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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

it's a mad, strange world

i told you it was coming; a blog about my observations of people.  they think others don't see them, really "see."  but i do.  people are downright scary at times, and they are raising children.

there is a play area just outside the store.  lots of people go and sit there for hours as their children play on the huge plastic, fiberglass, whatever those things are that they crawl around on and under and go through.  okay, that was a long sentence and you might have missed the one operative word.  they sit there for HOURS.  i know this because their little ones "escape" the play enclosure without their noticing, come running barefoot into the store, and create chaos.  they grab bears, bears in strollers, and rush out of the store.  they grab merchandise and run out of the store with fist fulls of sounds, arms full of clothes, you name it, they grab it.  we have to chase them down to get it back.  their parents?  no help.  i've had children, babies as young as 3 call me a fucking bitch when i explain that the bear lives in the store and doesn't want to leave.  i've been slapped, kicked, punched, pinched, and shoved.  i've been cursed at by babies who should not have those words at disposal in their vocabulary.  little boys come in and sniff girl bear panties.  little boys come in and put their fingers through the hole where the bear/bunny/monkey/etc. tail goes through and waggle it calling it their dick.  and it is the same children over and over, for HOURS.  when i say HOURS i mean upwards of 6 hours. 

i can go in to prep the store, be there as much as 45 minutes before the mall stores open, and there are people with their children already there.  i close the doors at 9 PM.  people are still there.  i have closed the doors, settled the financials, restocked, gone to the back, done the paperwork, turned off the lights and have come out to leave and suddenly, at 9:15, 9:20 they want a bear because at 2 PM they had promised little Joey or little Jane that they could have a $10 bear before they went home from "playing at the mall."  i have to tell them that we are closed.  the parents get in my face and scream at me, invade my personal space and crowd me against my locked store doors.  their children slap me, kick, punch, pinch, and shove me.  and yes, i have used my cell and called mall security.  guess what?  they are on rounds and someone will be by "eventually."  so i have to endure.  i ease around these people who are screaming at me that their "poor baby wants a bear.  how can you be so fucking heartless?  we've been out there since 1 or so and all they've been wanting for all these hours is a little bear.  open the store and give them one.  open the store and we'll buy a bunch of stuff.  you heartless bitch!  how you can deprive my child of a bear!?"  as i walk i am sometimes shoved in the back.  i keep my head up and my eyes are scanning so that my peripheral catches if they become more violent.  i glance at all the other closed and dark store windows to see their reflections.  how close to me are they?  are their arms up in an aggressive way that might mean contact with my body?  once i get to the mall door i leave from, and see the darkness outside, i tremgble for fear that they will follow me out there and do something that no one will see, or get on camera, at least.

and yes, sometimes i go back into the store and hide.  and wait.  and yes, they do this in front of their children.  "tell her how much you want a bear.  tell her she's making you cry.  tell her she's a fucking c***."  and their babies, for once all day long, obey. 

for the actual shoppers inside the store during working hours, nothing has changed from past stories i've written about.  i've seen children say and do and act in ways my children never would have even thought of much less that i would have had to correct their behavior.  these children come from some part of hell and are actually living among us, and will eventually grow up to breed, and vote, and, for bear's sake, maybe run for office themselves and be in charge of something, of us.

boy comes in and buys a bear for his girlfriend because he used his knife to decapitate her other bear.  why?  her mother called her when he was talking to her and he got "fucking po'ed."  how old was the boy and girl that she was out carrying around her favorite teddy bear?  9.  yes, he had the blade on him.  while he was still in the store i called security about a concealed weapon.  "there's nothing we can do about it unless we see it."

little girl celebrating her 8th birthday came in with her older sister, 11, and her boyfriend, 17.  i was shocked, too.  the girls both looked like teenagers.  halter tops, booty shorts, makeup, and fake tattoos.  the 11-year old and the 17-year old were making out like, well, inappropriately.  the 8-year old wanted to make her bear look like Rhianna so she bought a shirt, panties, heels, a crown and wand, and no skirt or pants.  "she's a slut like Rhianna and she's gonna make millions."

