Guilt Trippin’, across the universe…

….not in the Starship Enterprise, and there’s no Captain Kirk…

Yes, I am Guilt Tripping. I’m capitalizing because this is not medium sized guilt tripping. This is Capital Letter Guilt Tripping, put you in timeout facing the corner guilt tripping….And why, you ask?

The last time he came to visit me, it was Labor Day weekend. The majority of the visit was pure lovely. And then it ended with a fight. The fight was my fault. And then the rest of September was rocky.  And now it’s September. I want last September back. I want a do-over. Life has no do-overs. All I have now is this regret. I wronged him! Is that why Scripture says, ‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger’? (Ephesians 4:26) Maybe that’s one reason. Hell of a way to learn.

October was great, relationship-wise. The ship had righted itself. Our anniversary came, October 3rd. That last weekend we had together, we didn’t spend nearly enough one-on-one time together. Again, my fault. Guilt guilt guilt…I didn’t know he was about to die….

I suppose if I had known, me and his mother would have been in each other’s way trying to play nursemaid….But I swear to God, I would have crawled over broken glass for a chance to do it. And yet, I’m sure there are plenty who lost their loved one the slow way who’d trade places with me…

Lord have mercy. Even one day of warning….I wish…Wishing does no good, but I still wish…

And I tell myself, It’s not my fault, that he died. It really isn’t. I haven’t had an attack of the guilts in months. I guess Labor Day coming up is a trigger now. Trigger, trigger, trigger…is all of life a minefield now?

I try to think of last year’s Labor Day weekend and my heart is heavy, and it burns. I can’t write about it. Not yet, at least.

There is wailing to the very soul of the world…
If all the plagues of Egypt hit,
that would be the tenth part of what I feel.
Locusts have eaten up my soul.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy….
There’s a wrongness to the roots of the world,
The world is out of joint, 
Off-kilter, balanced precariously  
On the edge of a dime; 
It has lost all rhythm and all rhyme; 
It lists like a ship, and I’m seasick 
Will I never get my sea-legs?
Oh cast me overboard like Jonah,
Or dispatch me like Jael with her tent peg…
I’m lost and I’m tired and I have too much time
That I lug like a ton of bricks.

I miss seminary. I miss the services (except matins). I miss classes. I miss having intellectual discussions with my classmates and their wives…I miss the community…There are things I don’t miss, too. I know I couldn’t keep up with it right now. But I miss my people, and I miss the last place that felt like home. If that makes any sense….And my beloved Nelson is buried not far from there….

I have a place to live, but no home…I miss having a home. Although I never lived with him, my home died with Nelson….Where he was, was home. I told him so, and it was true. And it still is.

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Things I dread…

I dread October. October 3rd was our anniversary. That weekend last year was also the last time I saw him alive. That will be 11 months’ sadiversary, one year since I saw him alive…Dread, dread, dread…

Labor Day weekend was the last time I saw him here…he came to visit me. Oh dear, and it’s next weekend. And it’s the first weekend of the month…the anniversary part of the month. Who knew that months had their own anniversaries? I didn’t, before this….

And then the month after October. November. November 6, he died, and the world ended…It has faked its continuance fairly well, I must say. The sun continues to rise and set. But November is coming. And then it will be Thanksgiving again, another Thanksgiving without him. Last year it was so awful. No one mentioned him. I think they were afraid. I’m not sure what they were afraid of…the worst has already happened.

How is it, after the world’s ended, that the earth keeps on turning? Didn’t it get the memo?

Seriously.

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Hearts shouldn’t stop before their time

Hearts shouldn’t stop before their time;
They should work properly, and do what they’re told.
Folks should wait to die, for when they’re good and old;
To die beforetime breaks all sense and reason.  No,
They should wait, til they’re long past their prime,
For the old-folks-in-rocking-chairs-season:
When the children are grown, and the grandchildren too;
When the balm for their survivors’ tears, is
“Well, he was old and full of years.”

He wasn’t old and full of years.
My love was young, and sparkling full of life;  
And full of plans, and hopes, and dreams;
And one was to make me his wife.      
And now I am left with what’s left,  
When your love, and your dreams, are both buried.  
I died with him also that day–don’t you know?  
But it was him only they carried.

