I won’t say I’m not nerved up about it.
In a few short hours, Fireman Nick, SugaPie and I will take the 5 minute drive to her parents, where I’ve stationed the 2nd half of Pink Combo Magic, and hitch the two together. As early as it will be, her parents will be out in the freeze with us, wanting to document the moment with their cameras and properly send us off. Which is so lovely of them. In my time here, they have enveloped me in their family happenings (and I’ve seriously eaten more than any one person’s share of Thanksgiving in the last 3 days).
Our destination tonight is Ft Meade, MD and a military campsite there. The gratitude I have in my heart that our younger son is accompanying me for the next couple of weeks cannot be measured.
This is the day that has been happening since April 21 when Handsome Husband died. This is the part where I’m back out on the road without him. As much as it is possible to be, I’m prepared, in that I’ve laid external groundwork in every possible direction. The emotions are going to run strongly; how can they not? That’s okay though (it has to be) because it’s all just part of this grief. In the past 7 months I’ve exerted every effort to build up and shore up my support systems.
1. I have this lovely, and soon to be lovelier, T@b trailer. I have the car that I told Handsome Husband would be painted pink, so that he could find me out on the road. He told me he’d be looking for me. The color combination (and the cuteness factor of the T@b), brings conversation to me at rest stops, restaurants, pretty much everywhere, as people ask me the whys and wheres and everything else. Grief is isolating. Being out on the road alone is isolating. This will keep me telling my story, which is a major part of the grieving process, and what will, ultimately, help me find him again.
2. I’ve connected with widows and widowers around the country, building my emotional support network to see me through this godawfulfucking grief. They are a click away on social media, sometimes a phone call away.
3. I’ve connected with other “Tabbers”, a network of fellow T@b trailer owners, up and down the East Coast. I have phone numbers to call if something should go wrong on the road or I need a boost of confidence, especially if I have to back the damn thing up. I intend to extend that network as I travel north along the Gulf Coast (after Key West), and then West to Texas.
4. Handsome Husband’s Air Force buddies, many of whom I haven’t met, have reached out to me in support and invitations to stop and visit them as I travel towards Texas.
5. So many of my blog followers have emailed and messaged me with queries as to meet-ups if the Pink Magic Combo takes me through where they are.
I’m not alone in the big picture. I know that. I know that. I know that.
Younger son Fireman Nick spoke from his heart to me recently and said maybe the reason I don’t feel Handsome Husband with me is because I’m looking for him in the way he’s been with me for the past 24 years-in the energy of his physical body. I suspect he might be right.
And, so, as I go out on the road again, not only will the geographical horizons open in front of me through the windshield of my car, but I will task myself to broaden my emotional horizons, my heart horizons, so that I will find Handsome Husband again. I don’t know how that will translate but I want to be open to however it might express and show itself.
I remember back to the excitement he and I felt when we had an open road in front of us and “time wealth” as he described it. I remember our excitement at heading to Key West the first time. The road ahead holds so much pain for me; memories are going to be trigger-bursting from all directions. That has to be okay too. It’s part of the picture.
The pain, the grief, the heart-shattering missing-ness of my long-time, joy-sharing, strong arms wrapped around me, kissing, adventure companion-that man isn’t with me for this and I would give every fucking breath in my body to have him back. To look at him next to me at the wheel and share grins of excitement as he turns the key in the ignition…that would soften my breath and lighten my body.
I think for Fireman Nick that, yes, there is excitement because he’s never done a road trip (especially in a pink car towing a pink-trimmed trailer-did I mention how cute it is?) or been to Key West, but inside of that is the full knowledge of exactly why this is happening this way. It will be a road of discovery for him in huge ways, and for me, too, as we find our way not only to Key West but towards some lightness and bring to the fore of our hearts the love that we had for the man he named Pop and the man who was my husband, and maybe leave some of the pain of grief along the way.
The open road is out there and today my new life begins.