parents come in and sit down and let their children run around the store.  they literally sit and watch their child run the store as if it were a racetrack.  "i'm sorry, he just needs to blow off a little steam."  i say, "there's a play area just outside this store.  you can't miss it.  he could run out there."  they smile as if i am new to this planet and tell me, "no, he is going to do it in here.  there's too many kids out there and he won't have the freedom to run like he can in here.  you don't have to helps us.  we're not buying anything.  he's just going to run."  this first time i let it go and watched.  the store wasn't busy.  he ran for 20 minutes full on pedal to the metal like a crazy person.  then he started screaming and smiling.  he started smiling with his lips pulled back in a jack-o-lantern gash with saliva coming out of his mouth.  it was like something from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."  i looked over at this parents and they smiled and said, "there it is, he's almost done."  i looked back at the little boy and as he was coming back around facing me again, his palm was rubbing the front of his pants.  harder and harder.  fast and faster.  suddenly the dad grabs the boy and picks him up and takes him to the bathroom.

the next time the people came in, i told them they could not.  we fortunately had too many people in the store at the time.  the woman was pissed and the dad incredulous.  "he's really good at this.  there's not that many people in there.  he won't run into anyone."  i told them that the child had no way of knowing which way a guest in our store would pivot and turn at a moments notice.  i said it was not safe to do this at this time.  in my head i was thinking, how do i keep them out of the store forever, when the dad opened the darkest door and actually said it out loud.  "but he likes masturbating in here and he really needs to today."  both parents looked at me expectantly, as if i should just accept that this was the way of the world.  i said, "i am sorry but we are expecting a party of 20 little girls in here in 10 minutes {and we truly were} and i cannot have your son running frantically around the store masturbating.  one of the fathers of the little girls might not see public masturbation as acceptable and i have to consider all our guests' feelings."  the parents suddenly seemed to understand.  "oh, right, yeah, some people are just crazy."

yeah, some people are.  and others are just plain evil.

tidbits i've overheard.  "if you sleep with your stepbrother again, we're breaking up."

"i'm getting you everything you want and don't ask me for anything else.  now tomorrow i'm having the dog put down so this stuffed one is your new dog.  remember, everything you want so shut up crying.  no, of course not.  don't be stupid.  dogs don't go to Heaven."

"if mommy's boyfriend touches you again, let me know, okay?"

father to his 4-month old daughter:  "yeah, you're a little bitch, aren't you?  you're daddy's little bitch."

said to me directly:  "i'm divorced from their mother.  i've got some calls to make so i'm gonna be over here.  fill the baskets up with whatever they want.  i don't care what it costs.  make them love me more than her."

now it's time for gentle little Bunny to go shower, eat breakfast, get in the car, and drive to work.  along the route i will listen to the car radio, and quite possibly weep for the world.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

what Memorial Day means to me

when i was a kid, yeah, all i knew about Memorial Day was my mother made me where red, white, and blue, and we cooked out.

then i turned 10 and my best friend's brother came home from Vietnam in a box that had a flag draped over it and everything changed for me.

i went to so many military funerals during my junior high through college years, and after.  Memorial Day was always a pensive day for me; friends i'd lost.  beloved brothers of friends who would never come home and the permanent sadness that haunted their eyes.  when anyone received a letter from a loved one, it was torn open and searched for the signature, for any other handwriting that might let the family know something bad had happened, because, not often, but every once in a while, a letter was sent by his men and it reached home before the official visit.  MIA.  POW.  KIA.  initials that made everyone shudder.  each bore it's own horror.

my Dragon told me stories.  i've related some here in past blog postings.  Memorial Day weekend was his time of flashbacks.  i would sit with him while he wouldn't/couldn't/didn't talk to me.  i don't know what he was "seeing" but it was harrowing for him.

my father-in-law served aboard subs.  he used to say that when he died he knew he'd see his mates again.  i wonder if my Dragon has?  what i wouldn't give to be a fly on that wall.

i worked yesterday all day.  a man came in who worked for the VA.  he and his wife had me teary inside of 5 minutes.  he said he will try and get me a whole bouquet of Buddy Poppies.  i want them so bad.  i have tried to collect them over these 3 years and i cannot find them anywhere.  the ones i do have people have sent me.  i am so looking forward to a whole bouquet.  i hope he doesn't forget me.