What I cannot get out of my head:
He isn’t supposed to be dead.

written Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 4:46 pm, 5:00 pm 
revised Thursday, August 19, 2010, 4:02 am

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The Long Sojourn

How do I get there?
To the place of unmisery    
To that place that isn’t   
The worst of places to be– 
How do I get there?
Does it exist anywhere?
Where’s my directions?  
I’m tired; I’m tired of traveling blind,
Though it keeps the sandstorm
Out of my eyes– 
Oh good Lord I’m tired
Whittled-down tired
I’m tired to the core of the core
I’ve had enough, and enough, and enough,
And I don’t want to take anymore.
Can you hear my cries?
You did not warn,  
I was led to the desert to die
In panic, confusion, and sorrrow, and haste–
Oh, rescue me now from the trackless wastes
Lest I be food for vultures and jackals– 
Did you lead me out of Egypt to perish here,
Without even a reason why?
O rescue me, O lead me out
With your pillar of fire and your pillar of cloud–
If truly me do you cherish
Then save me from hence, lest I perish.

written August 17, 2010, around 3 am

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Jabberwocky’s Cousin

Beware the counterfactual hypothetical
The jaws that bite, the teeth that snatch;
Beware the jub-jub bird, and shun
The frumious bandersnatch.

The counterfactual hypothetical
That cousin to the Jabberwock–
That knits a daisy chain of Ifs
That trap you fast, after it stalks.

It lies in wait;
It casts its net.
It won’t let you remember
It won’t let you forget.

So grab your vorpal blade, my son!
Follow its trail, and stalk
The counterfactual hypothetical,
That cousin to the Jabberwock.

Yes, grab that vorpal blade, my son,
And let thy blade go snicker-snack!
Cut off its head, and with it dead,
You’ll come galumphing back.

Callooh! Callay! O frabjous day!
We’ll chortle in our joy.
The counterfactual hypothetical
Can only be killed by means
Equally fantastic
And purely theoretical.

What If, If Only, Might Have Been–
Slay rhetorical nonsense
With nonsense equally rhetorical;
Slay the soul-killing guilt trip
By that sword hyperborical.

Oh vorpal blade, what happy day
Awaits your snicker-snackery!
Although Jabberwocky’s Cousin,
He’s quite the nut to crack
But that vorpal blade is surely going snicker-snack.
This I promise and I will not take back.

If only, if only, if only–
Then I wouldn’t be sad.
Then I wouldn’t be lonely.
Does this make me not sad?
Does this make me not lonely?

No! It does not.
It is with its own web
That it’s got to be caught
Then you can break its back
And that vorpal blade can go snicker-snack.

written 4/15/2010

the text of my inspiration, Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”

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at 2:04 am

help me
I cannot stand it
I do not
know how I stand
nor do I
start to understand
oh God
I cannot–
How?
help me
help me
please
now…

Posted in grief, grief poem, grief poem I wrote, poem, poem I wrote, poetry, unwedded widow, unwedded widowhood, widow, widowhood | 5 Comments

There’s an art to loss

written 6/8/2010

There’s an art to loss
There’s an art to saying goodbye
There’s an art to
Breathe in breathe out
There’s an art to asking why
And there’s an art to not asking
There’s an art, when the dance is all stilled,
To hold and release
Without stumbling
To roll as you fall
When the ground starts shaking
When the earth is quaking
There’s an art to loss
There’s an art
when your heart is breaking
There’s an art
There’s an art to breaking your heart.

But there is no art, when you’re broken
When every word has been spoken
When the building has fallen, each brick on your head,
When reality stands thus: I live, and he’s dead.

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Meaningful pseudonyms

So there was a church event tonight and I had a chance to chat with a friend that I haven’t chatted with in a while. We talked about a mutual friend (isn’t she great?) and I mentioned having chatted with her on Facebook. Oh, said my friend, I’m a little nervous about joining that.

I said, you don’t have to join using your real name! I’m on there with my real name and a psuedonym. So I told her my pseudonym–it’s my name on this blog, and on the Facebook and Twitter accounts that go along with it–Hira Animfefte. My friend is Greek, so I didn’t need to translate. She laughed.

I said, Hey, it’s what I am! I embrace it! The unwedded widow.

