The Dragon Journal

May 2nd, 2011


Thank you to all for your beautiful, kind, compassionate and generous words during this time of grief and sadness. Camille and The SC have been touched by your comforting comments which have been accepted with gratitude.  We honor that many of you have had similar experiences and we are aware that grief is universal.  Your expressions of empathy have provided solace and support.  Even though we knew that Nelson was leaving, we weren’t prepared for the feelings of devastation, disorientation, and the heaviness of heart.  Every day is unfamiliar as we slowly adjust to the overwhelming loss of a magnificent man.

I have begun referring to the fabric covered dragon journal and my notes that were recorded prior to Nelson’s death. It’s helpful to have direction with the tasks that were his in the division of labor within our relationship.  The structure helps when I feel adrift and dazed. The house seems large now without his presence which held so much space in our peaceful sanctuary, our home.  The silence and the inability to have an exchange of words.  The longing for him to be here for just one more day, hour, minute.  ‘Who am I?’ in this life without him?  Spending time in our home surrounded by memories, wearing his clothes, and walking in the park as we did many times together over the years, soothes my broken heart as I navigate each day, searching for peace within chaos.



28 Responses to “The Dragon Journal”

  1. Lonnie

    Well said. Well felt. Try to feel our love as a layer to keep you warm in this shivering time. I know it helps only a little. Remember everytime you miss him is a testament to your love. The pain may never cease, but you will learn to wear it with grace.

  2. Linda

    My heart is so full for you, Judith. Like everyone here, I am sure, I think of the three of you a dozen times during the day. I can only imagine the void, and send whatever tiny measure of support my inadequate words can offer to you and Camille. More love to you, always.

  3. SizzleandZoom

    Love to you and Camille. I have thought often of you and Nelson and Camille. Lonnie said it so beautifully. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts and love with us.

  4. Rebecca

    Dear Judith,
    I have been thinking about you and Camille and how hard it has been for you both to deal with this overwhelming loss. Please know how much you mean to us all and that we are all sending warmest thoughts and positive vibes to you during this mourning process. Although I never met Nelson, I know that he was an exceptional man and will be deeply missed.

  5. Pam @over50feeling40

    Judith, I just cannot get you out of my thoughts and prayers. Your writing is so powerful and brings all of us closer to you. The only solace is that you have Camille and she has you. As long as you write, I will be here to read and to reach out with a hand of comfort.

  6. Couture Allure

    I think of you every day, dear Judith. Take your time and honor your grieving process. Know that we are all here for you and with you in spirit.

  7. Barbara

    I learned 2 weeks back that my mom has 2 -3 months to live (Ovarian cancer) and I am blogging in hopes to navigate my grief but it is not helping. And yet, I continue to write.
    I keep hoping for a miracle but I know in my heart we have already had our miracle as most women with O. cancer do not make it past 5 years. My mom is at 6 1/2.
    And so dear one, I cannot know how you feel but I share in your grief and I am sending part of my positive energy to you. There will never be words of comfort for you but let the love Nelson had for you fill your being like a warm blanket. Thank you for opening your heart to us.

  8. carolyn

    The dragon. That is what grief is… overwhelming until battled and then gentled into the cover of a journal that holds all secrets. Keep writing, keep being. Love, C

  9. Judy Carpenter

    I think peace only comes in small doses after a loss. Sometimes only a minute at a time and then gone again. The idea that time heals is true but it offends me because time takes me further away from the person lost. I do think the time you had with Nelson is a wonder. Your expressions of love for him and the way he made you feel is a gift many of us never have. I am so hopeful that you can keep that memory safe in your heart.

  10. Willa

    The dragon will see you through. The Chinese dragon symbolizes power and excellence, valiancy and boldness, heroism and perseverance, nobility and divinity. A dragon overcomes obstacles until success. Just as I know you to be, the dragon is optimistic. Take care, my friend.


    I cannot begin to imagen what you are feeling, but I think perhaps carrying on with the blog, that was yours and Nelson, at your own pace, might help to anchor your soul and mind.
    Loving you.

  12. Shelley

    It is true, we have all experienced grief at some point in our lives, or if we haven’t experienced it yet, the time will certainly come, but everyone’s grief is a personal journey that will vary in length and intensity. My heart aches for you and Camille and what you are going through. I am glad that these messages of hope and love are helping to make the pain a bit more bearable, and I encourage you to continue with your blog.

  13. Debbi

    Dear Judith,
    I have been thinking of you everyday. I cannot know how you feel as each of us feels our grief in different ways. Although it may not seem like it now, you are strong and beautiful and you will make it through this life challenge with the grace you faced the previous challenge. Know that many of us are thinking of you and wishing you only the best.

  14. Christie-mimi's mom

    Last breath, his pain is over. How fragile we all are. What a wonder the dance of life is. Breath in all of it. Walk through your grief and know you are not alone, my heart is with you.

  15. RobinDenning

    thinking of you and Camille during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your experiences. You express these things so beautifully and it helps to have people like you among us.

