This will be a short week, as all weeks must be when a deadline approaches. Time has dragged, now it flies.
This Sunday, December 1, is my own personal D-Day. I call it L-Day, for Launch Day. It’s the day I’ll hitch the Pink Magic Combo together and head South. My official goingoutontheroad launch. But, you’ll say, haven’t you traveled thousands of miles since the day you walked down the steps from that condo in Cathedral City, CA where Handsome Husband died? And I have, yes, but all of it has been from a place of just getting somewhere. Get to Arizona and our 2 older kids. Get to New Mexico for the family wedding. Get to Indiana to see Handsome Husband’s mom. Get to New Jersey for his memorial service. Get to Connecticut to see Fireman Nick.
None of it has been about traveling for me. Its’ been more of a just take that step, steer the car and go. That will change on Sunday, not because it’s in my mind that it will change but because circumstances will dictate such.
Fireman Nick will ride with me for a couple of weeks on the first leg as we wend our way to Key West, Florida, stopping to visit family along the way. I told him to choose wherever he wanted to go; he wanted warmth, not unexpectedly, and Key West will be warm. It’s where Handsome Husband and I spent quite a bit of time in our travels and yes, the gone-ness of his physical presence will be huge for me. How can it not be? Fireman Nick and I plan to take a trip out to the Dry Tortugas while in Key West; Handsome Husband and I adventured there for a day and loved it. It will be the first place I’ll scatter some of his cremains.
This going out on the road again is no small venture emotionally. I’ve spent the last month with Fireman Nick and his lovely girlfriend, SugaPie, here in Connecticut and it will be difficult to leave, not only because I’ll miss them both dreadfully, but because it’s been a safe place for me. Each stop along the way since that devastating April 21 has allowed me to cocoon myself. In spite of the emotional pain, I’ve still been protected, and each leave-taking has been a wrenching away. Panic generally rises up in me.
Which is why I’ve always known that I need to be back out on the road full-time. Since the day Handsome Husband died, I’ve known that the way I’ll best deal with this grief is out there. Driving on unexpected roads that will suddenly be familiar to me from having been there in past years with Handsome Husband. Being somewhere, anywhere, alone, with my deepest thoughts and emotions surging to the surface. Bombarding memories. Feeling the alone-ness that he isn’t here with me to help me, support me, map it out, share the thrill of the adventure with me, take his hand as he helps me climb higher, not just physically but emotionally. This will be total immersion in pain and memories and remembered joy and love.
I’ve always been a total immersion kind of gal and that’s why I know I need to do this. I’m not so much afraid to do this as I am of the pain that will accompany it. I have my toolbox ready, mantras and blessings to murmur when the pain arises.
“I wish you were here with me” will become “Thank you for the blessing of having had you here with me”.
“The pain is too much” to “One breath, one heartbeat, one step”.
“I can’t do this” to “I’m doing this”
“I feel so fucking alone” to “I am surrounded by his love and the love of so many who travel with me in spirit”.
Out there sounds like a nebulous place to most people, I expect. Not so for me. Out there is where I’ll find Handsome Husband again, his spirit, his love for me, our remembered joy in the time wealth he spoke about to people met along the way. Unremembered memories will be sparked. Pain and joy will be my mead, and that’s okay because, for me, it is a necessary fire to walk through so that I can, to the best of my ability, get to the other side.
These 7 fucking months since he died obliterated my true knowing of Handsome Husband. I don’t remember what it felt like to have him touch me, be next to me, kiss me, and that is just as wrenching to me as the actual grief. It doesn’t mean anything that others say that he’s with me. He’s gone. He’s dead. I don’t believe he is lingering here on this Earth. But his love and his spirit are a part of me and all those who knew him and that is what I want to find again.
This is an entirely new life I face on the road and stuff will happen and plans will go awry and every emotion in the world will knock at my psyche and that’s okay with me. I’m going to let it happen. I’m going to immerse myself and let myself sink to the bottom of this ocean and lose my breath and struggle to see in the darkness around me and be blind and then, as the panic sets in, I’m going to remember my husband and his love for me and that love and his spirit and I’ll use that knowingness to calm myself and gather my strength and take a breath and allow myself to kick my feet and rise to the surface and see the blue skies above me and the beauty that is around me and I’ll start paddling and grow stronger and make my way to solid footing and the life that is still ahead of me.
Love will carry me through.