I’m holding myself as steadily as possible in the midst of tsunamis of emotion.
This month of September has been full of stepping forwards into a new life that I don’t want but must create, and each one of those steps, big or small, shatters and shakes and rattles and stabs every part of this body and heart of mine. Each step could be seen as a step away from Handsome Husband and the life we shared. And it is, as far as the physical aspects of our shared life. My life now, externally, bears little resemblance to the life he and I shared and how we traveled these last 4 years. It’s been necessary for me to do that, as a method of pain management. There’s so much going on in my life these 5 months past his death. A sampling:
The most obvious: I’m no longer driving the car that took us so many miles south, then north, then West into California. The over 3000 miles I’ve traveled since his death would have been unbearable in that same car, picturing him at the wheel. The very act of me driving is emotional since he was the one who did all the driving these last 3 years. Now it’s all me, and my chariot is called Pink Magic.
I have only pink suitcases and travel bags. Except for one small green one of his. Inside are some of his clothes that I, yes, need to carry with me. These clothes are the embodiment of him. I’ll keep them for a long time. I also have his wallet, which has become kind of like a talisman. I sleep with it under my heart, with his picture inside.
New clothes. Mostly pink. For peace of mind I had to not have many of the clothes I wore in my years of travel with Handsome Husband. He’d be proud of how I did it though. I’m a treasure hunter, thrift store lover, and such fashions now make up the bulk of my wardrobe.
Handsome Husband’s memorial service is on October 12. I’ve been working on it non-stop. He will be honored and remembered and the love of his community will shine up to the skies for him.
There will be an update article about us as Happily Homeless, and his final travels, in the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 9. It’s hugely emotional for me, responding to the questions asked by the writer. She’s become very dear to me, and I know she’ll do a beautiful job writing about him.
I just bought a T@b trailer that will be my new home on the road. If Handsome Husband had a grave he’d be turning over in it at the very idea that I’m going to...camp? That’s another blog too.
Everything is different because I have nothing of my old life left. Except the love that he and I shared, and the memory of the strength he gave me by his very presence. So, returning to what I wrote earlier: Is all of this taking me away from my life with him?
It could be seen that way and I could very easily default to that. What I’m (not always successfully) striving to believe is that I’m not going away from anything. I’m going towards something. I don’t know what that something is. I only know I have to stay open to it or I’m going to lose my fucking mind from this devastating grief from losing him to death. Newsflash: it doesn’t hurt any less, these 5 months later. What I’m continuing to learn is that I can have all the pain and still take the next step. It isn’t done easily or willingly and it isn’t done with any emotional investment in this new life. I’m doing it because, apparently, a broken heart isn’t going to kill me. I wish I could be all Zen about this and see the bigger picture, blah, blah, blah. I don’t see it. I see my life ripped apart, the man I loved beyond myself dead way too soon, me left a fucking widow, and a possibly long life ahead of me carrying this grief.
So, what to do with this? The way I see it, I’m going to just give this grief the space and expression it needs and in the other side bucket, focus on carrying nothing but love. His love, the love of my kids, the love of our community, the love of so many people met briefly, the love and encouragement of all of you who follow me here. That love is getting me through this, keeping me going towards this new, unwanted life. The agony is there, the anxiety, the fear, the overwhelming-ness of all these changes, the uncertainty of how to do or what to do. But I know that Handsome Husband knew I would somehow come through this because he knew I know how to go out there and kick ass and take names. There is nothing gentle about grief, at least for me. It requires a kick-ass attitude and, at the same time, a willingness to stay open to the love. And if the heart is truly open, then you can’t keep anything out. Love and pain and grief and love and magic and love and agony. It’s all one, in the end.