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, December 31, 2012

the closing of the year & silver linings

"if i cannot bring you comfort, then at least i bring you hope for nothing is more precious than the time we have and so we all must learn from small misfortunes, count the blessings that are real.  ring out the bells for Christmas and the closing of the year."

it's been a rough 8 months.  new position that brought with it hard and exhausting dilemmas from people whose arrogance and self-entitlement rode over their common sense.  silver lining?  "i'm still here you bastards." ~ Steve McQueen

the VA wants their money back.  they made a mistake, they say, way back in April of 2011, and so they want all their money back; all of it; as in all of it.  going to ask for a waiver based on it's their effing mistake.  hardship on my part.  as in, i don't effing have almost $13,000.  silver lining?  i will fight this.

my hands hurt.  my knees hurt.  the doctor said that i have moderate to severe arthritis.  it will get worse.  try to keep moving and, basically, good luck with that.  i'm not sure which is harder to accept, seeing something on the table that would work but cannot afford it, or having the doctor say that there is really nothing he can do.  the meds he scripted for me raise my blood pressure too much so i am off them and going to just "keep moving."  silver lining?  giving up is not an option.

my rent went up but not too awful.  hopefully i get a cost of living raise in Feb. or Mar. or whenever.  i don't eat as much anymore due to the fact that i need to pay my bills first.  silver lining?  i've lost more weight.  you can never be too rich or too thin, right?  well, since i will never be even just okay financially by default i'll go for the too thin part.

i miss him.  i miss him badly.  i could really use his advice.  a hug.  someone who will sit and listen to me.  i like looking into his eyes when we talked.  he really did listen to me.  i watch my co-workers' faces and unless it's all about them, they don't listen.  they have these micro-expressions that range from annoyance to boredom.  i know when to shut up; right after i say, "no, i'm fine.   silver lining?  i feel as mysterious as Greta Garbo.

but i miss him and i've been thinking about my grief lately and wondering again if i am normal.  i found this poem in a book.

"what is a ghost.
a tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again?
a moment of pain, perhaps something dead
which still seems to be alive.
an emotion suspended in time
like a blurred photograph,
like an insect trapped in amber.
a ghost.  that's what i am."

i feel like a ghost.  i am there but i am suffering over the death of my husband and all the unresolved questions and emotions.  it's an unfinished love story.

a man i've known for a very long time died recently.  he was my maths teacher in junior high school.  he and i and the school librarian, Miss Stiles, had something in common ~ books and more specifically Shakespeare.  i have volunteered in libraries my entire life.  i love books.  not Kindle because you cannot dog ear a Kindle or write in the margins, but books.  i found Miss Stiles and Hal when i was 13 and she was in her 60's and he was in his late 20's or early 30's.  they wrote hall passes for me to meet them twice a month for lunches in the library with them for all of 7th, 8th, and 9th grades.  we'd talk books.  we'd share ideas.  i listened so intently to them and their own philosophies, points of view, their own personal life stories that were so parallel.  i learned a great deal about books, and people, from these two teachers.

Miss Stiles had become engaged at 19 but her fiancee had gone off to fight in WWII.  he died.  she never took off her engagement ring, never dated, never loved anyone but him.  she died when i was in high school of a stroke.  Hal called my mother to tell her and asked if he could come over and be the one to tell me.  he sat with me and my mother, telling me of how Miss Stiles wasn't in pain and that she was with her beloved now.  i remember asking him if he was jealous.  my mother was shocked at my question but Hal just smiled and shushed my mother.  i vividly remembering him saying to her, "your daughter has an acute understanding of the human condition."  to me he said, "thank you for asking and yes, i am a little bit, but it isn't my time to go.  there's still a lot for us to talk about." 

Hal had married when he was about 26 or 27.  they married a week before Christmas.  she was killed in a car accident when they had been married for only 3 days.  he never got to spend Christmas with her.  Hal loved Christmas.  he cherished all of it.  reindeer.  tinsel.  Santa Claus.  he kept the religious aspect out of school but he was deeply religious.  his faith was, as he said, all he had to hang onto now that she was gone.  he deeply believed she was with him always.  he claimed he could feel her hand on his shoulder.  he loved her with all his heart.  and we kept up with each other off and on over all this time.  he did have a lot to share with me.  more books.  more stories of how he felt about the way parenting and society was evolving and the sadness he felt over it.  he felt we had gotten away from the true definition of the word family.

he died a few days ago after celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary alone.  i know he got to spend his first Christmas together with his wife.  he'd waited so long for it.  no one, especially not God, would deny him his eternity with his beloved wife.  am i jealous?  a little bit, but it's not my time to go.  i've got my two children and they aren't ready for me to die.  {i know Hal and Miss Stiles are up there talking books.}

silver lining on these stories of these two people?  i got to meet them and be part of their lives.  i got to listen to what they had to say.  i had the rare opportunity to be a listener to someone's grief long before i knew what grief was.

life is rough for me but i have a small place.  i have a job.  i have my dogs and my children.  i cry a lot still.  i miss him always.  i wish i had a moment to have a friend.  my medical problems seem endless.  my anxiety and frustrations are high, but i do have all those things i just listed.

so if i cannot bring you comfort, then at least i bring you hope.  hope for silver linings.  hope for a net to catch you if you fall.  hope for peace.


4 comments:

Lourdes said...

Thank you-
I wish you a very peaceful New Year filled with health and solace.

Debbie said...

Here's to more silver linings in 2013. Happy New Year Susan.

thelmaz said...

I wish you peace in the coming year and relief from your troubles and pain.

judemiller1 said...

Every problem seems harder, when you are alone. Even the physical pain seems worse. There is no soft place to fall. Scary.

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