i miss my Dragon.  it's been horrible hard of late.  i have no reason for it.  i just feel vulnerable.  i think i miss him more on Memorial Day than say, on his birthday, because i know what he did as a Marine.  i know what he sacrificed.  in my heart, he is a hero.  i wish i could tell you more, but i promised him.

i feel on the edge of control of my life and yet tiny things keep cropping up, like my broken knee, my cracked foot, all things i need to take care of.  long hours with difficult people.  worries of doing my job correctly.  worries over the numbers of my store.  my daughter wants to leave her job.  she has an interview with my district manager on Tuesday.  i hope they give her a job.  the job.  the one she wants.

i have today off.  i am embroidering.  i'm thinking of my Dragon.  i can see his flag, his medals, and his urn.  people are shopping and cooking out.  but some are going to the cemeteries and planting flags.  some are eating and smiling and all the while, they are remembering.  i'll be sitting with my two dogs.  they are glad i have a day off.  i am glad, too.  i will have time to gather myself for work tomorrow.  i'll have to be ready.  i'll be out in public.

i love you, my lovely Dragon.  you are the best.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bunny's Pinning !! ~ and bad days still

Bunny is pinning.  hope you follow her.  she likes to see that, those numbers.  she likes to see if anyone notices her.  lets make Bunny's numbers go up and up.  she pinning some pretty good stuff.  *tease tease* she's an awful interesting Bun.

bad days still.  the Bun is so very tired.  did she tell you?  she fell down.  her knee is broken.  little chips floating around inside her knee.  she needs arthroscopic surgery.  she's got to figure this out.  yes, she has insurance now but it's the time.  she won't be paid for any days off.  she needs that paycheck.  so she's gonna try to figure out a way for her to have a couple of days off side-by-side to have the surgery and recuperate.  then take a "honey day" - bear language for a paid day off - to do some more resting.  3 days should do it.  after all, didn't that 14-year old Olympic gymnast have it done and performed the next day?  Bunny is just as spry as a 14-year old Olympic gymnast.  right?  okay, but at least admit she has the heart of one, the determination to withstand the pain to do it.  not the Olympics but at least have the surgery and then get up and get her little Bunny self back to work.

so she's thinking, knee first, then foot.  *very heavy sigh*

it's been 4 weeks since her work schedule and her daughter's work schedule worked out for them to get together.  that's a long time to not see a friendly face.

which brings Bunny to the teaser that she's working on a blog entry about the human condition, the humans she sees at work.  Lordy Lord Lord, there are some freaky people out there.  and she thought the other mall had some strangers.  she's met some real nutcases at this mall.  come back and check soon as she's got to tell you about this.

this morning Bunny woke up and was hurting so badly she cried.  not out of grief.  not out of loneliness.  just in physical pain.  and then the grief hit her.  she wanted an apple and cinnamon toast.  so she called out her Dragon's name.  so thoughtless.  so cruel that Bunny.  but she didn't know.  she just didn't know Miss Carmen Sophia the Wild Gypsy Girl and Mr. Scootie Wootums Lord of the Dance with the Stardust Eyes would react so.

Bunny called out her Dragon's name and both dogs instantly sat up in bed.  they jerked there gazes to the bedroom door waiting for him to come in to the bedroom to us.  i tried to hug them.  they kept pulling away to keep their eyes on that door.  stupid Bunny.  it's been 3 years, but it's Dragon!  of course they don't really understand.  they are loyal and faithful.  they are waiting for him to come back. 

Bunny cried.  and they forgave her and licked her face and cuddled with her.  Bunny felt she didn't deserve it at all.

see?  bad days still.

Monday, May 14, 2012

and the roller coaster car goes down.....

one metaphor for grief is a roller coaster.  the ride goes up.  good days.  the ride goes down.  bad days.

i'm having bad days recently.

i thought the new position and better pay would give me relief.  it has.  but relief is not the same thing as a good day.  i need a good day.

i need to trust things, life, myself.

i need to trust that a good day doesn't have to be defined as having nothing go wrong, like a hard drive crash, or a tail light go out on my car.  i fixed both those problems.

a bad day, or time, isn't defined as not having a day in this month's work schedule to see my daughter.  we just talk on the phone every night.  i'll see her next month.

but i am having a bad time of late.  i miss my son.  haven't seen him a long, long while.  we talk once a week, text all the time.  he loves me.  my new cell phone is on his family plan.  he pays.  i talk.  saying that makes me smile.  i am on his family plan.  he sent me two dozen roses for mother's day.

but i miss him.  and i miss my daughter. 

and i miss my husband.

