I’m being very holistic these days. In that grief is a holistic experience. Mind, body, soul, heart, all that is seen and unseen by the outside world. Anyone who has grieved knows this is true.
Which is why it’s so exhausting. Life continues on, even while your insides and outsides have been devastated. Emotions reach highs and lows you can never anticipate. That’s a good thing and a bad thing, both. Ultimately we find a balance between those two. (Right?…..)
The highs can be what get me through a day and even though an almost paralyzing low is just around the corner, I live for those highs as a sign post that I’m going to come through this.
Yesterday was a traveling day, from NJ to NH. I drove the route I’ve driven since the late 70’s when I first started traveling between these two states, both on my own, and then, after Handsome Husband and I got together, with him. Many parts of the traveling wrung me out emotionally, re-living the joyful moments with him. Yes, I’m blessed to have the memories. No, they don’t comfort me at the moment. Right now those memories are merely a vehicle for pointing out to me that he’s gone, gone, gone.
Route 84. Just another highway, until I reached CT and saw a sign for Newtown and thought, wait a minute! That’s where Fireman Nick lives, our youngest. Let me just pull over to the side of the road and call and find out how far off the exit he is.
5 minutes? That’s nothing. I hadn’t been planning on seeing him until middle of the month but what’s the point of traveling if you can’t do a side-trip? So I did. And met his sweet gf. I hadn’t seen this youngest son since before Handsome Husband died. Hugely emotional for both of us. An emotional high and a gut-wrenching low.
There had been a huge Labor Day parade in town, it poured rain afterwards and he drove me back to where I’d parked Pink Magic. At one point, as I tried to find a parking space, I’d found the end of the parade and given thought to joining it. Pink Magic would have fit right in!
So, there we were, talking, catching up, leaning against the car (yes, that is allowed), and a man comes over to us. That man belonged to a Channel 3 news van that was parked across from me. He said hello and, yes, commented on the beautiful shade of pink that is my car and said, “there must be a story behind that color”.
Opening lines that I hear with more and more frequency. Yes, there is a story, and here it is, I tell him. With Fireman Nick jumping in with his own part of the story.
Why it’s the color it is. Handsome Husband. Our Happily Homeless travels. His death. My traveling cross-country since then. His service in October in NJ. He’s a retired MSgt, a good man, well-respected. The Patriot Guard Riders escort, the piper, the Honor Guard, all that is in place to honor him. Channel 3 man comments on Nick’s firefighter t-shirt. Yes, and he’ll be wearing his Class A’s for his pop’s service, as will his firefighter buddies from CT who are attending with him. And, hopefully, his military buddies too, will wear their Dress uniforms.
Too bad Channel 3 (Action News) isn’t in the NJ area, Fireman Nick says, they should really cover it. Too bad you’re leaving town so soon, says Channel 3 man to me. Oh, she’ll be back in 2 weeks for 2 weeks, says Fireman Nick to Channel 3 man. Who brightened up and said he’d like to do a story on Happily Homeless. He and I exchanged cards. We’ll talk when I return to Newtown in 2 weeks. A local story and hey, he has a friend who works in Philadelphia, at a TV station. He’s going to email him about our story and about Handsome Husband’s memorial service on October 12.
Further story to follow.
I would love to get media cover for Handsome Husband’s service. If I could, I’d have entire pipe bands, I’d have military bands, I’d have any and everything there to honor him. I want the world to know about him because the world will be better off if they know that such a good, loving, decent man once walked here and that he left behind him so many who are better off for the knowing of him. I want the world to know him and how he and I lived every minute of our lives together, but especially these last 4, adventuring and further building a life of passion and joy. I want the world to know that yes, cancer claimed his body in the end, but it didn’t kill anything about him, or us.
Each life matters. Not just the famous lives. But the lives of ordinary men who have influence on those around them, who make a difference, who bring joy with them and leave the world less of a place when they die. My husband was such a man. And his story deserves to be told.