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.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

taking a flying leap

for the last 3 months i've been having car trouble.  my clutch was slipping.  just a little bit every day. i was losing control over my car and it was scaring me.  i saved the money to buy a clutch and have been desperately trying to save the money to pay the $700 labor to get it installed before i lost my car completely.

well, i didn't make it.  all last week i struggled and panicked trying to drive to work and drive back home.  trust is hard for me.  i don't have any for really anyone.  i've seen so many people come on strong, make assurances they were there for me, we were kindred spirits, and then they disappear.

and now my beloved Midnight was leaving me.  i just could not get the money together fast enough to fix her.  it was breaking my heart.

Friday was horrible.  the clutch slipped so much i could not get it above 60 mph to get to work.  getting home was worse.  she took forever to get above 30 from sitting at a light.  i was crying when i walked in the door.  so grateful to be there and terrified at how it was going to be for Saturday.

i called my son and cried.  he said, "mom, i'm worried about you hemorrhaging money on that car.  give me some time.  i want you safe."

Saturday was harrowing.  i got to work, barely, but almost did not make it home.  10 PM sitting at a green light and she could not get herself to go.  it was sheer power of prayer that got me home.  my poor Midnight.  but during the day on Saturday my son called me to tell me that on Sunday, my day off, i was to go to a dealership and pick up my new car.  he had them down to a monthly payment i can sort of live with.  {my son said he would help me whenever i needed it.}

so today, i had to get a tow truck to haul Midnight to the dealership, spend the 3 hours doing the paperwork, etc. etc. and here he is.

this is my new car.  only 2 years old rather than 13.  less than 60K miles rather than over 200K.  and it's an automatic.  i've named the car after my son.

he's handsome and young and strong, and i believe i can trust him.

i have done the math on my new car payment and new, more expensive car insurance, but i think i can do it.  and i have my son.  and my daughter.

it was hard to shut down and let my "little boy" take charge and do best what a man does.  but i recognize that he is a man now.  my beautiful little boy is grown up and proven once again he will help take care of me.  i can call him no matter what.  he was as exhausted as i was at the end of today, but we got it done.  i have a new dependable car that gets 38 mp gallon rather than 9. 

i took a flying leap with this car payment and increased insurance payment but i need a dependable car.  and my adorable little Seanaroonie car is so great.  going into fall and then winter where the days are so short and the nights so long, and cold, {yes, my little Seanaroonie car has a HEATER!!!} it was what i needed to do.  big girl panties are on.  budget time is heavy duty, but i have my children to turn to, talk to, ask help of.  i am blessed.

peace to all who read.  peace and light {and great help/support/kids} to all who grieve.

Monday, August 20, 2012

"i won't ever leave you."

"listen to the soothing sound of my words...."  someone just wrote that to me.  she told me i was brave.  i snorted when i read that.  if only you knew how afraid i am, truly, deep down inside.  but how i handle things, only knowing me of what i write here, well, everyone has opinions and perceptions. 

i wrote that i am not brave.  i am existing, not truly living.  i take each day as it comes.  i have not done anything that would show "improvement" from those first months.  i am still slumpy.  i am still self-pitying.  i am crawling through this sludge of grief by myself and i keep thinking, this person will have insight they can share.  oh, no, they have other things to do.  that person will stay with me for a bit through this.  oh, no, they are moving on to other things, other people, other projects.  okay, this person will write to me.  oh, no, things turned upside down and what started out strong just as suddenly stopped.

i cannot afford grief counseling.  i cannot afford a sounding board of a person.  so i make do by using this as my sounding board.  i walk myself through my feelings.  i do not have a friend to call on.  i work too many hours that change every week to maybe take a class to meet anyone.  i cannot depend on any consistent day off.  so i am alone in this.  after the two widows retreat thingys i've tried, {far too early in my grief journey to be anything but slumpy and mournful and exhausted and who wants to hang with that on a fabulous weekend of empowerment} and {far too busy processing and analyzing and writing about it to earn my way to feel like i connected with anyone},  i don't think i can try those again.  i am spent, worn out, whipped and embarrassed at being the widow retreat epic failure. 

how could i get a more positive experience from them?  one that lasted beyond so that i get the warm fuzzies when i think back?

i think it was because i didn't feel like i could be myself.  i could only be myself with him.

