I knew prior to Handsome Husband’s death that there was magic at hand. Things were working in such a way that it could be nothing else. Call it magic, call it blessings, call it whatever you want. The people who needed to be there with him were there. Things that needed to happen, happened. In one of our conversations, I told Handsome Husband that I was going to paint our red Ford Escape pink after his death. That way, I told him, he’d be able to find me out on the road, no matter where I was. He smiled and told me that he’d be looking for me, always.
Fast forward almost two months since my beloved husband left my life. Our red Escape had transmission problems. Even thought I had it repaired, I was nervous about going back out on the road with it. I have a long-standing distrust issue with cars that goes back a lifetime, which is another blog entirely. Suffice to say, I sold our red one to our older son, Snads, and bought a new silver 2013 Ford Escape. And promptly dropped it off to an artist named Anthony Arteaga, of Supreme Garage in Glendale AZ. He was taken aback that someone wanted a brand new car painted and asked what color I wanted. Pink, I told him. Not Mary Kay pink, but beautiful creamy pink. He was excited at the idea, telling me he’d always wanted to paint a car pink but….well, who wants a car painted pink? I do, I told him, and then told him why. I told him about Handsome Husband and our conversation. We were working on a very tight schedule-I was due to leave Arizona in 10 days and there’s a lot of work involved in painting a car right. I knew, just in speaking with Anthony, that I was leaving it in good hands. Not only did he give me a wonderful price, he would, he said, use the best paints to create this magic for me. He stayed in touch with me throughout Project Magic. Yes, some might be a bit discomfited seeing their brand new car disassembled. Not I. I trusted him implicitly.
My daughter Rachael-Grace went with me to pick up my car yesterday. When we saw it, we both cried. It was exactly right. It was exactly what I’d envisioned. I hugged Anthony, I hugged anyone within reach. Some of the workers there had read my blog, after seeing the decal on the red Escape. They hugged me back and wished me well. Anthony wished me well. I hugged him again.
The story doesn’t end there. Want to get chills? This is a custom paint, made just for me, for this particular car. And do you want to know the name of the paint? Yes, you read it right. “Chuck’s watchin’ Over Me”. I didn’t suggest the name to anyone. They came up with it themselves. Want to consider something else? There is a theory that talks about the Fourth Dimension, another dimension that exists beyond our here-on-earth living. A place where we go when we die, possibly. I won’t go into it-look it up if you care to. What took my breath away after reading the name of the paint was the name of the paint used. Yes, 4th Dimension. I can’t explain any of it and won’t try to. It is what it is, as Handsome Husband would say.This car, this piece of magic, all that helped it come into being, the people who have been sent into my life to make it happen, makes me further believe, in some realm of me, in spite of this horrible grief at Handsome Husband’s death, that he is here with me, making it happen, as he did while he was alive.
This isn’t just a pink car because I like the color pink. For me, pink is the color of love, of strength, of hope, of magic, of serenity, of comfort, of joy, of all I used to have in my life and what I hope to have again someday. Somehow, somewhere, Handsome Husband is with me. I will find him again.
Even before he died, I knew that it was when I returned to the road that I was going to meet my grief head-on. I also knew, and know more now, that out on the road is where I’m going to find Handsome Husband again. His spirit is already surrounding me with this car. Yes, he’s groaning, or would be if he had to actually drive it. Because it’s just me, he’s cheering me on, and loving me more, and smiling broadly. That’s the girl I love, he’d be saying. She’s going to be okay.
Here’s my belief: Storytelling is what helps heal grief. And I think, with my car being this unmistakable color that will be seen without fail on the road, I’ll get questions about it, and about the Happily Homeless decal on the back. I’ll get to tell people the story of us, and tell people about Handsome Husband and what a good man he was, about how much he loved me and I, him. Our story. There’s a part of our story that has only begun, even though he died, and that is becoming more and more clear to me.
So, Anthony of Supreme Garage in Glendale, Arizona, I thank you for helping make it more possible to go back out on the road, surrounded not only with this creamy pinkness, but with the arms and spirit of my husband around me and with me. You did much more than paint a car. You helped to heal some of my grief. As my mom would have said, you earned stars in your crown. Thank you from my heart.