"one of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night."  Margaret Mead.

this has been making me teary of late.  i'm sleeping more on my time off.  sleeping too much.  i'm just tired.  now am i tired because my foot hurts so damn much?  or am i tired because of this new 40 week and all the work i do during those hours, and the paperwork i bring home with me?

or am i tired because i miss these 3 people so very much and i need a brief visit with my son?  will i feel better if i can have one consistent day off to see my daughter like i did before?

i need their humor.  i need their fun.  i need to laugh.  i need human contact with people who know me, care about me, and love me.  screw finding a friend.  i need my children.

i wish i could spend one more day with my Dragon.  yeah, i went there.

 my kids never fail to make me laugh.

my husband always made me feel loved.  he was always touching me.  i miss that.

so, for right now, my roller coaster car is on a downward track.  i'm sure, eventually, it will come back up.  until then.........well, i gotta get to work.

thanks for reading/listening.  peace to all who read.  peace and light to all who grieve.

Monday, May 7, 2012

home to the puzzle box ~ my grief at 3 years 3 months

first off, don't be startled with the first "song."  it really is what you're hearing.  i found a fog horn.  keep reading.  it has meaning.

i'm ahead of myself.  it won't be 3 years, 3 months until tomorrow night at midnight, but i have a bit of time this afternoon, taking a break from embroidery work, and i wanted to get my thoughts down.

at this point in my life, i sincerely believe what i wrote up there in gold under my main photo.  i had once thought of my whole life as a journey.  i was arrogant, and so very wrong.  it was simply my life.  now that my Dragon has died, i am truly on a journey.  grief, dealing with his death and all the questions, guilt, and fears that came with it; this is my journey.

in the days and weeks that followed his death i used to ask myself, why did we only get 8 years?  why had all the terrors of my life lead me to the warmth of his love, only to take it away after so short a time?  i told myself, i have convinced myself, that his death was predestined and that his guardian angel was not going to let him die alone.  after the life he lead, the missions he went on as a Marine, all the times he must have wondered, "will i die out here and nobody come claim my body," all the times he came home wounded, the fears he must have had, he died with me holding him, giving him CPR, talking to him, soothing him, telling him he was so very dearly loved.

and it is me left to deal with what's left all alone.

i read once that "death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor's mind towards some resolution which it may never find."  in my experience that is true.  my relationship with my husband has not ended.  i still wear my wedding rings.  at this point, i most likely always will.  i cannot take them off without feeling claustrophobic.

i do have my memories of him, of where we walked, of our little place by the ocean, up in the cove.  there was  a small gate off our property that we walked through to get to the beach.

 we had to walk through our gate and across the top of the ridge to get down to the beach because we were set up a bit high.

this view is from the back yard, looking southeast towards Thatcher light.

and this is from the edge of our backyard looking east northeast toward what i always called, my island.

this the view looking out from the den toward "my island" that i saw everyday.  we'd hear the fog horn sound sometimes, especially at night, and know that lonely sound was reaching out to any mariner who was still out there trying to find their way home.  we'd listen to the wind rattle the windows.

i took this set of three photos the day before one Thanksgiving.  a nor'easter was expected that night with high winds.  i loved those nights.
he and i would lay together upstairs in our small bedroom under the eves and snuggle.  we'd hear the ice hit the glass behind our headboard.

i hold onto those memories when i drive the now half hour to work and all i see is concrete and red earth and traffic.  i humbly thank God for my job that pays my way to survive, but when i am back at the apartment with my little Carmen Sophia and my dashing Scootie Wootums, i remember when i could walk them on the beach.  i remember when we would sit and laugh at them bite at the water rushing the sand and rocks.

i remember feeling the sunshine on my skin and the wind in my hair.  i remember the smell of salt and the sound of gulls and water.

oh, and that Thanksgiving morning?  we woke to this.
i miss him terribly.  i miss him and still sometimes cry.  i miss him in songs i hear.  i wish i could tell him things.