and now here is someone asking me to "listen to the soothing sounds of my words."  and i am nervous about trusting.  the words are nice and kind and very well placed.  seems rights.  feels nice.  i'll just take it slow.

but i would love to listen to someone tell me it's all going to be okay.  i would love to believe that what i am feeling - still; what i am going through - still, is normal - still.  i would love to lay my head back against the sofa and close my eyes, listen to the sounds of a cup of tea being made, and the words falling softly and gently upon my ear.  "you are brave.  you are going to make it.  you are a nice person.  i will be your friend."  would that life would let me have something like that.

but life is a journey and i guess i had my friend when i had him.  i had my love and my fun and my brief chance at happiness.  some people don't get 8 years of that.  some people don't even get one.

she said it is obvious that my soul hurts.  oh, God it hurts.  so badly.  so deeply.  i don't think i can come up with the words.  or maybe there are too many and i am afraid to start.  or i don't know where to start.  it has felt like such a long life and yet, i am really not that old.  i am only 54 and i feel 1000.  my husband told me once that when i would "go into myself," retreat to try and recenter myself, i had that 1000 yard stare he had seen in some men after a firefight.  it always broke his heart that i had known so much darkness.  he would let me lay my head in his lap and he would rub my forehead, fingercomb my hair and he would say, "i wish i could take the memories from you."

all i ever wanted was him.  all i ever wanted was a small life with a man who could love me.  and for a very brief time, i got that.  for a brief, shining moment, i had Camelot. 

i lay down at night now and i am lost in the pain.  there are times i can fall asleep and not think about anything, but my mind is, i don't know, too fast, too analytical, too much it's own brain has a mind of it's own.  the old psychology 101 experiment:  "don't think about the white polar bear."  and then how can you not think of it?  when you try so hard to be normal, to heal, to mend yourself by yourself, tell yourself, "for Heaven's sake it's been 3 and a half years.  move on.  do something with yourself.  other people have made changes.  others are writing about all they do, all they go see, their new lives and adventures; and for some, even their new loves"  but i cannot.  we were so involved with each other.  we weren't those people who finished each other's sentences.  we started out saying the exact same thing at the same time.

he is the mighty ocean drawn to my quiet beach.

he was my second husband.  he was my soul mate.  he was the one who found me in the blackest room and brought me out into the light.  he tried so hard to set me free of the flashbacks.  and then one night, lit by the silver, coldness of the brightest moon, whoosh!  gone from me.  literally gone in minutes.  so fast.  i could not save him which meant i could not save me.

how do i get over watching the life leave his eyes?  my mind hates me.  i suddenly flash on his eyes going blank.  going dull.  him just ..... going.  how do i get over watching him die like that and no amount of CPR could save him?

i want to be better.  i am trying.  i am fighting for it.  i work so hard at work.  i come back here and work so hard on other people's things.  i pretend i am normal.  i fake normalcy.  i am exhausted.  i want to do what other people are doing.  i want to take trips.  i want to go out with friends and have just a couple of hours to forget.  i want to laugh and enjoy one day, one afternoon; just have an evening where i can relax and be free of worry and pain and loneliness.  i'd love to sit and talk about loss and death and what it takes from us with someone who understands.  i want that black, morbid humor to rise up and the both of us laugh while tears fall.  i wish i could find a kindred spirit.

but what i really want is to be with him again.  i want to be with him in that space and time where the world could not encroach and try to hurt us, worry us, take from us the serenity of us simply being together. 

i am in mourning.  i am melancholy.  i seem to be making a career choice here.  artist.  bear builder.  widow.  not necessarily in that order.

i will always be, metaphorically, that woman {angel} draped over the tomb.  i will never get over this.  but i will keep going.

so new person who is writing to me, offering me soothing words and kind thoughts; you think you know but you don't.  you cannot know how humbly grateful i am for what you are saying.  it sounds nice.  thank you for writing.  i will take what i can get for as long as it lasts, and i won't find fault when you stop and move on to another project.  i know i am not truly salvageable.  not all the pieces are there anymore.

and somewhere out in the wild beyond a Dragon is saying,  

"aw, Baby, aw, my little Beach Bunny, come lie down here with me and let me rub your head and tell you how much i love you.  you're doing so great.  i am so proud of you.  aw, Baby, i wish i could take it all away.  but i'm here now and i won't ever leave you.  i promise.

i won't ever leave you alone."