  16. Jean

    I imagine that this “reality” feels utterly surreal, and I’m so glad you have little things to anchor you as you continue each day. I echo Sacramento’s thought above; I remember what you said about the impetus for starting your blog i.e. what do you love to do? Since it’s start, I’m sure you have experienced many miracles and I know there are many, many more to come.

    I’ve always strongly felt that Nelson was helping create this “vehicle of miracles” to help support you at this time and beyond. Hopefully it does. You have given so much to us, in ways that are at times impossible to put into words. And so, thinking of you with love and gratitude. …..J.

  17. Victoria Lee

    So, please come back with your fabulous outfits and photos. And leave the wonderful picture of Nelson on the site; what an inspiring smile he has. We all miss him but please don’t make us miss you too.

  18. That's Not My Age

    I’m so sorry to hear about Nelson – that’s such a beautiful photo, below – and I’m sure you will find peace. The Year off Magical Thinking by Joan Didion is a wonderful book, an account of the year following her husband’s death, it’s beautifully written and it might help (?)

  19. Judi

    I’m glad you’re finding solace, even while your world is upside down and oh so confusing in your loss. You have many friends here and we all love and support you.


  20. Margaret

    Each day of this odd new life will present itself differently. Some days the sadness will be paralyzing, others you will feel bolder. Some days Nelson’s presence will be everywhere, and others, he may seem far away. Take each day, hour, and minute as it comes, and let it flow over and around you. Do the things that help you care for yourself. Revel in your happy memories because that’s what they’re for!
    Above all, take your time. We will be here waiting.
    Love, Margaret

  21. Joan Price

    Oh, this post is so much like the way I felt that I have to look twice to make sure you wrote, not I. I also walked the park and wore Robert’s shirts (I still do!), tried to bargain for just one more minute with him, and asked myself how I could possibly go on without him.

    When he knew his death was soon, Robert made me promise three things:

    1. Take care of your health. (This was hard — my grief made me accident prone. I had one sprained ankle and one shattered shoulder in the first two years after his death.)

    2. Keep ’em dancing. (I teach the dance class where he and I first met. Everyone in the dance class knew him, loved him, and grieved with me.)

    3. Keep doing your work. (I was incapable of working on the book in progress for the first year, and I gave myself permission to take that year to grieve. When I got back to it, I could only work a couple of hours at a time. Then the excitement of the book started a momentum of its own, and I finished it. It’s coming out this month!)

    I don’t know if this will help you — we all grieve differently and find different to fumble through the brambles obscuring our path. I do hope you take advantage of all the counseling that hospice offers — I don’t know how I would have survived without that.

    With my tears joining yours,

  22. Paula

    Its so true–even though you know its around the corner, you are never really prepared–I guess we really just don’t understand death, truly. And then the surreal-ness after. I am thinking of you–all my best–Paula

  23. BeckyC.

    Dear Judith

    One can try to prepare for someone’s leaving but it is an incomprehensible task. Your love speaks true and will continue to do so – your path may be unclear but be assured that Nelson will speak to you during this process of grieving. May peace make a home in your heart and may comfort envelop you. You are in my thoughts.

    Best wishes, always,

    Becky C.

  24. Rose

    Others have said it so well, that all of us in cyperspace support you with our loving thoughts and would smooth the way for you if we could. Grief might be Universal, but it is also so piercingly specific. No one has ever experienced YOUR grief, and you never will again in this specific way. All we can all do is send you our love and gratitude for letting us share your life at this most difficult time.

    Much love from England.

  25. Fashionista

    Dear Style Crone,

    Life will be pretty crap for you at the moment, nothing I can say will make that go away, but if it helps I’m sending you happy hat thoughts all the way from Melbourne Australia.

    Can I just say that I have gorged myself on your blog, I love it, I love that you always kept your chin up when things weren’t all sunshine and roses, and I LOVE the hats and outfits. Today I wore a hat to work, on your inspiration. Stay inspiring.

  26. Rebecca

    Hi Judith,
    I have been thinking about you and Camille and how difficult this time must be for you. Nelson was a very special person and was able to touch the lives of those he never even met. Again, thank you for sharing your life with us. Be well.

  27. Lonnie

    It’s been over a week since your last post.
    That is ok if you want it to be.
    Know that you help all of us when you share the truth with elegance. I can’t believe you have lost either your ability to speak the truth, or your perpetual elegance. If you are sitting shiva, so to speak, that’s ok too. But I think Joan Price had some good words. If you want to wear black for a year, we will all help supply the most beautiful jet garments and accessories you have ever seen! But know that Nelson celebrated your style, celebrated your beauty, celebrated your wit, celebrated your spirit. So all of those things must be carried on in memory. No shuttering of that genius. Know you are loved. And know that he lives forever, be it in the hearts & minds and actions of those he touched. What to wear when grieving?

  28. Judith Boyd

    I hear you and I am grateful for you.

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