i talked to a widow i know who lives across the Pond in Europe, and she agreed with me.  she and i will probably never look for another man.  she is two months longer into her widow journey than i so we are at the same place time-wise, and seem to be at the same place emotionally.

we miss them.  we are doing what we can to make this journey tolerable.  she in her way.  me in mine.

i look for peace.  i try to create it when i cannot find it.  and i tell myself that i'm doing alright when what i feel is sort of the opposite.  i am lonely, but not for anyone but him.  only he will do.  i look at myself and say, "you're out of the box."  we were a puzzle that had two pieces.  he is back in the box.  i am still out here in the world struggling to make sense of what's left.  he got to where he was supposed to be, but it was much too soon for me.  he left me behind.  our timelines were off.

in every life there comes a journey.  maybe we think we choose it, but i don't think so.  i think it chooses us.  i am what i am making of myself with what life has left me with, which, compared to what i had, isn't much.  well, it certainly isn't as scenically beautiful.

i miss the ocean.  i miss the snow.  i miss the wind, water, gulls, and the fog horn.  i sometimes wonder if, when i dream i hear that fog horn, it really is sounding off up there and is reaching out to me trying to call me home.  home to the ocean's edge.   home to the beach i knew and loved.

or maybe that fog horn i still here in my mind and in my heart is letting me know that it is out there in the fog i cannot see through, the fog of what's to come; letting me know i have a sound to walk towards so i can find my way home.........

home to the puzzle box where my darling, beautiful Dragon's piece sits and waits for me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"extinguish thou my eyes"

time is passing and things are happening to me, changing.  his death turned me into a different person.  i am still becoming a different person.  i am a weaker version of who i was before i met him and had to protect my children.  i am protecting me by working so very hard, trying so very hard to be the best at my job, so they let me keep it.  it's my only income and i cannot be a burden to my children, not yet.

but i still miss him.  i wish i still lived by the ocean where we lived together.

i wonder if i had had the money, how it would feel, how it would be, to have stayed there by myself.

 i know i would have walked to all the places we went together.  i would have take hundreds of thousands of pictures only....only none of them would have had him in them anymore.  no more pictures of my Dragon.  oh, God, even typing it has made me teary.

you have to know, i thought he was so incredibly handsome.  he was so beautiful to me.  and his eyes, the windows to his soul, my breath always caught.  i love him and i wish i knew if, where he is, he still loves me.  we all tell each other, and i know i've said this before, but we all tell each other that they are waiting for us.  but the truth is, none of us know.  we won't know until it happens to us.

i went to the eye doctor today with my daughter..  i have insurance finally so i ordered a pair of frames, blue plastic rather than the boring wire frames i've always worn.  my daughter helped me pick them out.  i wanted something so very different.  the lens are Crizal, the anti-glare, and Transitions, so that they are like built in sunglasses.  all the bells and whistles.  driving back to my place with my daughter, i told her, "i bet he would like them.  he'd say they were snazzy."  she agreed.  "mom, he loves you know matter what."

we looked at each other at the fact that she still used the present tense.  then she said firmly while nodding, "he loves you."

i just sort of smiled. 
i torture myself with fantasies.  i find interiors and exteriors and take pictures of them.  like, i'd love a library like this one.

and a living room like this one. 

a new widow has found me.  she writes to me in my private email.  she said she didn't know how i had done this for 3 years.  i told her to not gage herself by me.  compared to others, i am an epic fail.  some have moved on to other loves and marriages.  some have grown so independent.  i struggle day-to-day and count myself enormously successful to have become an assistant manager of a bear store.  and when i take care of replacing a hard drive in my computer all by myself, without needing my daughter to step in, i feel like i'm sort of coming back.

and yet, i still wish he were here with me.  i wish he could see me now, smile that smile, open his arms and say, "come here, my Bunny babe."

i wish he could see my snazzy new glasses when they are ready.


extinguish thou my eyes.  i still can see thee.
deprive my ears of sound.  i can still hear thee.
and without feet i still can come to thee.
and without voice i still can call to thee.

sever my arms from me.  i still will hold thee
with all my heart as with a single hand.
arrest my heart, my brain will keep on beating
and should thy fire at last my brain consume,
the flowing of my blood will carry thee.