Friday, August 17, 2012

unanswerable questions

are you safe and happy?

do you miss me?

can you see me?

if so are you proud of me?

do you still love me?

i've lost so much weight; one third of what i used to weigh.

do you think i'm still pretty, or prettier?

my blonde hair has silver threads through it now.

do you think it looks like moonlight?

are you waiting for me?

can you come get me when it's my time to leave?

were you scared?

could you hear me and understand me?

did it make it easier?

do you know how much i love you?

is it okay for me to live like i am, loving you like i do?

you know i can't do it any other way because i love you so much.

remember what we had?  do you remember the way we were?

how can i live any other way than to live honoring you and simply being the way i am?

i guess that's all.

i miss you.

i wish you could go with me back to the doctor's on Monday.

i'm tired.

i love you.

i have to go to work now.

please watch over me if you're allowed to.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

tenth wedding anniversary

"Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair is a totally different thing. A marriage is a commitment to that which you are. That person is literally your other half. And you and the other are one. A love affair isn't that. That is a relationship of pleasure, and when it gets to be unpleasurable , its off. But a marriage is a life commitment, and a life commitment means the prime concern of your life. If marriage is not the prime concern, you are not married."
- Joseph Campbell

marriage is a sacrament.  it is our 10th wedding anniversary today.
happy anniversary, my love.

what we had, as i still feel it, and as i remember it, as i know it, goes even deeper that Joseph Campbell's words above.  after a mission he told me once, "you can look at me and know what hurts.  when i come back, you know exactly what to do and say to me.  they only ask for details.  they never think about what it does to me to do those things.  but you know.  you understand and care about me.  you know it all and you still love me and that's amazing."

i said to him, "you deserve better than what you've been allowed to have.  you deserve a peaceful life because, warrior that you are, you are a gentle and peaceful spirit.  i love you and i will always love you, no matter what."

"no matter what" happened and he died.  he died just as he was being allowed to live that peaceful life.  i believe he is at peace now.  to think otherwise would be wrong.  i told him that the Archangel Michael is a warrior.  i told him that Michael had his back.  and so did i.  he would laugh and say, "Baby, you don't know.  i'm going straight to Hell."  it was said with laughter but there was worry in there, too.  i told him he would most assuredly go to Paradise.  he was honorable, loyal, faithful, and true.

that word, true, says so much about who he is.  "a marriage of true minds."  that what we had.  in every way possible, mind, body, spirit, soul, we were true to each other.  he was true to his country.  i have met a lot of people and i can say, in my humble opinion, there is none better.  

i love him and i always will.  he is larger than life and the legend of him does not hold a candle to what he did and who he is.  he loved me.  he smiled at me.  he touched me, held my hand, appreciated me, respected me, listened to me.....he was/is amazing and no one can compare.

one oddity, i cannot look at his urn to often or for too long.  i protect it and guard it.  but looking at it, imagining his body in there; it's too much.  but i will never put it away.  i would miss its presence.

it's my wedding anniversary today.  10 years with my Dragon.  here's to 1000 more.

"may you live a thousand years and i a thousand less one day
that i may never know that you have passed away."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

longing, grief, melancholia ~ just another August

August has already hit hard.  sleepless.  memories and pain over the loss at getting any chance to create more.

his birthday has passed.  he will always be to me the age he was when he died.  handsome with his silvery white hair and beard. the color of moonlight.  his eyes with their devilish gleam.  his booming laugh.  he will never age. he will never become infirmed with a slow, old man's gate or trembling hands.  he will always be, in my memories, virile, active, a Dragon among men.  so powerful an image.  if only you could have seen him climbing over the rocks beside the ocean where we lived together.  fearless.

he was the one who should have lived.  he had so much life in him while i have always been the observer.  i am timid and quiet, and now, beaten down and grief-stricken.  how can i go on without him and yet somehow i do.  how can it now be almost 3 and a half years since i last was held in his warm and protective embrace, and yet, the days, the years continue to ooze by like some black sludge i have to wade through each and every day.  i am exhausted and struggle at times to find the reason for my being here, but simply waking up means there is a reason even if i cannot find it.  Where's Waldo?  where is my reason for still being here?  punishment?  a worthy purpose?  it is a puzzle that still intrigues.  i look for something good i have done for someone every day so that when i wait for sleep to come over me, i can say, "okay, that's why i was alive today."  it's not bitterness speaking.  it is melancholy.  wistful dreams for something i can no longer have and wonder at what i am supposed to do now.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August ~ laying down and ending the struggle

i give up.

i am not going to fight this anymore.

i have tried to do what i was told;
how to live, how to be a good friend to other people {keep giving more and more,}
what's wrong with me {not giving enough and being too sensitive,}
but mostly,
how to grieve

i saw an article posted on Facebook.
what grievers cannot do.  i thought, "here i am."

