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.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Christmas night is here.  i had my to children with me today.  my son got here on the evening of the 23rd.  spent all Christmas eve with him and my daughter, and all Christmas day.  my two babies together.  the Three Musketeers.

she left after supper to go back to her place with her husband.  he is leaving tomorrow on a plane.  hard to see him go.  so hard to see the sun set and know that this time of togetherness is over.

they are the lights of my life - fun, funny, decent, kind, sensitive, strong, protective, helpful, caring - i adore them both.  i need them so much.

i wish this Christmas would never end; that the clock had broken and we were just sitting there talking and laughing forever.

i think that that is how i will always remember them; us; laughing and talking and just being together in that moment.

the best gifts do not come in wrapping paper.  they come in cars and on airplanes and they wear clothes and they smile and talk and they call you "mom."

i wish he were here.  i miss him so much when the children return to their lives.  this "empty nest" would be a tad easier if i had his arms to turn to.  but i will cuddle down in bed with the dogs and think about one day at a time.  worry about one day.  that's all i can handle.

$12,380 is what the VA wants paid back.  it's their fault.  i wrote to them.  they admit it in their letter.  my son and daughter got together to read the letter today.  we are fighting it.  we are going to file for a waiver.  financial hardship.  can't pay that back.  not my fault if they kept sending me money.

my fingers are crossed.  i hope they see reason and let one widow just slide on by.  just let me go, please.

i wish all who read a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  i wish all who read peace in their hearts and minds and rest for their weary spirits.

i am headed to bed to thank my lucky stars for my two children and this one Christmas that we got to have together.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

the end of the world / the Dragon returns

it's happened.  the Veteran's Administration has risen up to keep me in the teeth, the stomach, and when i am doubled over, they are crushing my back.

i wrote to them all along telling them about my job, how much i am making with each raise.  i have never lied to them or kept them in the dark.

i got my response from them tonight in my mail.

dated Nov. 28, 2012, they have written that they have been overpaying me since..............

April of 2011.

19 months ago.

they have just now figured out, or are ready to implement their new edict.  no more death pension for Bunny.

oh, but wait.  they have been overpaying me as far as they are concerned.  their words:
"We have created an overpayment in your account."

and now they want me to pay it back.  they will let me know in a separate letter how much they have overpaid me, and how i can "repay this debt."

i am terrified, devastated, in shock, worried, so many emotions and feelings.  i am crying and laughing at the same time.  crying in terror at paying back 19 months of pension.  laughing at the fact that it has taken them 19 effing months to put this together, get the letter written, and set this in motion.

how am i going to live?  this was my rent money?  who can i make it? eat?  diabetes medicine?  gas for work? high blood pressure meds? food?  car payment?  car insurance? 

i am falling into an abyss.  what do i do?


oh, my God, my love!  my sweet wife!  please hold on.  please don't let go.  keep yourself safe.  take care of yourself.  somehow you will survive this.  somehow it will be okay.  {my son and daughter} said they will help you work it out.  lean on them if you feel yourself wanting to give up.  please, Baby, please don't give up.  please, don't let this scare you.  you and the kids will get this worked out.

oh, Christ, why did i have to die and leave her?  she needs me!  she NEEDS ME!!

Honey, hang on.  just close your eyes and feel me.  i'm here.  i really am still here.  oh, Baby.  don't let this ruin your Christmas with the kids.  breathe, Bunny Love.  breathe.  oh, please, just keep breathing.  you deserve to breathe free.  God, i wish i could take this all away from you.  you deserve an easier time.  you work so hard and now, to have them do this.  Shit.  oh, honey.  please just hang on.  i'm here.  talk to me.  


i don't know what i'll do, but i'll have to do something.  they want their money back even though it is their mistake.  i wish he were here to talk to .  i need him to hold me and tell me it's going to be okay.  i really don't know if i can do it anymore.  i feel myself breaking apart inside; like i've burned up inside with this hot fear that has scorched my insides.  i feel myself flaking off piece by piece and blowing away in the breeze.  i am losing my humor, my spirit, my energy, my desire to anything other than to just survive.  
find a friend?  i'm too wiped out with work and worry.
take a class maybe?  i'm too wiped out with work and worry.
breathe free and embrace what i have accomplished?  i'm too wiped out with work and worry.

and Christmas with my children?  i am going to embrace it and them and take as much peace and love and absorb the memories from it as i can.  it might be my last one.

i am shattered into a billion pieces.  i feel gone inside; like a flame has gone out and the wick has been cut off to that it will never be able to catch again.

how do i eat?  how do i live?  how do i pay this back?  their mistake.  my debt.  i think i need to go throw up.

i think i will go to bed and have a stroke.  


oh, Babe.  suffering.  why do this to her now?  why do this to her?  stop the pension, okay, but tell her to pay them back?  that is wrong!  i need to go back.  i need to just go back for a little while and help her with this.  please, God.  let me just help her..................


my new mantra.  "don't lose hope.  try not to lose hope. you used to be loved.  the kids love you.  somehow you will find a way.  don't lose hope." 

i wish you were here.


i am here.