sorrow, and hold a Bunny's hand. i do not need antidepressants. i need a friend who can see me for who i am, and can be. i need a friend who likes me for nothing more than my smile and kind eyes. i would like someone to talk to and learn to laugh with again.

it snowed here and i stepped onto the balcony and made myself a little friend; a snow bunny for Beach Bunny. for now, she is all i have.
the harsh reality from the other side of my pneumonia is that i realize i am will not leave a mark on the world. i was loved once for a brief time by my Dragon and that is all anyone can hope for. i have two wonderful children who love me and will miss me. and i will leave behind some work that has touched people on some level. i know that i will live a precarious life from now on, and few will know when i pass, but it could have been worse. i might not have ever known my Dragon or had my children.

harsh realities to face, but there have been some blessings along the way.


the Ambassador of Grief and Whimsy will be ready to go soon. i just want to make sure everyone who wants to see her has emailed their address. she can come visit, and be held, and talked to, and it will be almost as if i were there.

please email me your addresses if you want a visit from Bunny. i do not want anyone to feel left out. i so very much know what that feels like.


Boo said...

I know that when I read that you had pneumonia, I felt dread for you in the pit of my stomach. To be alone and ill with only dogs is terrifying and propels us into the mouth of a darkness that is terrifying on its own merit, without being ill.

Added to this you are still in the early days of widowhood, at almost two years. Unfortunately two years in the world's eyes leads them to think we are all better again. And we are not. For some of us this time is harder than the first year because we have just really come to believe that our husbands are never coming home. The realization and grief really hits without that blessed numbness that shrouds us for the first year or thereabouts.

I'm sorry that you are living in a new area where you don't know people. I also feel very isolated living here as Cliff and I were very happy and self-sufficient in our "bubble" here, but hadn't made friends ... and I guess that is part of the reason that I shall eventually want to move, unless I can find the energy to participate in activities where I can meet friends.

Thankfully my job allows me contact with people during the day and has also allowed me enough funds for a car, so that I can travel to see friends. It has also meant that I could travel, and have health care. Even though I have this, I still feel fear and loneliness, so it is hard to imagine what you went through when you didn't even know if you could afford the medications to help you recover from pneumonia. I could wax lyrical about how disgusted I feel that the widow of someone who served in the armed forces has to endure this, but I shan't because ... like wishes ... it won't help you either.

I know that you have only just started working at Build-a-Bear but I so hope that it will afford you the opportunity to meet friends, or even allow you to contemplate the option of moving back to an area where you do have friends.

I wish you could travel and that you had a support network nearby of loving friends, but wishing doesn't make it so. Otherwise we would wish them back ...

Just know that you are in my thoughts and if I lived closer, I would have been round in a heartbeat ... it does make me feel helpless that I couldn't.

But I would have. I guess that's all I wanted to let you know ... but it seems to have taken me an essay to say it. Maybe I just wanted to talk with you too <3

bev said...

Being ill and alone is a very nasty thing. Last year, i caught a bad respiratory infection shortly after arriving here in the southwest. All of my friends went off to mexico around the same time, so i felt very alone in a strange place at the mercy of an even stranger medical system (which, gladly, i didn't end up having to resort to using). I find that being ill gets me thinking along depressing lines. This winter, I got sick again, but try to avoid thinking of all of those depressing things. I hope you get feeling well soon, and as Boo mentions above, that you'll soon be back at work doing a job that you seem to enjoy.

Although it would be nice to have Bunny come to visit here, it isn't all that much longer until I'll be on my way again. However, if you'll send me a mailing address, I'd like to send you some interesting stuff from here in the southwest. I expect you should be able to get my email address from this post. Drop me a line and I'll be in touch soon. In the meantime, take care and get well.

Dan, in real time. said...

I echo what Boo and bev have to say. I too have been going through a difficult time, and find myself back at those gut wrenching moments of grief. Life can feel so unbearable, and so unfair, that facing another day is not always at the top of the list.

What you write about here is likely where many are. I don't have all the same struggles, but have many none the less. I often feel like I am not doing as well as others think I am, or think I should be doing. Sometimes it's easy to tell others that where they are with their grief is exactly where they should be, then tell myself I should be doing better.

I do wish I live near you, and we made time to visit with each other. Most of my time is also spent alone. I know I have options, and lately a new friend has been encouraging me to get back out there, but I still remain in my home unless at work. I'm still in hibernation.

Be gentle with yourself. I'm going to look for your email address, and send you my telephone number. We should be having conversations, and checking in with each other.

For now, know that I stopped by to see how you were doing, and that I care.

Love. Dan

womanNshadows said...

i came home from work tonight and found all your kind thoughts to me. thank you all. it does make it bearable to be able to sit down for a few minutes and see notes from you. though you are all so far away, i feel the warmth in my cold fingers and toes of your well wishes and compassion. again, thank you for thinking of me.

judemiller1 said...

I am so glad you are doing better--I was worried, but like you wrote--there was nothing I could do--I live so far away.

There are many people that know about you--I have told my friends about your blog--have told my children--have told Fred all about you and Dragon and how great your love is and how you lived near the sea as Fred and I would like--but of course cannot. If you weren't here, what would I do? When I come here everyday to see what you may have written and you aren't here--it makes of less of a day for me. My Grandma told me that the second year of her mourning was far worse then the first. In the first year, she was just trying to cope. At the second anniversary, it came through loud and clear that Grandpa was not away on a trip and going to come home--he was gone from her forever. It didn't matter how many people were around her--without that one special person, she felt alone. I can remember seeing her look off into space and I knew--she wasn't with us at that moment, she was thinking of Grandpa.

Suddenwidow said...

My fellow Capricorn, I'm sorry that it's so tough for you now. It seems to be a difficult time of year for so many of us. Everyone else has written so much more eloquently that I'm able to tonight so I just echo what they've already said and want you to know that you're always in my thoughts and prayers.

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