1. greivers cannot get over it.  "grief has no closure.  it is lifelong."
thank you.  thank you for that.

2. grievers cannot move on.  "they can move forward but they will never forget their loved on."
thank you.  thank you for re-terming the moving on/continuing life thing.

3. grievers cannot be their old self again.  we are irrevocably changed. forever.
thank you.  {on my knees saying...} thank you for saying that.

4. grievers cannot stop hurting.  "the hard truth is that painful feelings of grief will arise again and again over the years."
coming up only <~~ see that?  ONLY 3 and a half years, and i hurt, i HURT.

i miss him.  i want him here with me.

Bunny/me finished painting Bunny's car.  the passenger side is the night of a full moon.
it has Dickinson's quote about death on it.

"Death is a wild night and a new road."

my new life here without him is a wild night every day and always a new road.
different things happen everyday that i want to talk to him about.

i was sick this week.  i worked but i was sick.  before my shift yesterday i went to the doctor.
he ran a liver test to see if the medicine was making me sick.
i have been waiting here, my day off, all day, to see if he would have to call me with bad results.
he said he would get the results today and call me if there was a problem.
it is not 10 minutes to 7 PM and i have not heard from him so i am guessing i am okay.
just a virus.

but i needed him.  i needed him and he couldn't be there for me like he always was.
i hope he wasn't looking down at me and worrying about me worrying myself to death here about
something i cannot, canNOT control.

i need him but he cannot come help me, be with me, hold me, comfort me,
sleep with me, live the rest of our lives together.

after reading that article i am laying myself down in that crevasse i have fallen into.
there is a kind of comfort is laying down with your grief.  i accept that he has died.
he died under my hands as i failed in the CPR.
i saw the light, the life leave his eyes and i had to control the screams in my head and heart.
i had to stop myself from begging him not to go.
so i told him over and over that it was okay.  that i love him.  that i always will love him.
and he died before the paramedics got there.
 when we walked all over the island, he never went that far ahead of me that he didn't keep me in sight.  he would say, "i knew you weren't close."
i asked him once how he knew.  the wind in the leaves, the sounds of the surf, whatever noise masked our footfalls, how did he know i had stopped to take a photograph.
"i couldn't feel you.  you are part of me.  you are my heartbeat, my little Beach Bunny.  i'll always know if you're not close to me."
{for a big tough Marine he could be poetic.}

his heart stopped under my hands.  not only could i not feel it, i could not get it started again.
no one could.

he left our life together on a cold, wild night of a full moon.
fourteen below.  5 feet of snow on the ground.

after reading that article i realize it's okay to be me.  a few people have told me it's okay to be
like i am, missing him as i do,
but i've never heard it expressed like this, exactly like this from an expert?

so i am going to lay down and let go of the struggle to "move on,", "get over it," "stop hurting so much," and "stop living in the past."
i am going to keep the photos up.  keep the urn on the mantle with his medals and the folded flag.
i am going to lay down in the soft grass of my grief and stare at the sky.
i am ending my struggle to conform.

here is my little manifesto

i am a widow and i am grieving.  i will grieve for a long time.
i will do it my way.
i will do whatever brings me solace and comfort in a world that no longer has either.
i will think of him, talk about him, and talk to him.
i will love him forever.
i will probably, most likely, most assuredly never date.
i will always be in love with my husband.

i am a widow of 3 and a half years and i am going to go lay down now.

i will face August ~ his birthday, the 3 and a half year mark, and our wedding anniversary
laying down.

i am through with the books and the guides and the steps and the ladders to happiness.
i had happiness.
i had him.

and if that photo of him up there is any sign,
he is waiting around for me,
because, i know for a fact
that he doesn't sense me as being too near him physically right now,
or too far away since i carry him in my soul.

please, God, let him come find me when it's my time to go.
if he can't be there to see me go as i did for him,
let him be standing there with open arms to see me coming towards him.