I love having a title. Not just a label. A title. It’s a badge of honor.

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Rejoice? O Unwedded Widow…

I’ve done a lot of connecting with widows online lately, and I’m feeling more and more comfortable self-identifying as such. It’s liberating. There’s a word for me! I’ll just add a modifier. “Unmarried widow.” It reminds me of the classic Orthodox hymn, “Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride” (otherwise known as “Agni Parthene” in the Greek). If the Holy Theotokos (God-bearer) and Ever-virgin Mary can be called Unwedded Bride, why can’t I be an Unwedded Widow?

Not so sure about the “Rejoice” part…But if somebody can write a hymn called “Glory to God in all things” (which is beautiful, by the way) in the Gulag, starving to death in a concentration camp in Siberia, maybe at some point I’ll be able to actually rejoice. (How on earth did he DO that? Well, I also wonder how St Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia managed to survive over a decade in a black basalt pit underground without losing his mind…I visited it once…Darkness, dampness, and silence…)

But one thing I can rejoice at: there is a word for me! Widow! Unmarried widow, unwedded widow…Add a modifier, I have a phrase. Hira Animfefte (Xera Anymphefte) (Greek), Vdova Nenevestnaya (Russian/Slavonic), Unwedded Widow.

Hira is actually Greek for widow, so literally my moniker is Widow Unwedded. It’s my title; nay, it’s my badge of honor.

I had The Real Thing. I loved truly, I loved much, and I was loved as much or more in return. Warts and all. Oh, I know what all his faults were, and I remember them with affection. A wonderful thing a friend of mine told me the week after my beloved Nelson died, when I was desperate for stories of him–she told me about a time he was waiting for me outside our dorm building while she was smoking with her then-boyfriend. Remarking on my lateness in getting myself out the door, he remarked affectionately, “Oh, it’s just one of her adorable little quirks.”

I miss the way he would look at me–with love, with affection, sometimes with barely-contained lust…I miss talking to him for hours about anything and everything. I miss learning about classical music from him. I see my nearly 2-year-old nephew displaying some musical aptitude, and it hurts that he won’t have an Uncle Nelson to teach him to play the violin…It hurts that we never got to be married, even for one day. It hurts that we never got to have children together. What a waste of good genetic material!

I was at CVS yesterday to pick up some perscriptions, and spent some time in the shampoo aisle…Before he died I would periodically buy him curly hair products. I used to love encouraging the curls in his hair to do their adorable ringlet thing. For some reason he usually just smooshed it down, which made it wavy…but given the right conditioning product and playing with it with your fingers, it would totally do the ringlet thing. *Swoon!* And he loved it when I played with his hair. It felt good to him. And he liked the results. …So now I see curly hair products and they all scream “Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!” and I want to cry, but I can’t, because I seem to need to reach critical mass on tears before they come out or something. AAAURGH!

Eye products too. For contact lenses. He was always carrying around a gigantic bottle and putting eyedrops in his eyes. Before he died he’d replaced his contacts with glasses…He was going to get contacts again, he was planning to, but of course it never happened…So the contacts solution aisle also screams “Nelson!” and it’s like a knife in my heart. And I think, he shouldn’t be dead. He shouldn’t be dead! He shouldn’t be dead! He was only 45. He had so many big plans! He was so lively, so vibrant!

Well, that’s enough for now…I’ll write more later…Thanks for reading…

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I found The Real Thing.

True love. The whole nine yards. It’s true. It’s possible. It happened to me.

And then, in a half-hour to forty-five minutes, I had lost him. He died. I found out a half hour later. I nearly fainted. It was November 7th, 2009, a half hour after midnight, and my life had forever changed.

In this blog, I will recount my story.

We had planned to wed. Circumstances intervened. I was expecting a proposal around December 2009/January 2010. I was expecting to spend Thanksgiving with him. But he was gone.

Are you an unwedded widow/er? Did you lose the love of your life, who wasn’t your spouse?  I’d love it if you’d connect with me. Are you the regular kind of widow/er? Please connect with me too! We who are in that club that nobody wants to join, and that has the WORST hazing procedure imaginable…we need to unite and support one another. Lest we go mad.

Posted in grief, labels, reflection, titles, unwedded widow, unwedded widowhood, widow, widowhood | 20 Comments