Since April 21, 2013 when Handsome Husband, the man I loved so deeply and passionately, died, I:
Traveled from California to Arizona. An impossibly horrible road trip, as I watched Cathedral City disappear in my rear view mirror. There are fields of windmills in that area and each turn in the wind shot shards of pain into me, as I remembered he and I marveling at them.
I bought a new Ford Escape in Arizona. That whole not making major decisions in the first year after a death? Laughable. I’m staying out on the road, traveling. In order to make that emotionally possible for me, I had to think it through. Which, amazingly, I have, at least in one aspect. I had my new car painted a lovely shade of pink. “Chuck’s Watching Over Me” pink. It’s given me courage as I traveled East. It has brought people over to me along the way as I stopped. It has been crucial in me not being able to isolate. This Pink Magic (as I call it) is carrying me, will continue to carry me, through this grief. I’ve never cared about cars before except as a way of getting from one point to another. This one? I care about it a lot. I feel naked without it.
I traveled from Arizona to Indiana, Handsome Husband’s home state, in order to pay my respects to his mom and attend his family reunion. Seeing his mom again was incredibly painful for both of us. As was attending his family reunion. I’ve never been in Indiana without him and felt his absence keenly.
I traveled from Indiana to New Jersey. That was exhausting, as I did it all in one day. Which he and I used to do regularly but in recent years we broke it into 2 days of travel. I didn’t want to stay in a hotel or military lodging without him-way too emotionally intense. So I drove and drove and cried and cried. But had the company of family and friends as they called me to touch base and keep me company. I’m blessed.
Got so much of the fucking paperwork done that happens when someone dies. Each bit of paper was, and is, a stab to my heart. There is so much to figure out and I’m not good at it. He’s the one who did the detail stuff. Each piece of paper carried the weight of his death.
I’m in New England now. Working every day on his memorial service, which is on October 12. I’ve done a hell of a job with it-he will be honored as he deserves for his military service, he’ll be remembered with love for all the love he gave to so many. The planning is what gets me up every morning and sucks the energy from me at the same time. How is it possible I’m planning a memorial service for my husband? For Chuck? For Handsome Husband? My heart can’t handle the idea, so I’m strangely removed from it at the same time as I’m pouring my heart and soul into it.
This week I’ll purchase a T@b trailer-which will be my entry into my new life that I have to build without him. I can’t continue traveling the way he and I did, staying at hotels and military lodgings. I’d have constant breakdowns if I did that. So I found a way to do it differently. The thinking that has gone into this is another blog entirely. Suffice to say, it’s a distraction and I am so glad to be doing it, while at the same time, falling apart inside that I have to do this new life.
I don’t want a new life. I want him with me, continuing our adventures. That’s what we planned and my heart just can’t grasp the knowledge that now it’s just me. His absence is so real that, in some ways, I feel like I’ve been alone forever. Would he recognize this me that I am now? I feel alone, I feel nothing, I feel pain, I feel anxious, I don’t feel joy any more (and I had so much joy when he was alive). I feel things I never felt when he and I were Chuck and Alison. I don’t feel alive really. I’m doing all sorts of things, I’m busy, life is continuing on. But there’s no emotional investment in it for me.
I know nothing any longer. Which is okay with me. And strangely freeing. I’m not doing much thinking. Mainly I’m feeling my way through this. The one sure thing I know is that Handsome Husband loved me deeply, and I, him. That’s all I want to know, or need to know. It’s my mantra, as I make this major purchase for my new life, as I remodel it to make it my new home, as I go back out on the road.