A few days ago Fireman Nick and I took a 2 1/2 hour boat ride to the Dry Tortugas, out of Key West, and scattered some of Handsome Husband’s cremains. It was the first of many such rituals for me. Yes, I’ve found the purpose to my wanderings and I didn’t find it by planning it. I found it by allowing it to happen. Which sounds esoteric and undefined and that’s exactly what it is.
I’m the first to admit that my brain synapses are misfiring continually since Handsome Husband’s death. Forgetfulness, lack of concentration, vagueness-name anything that describes me not remembering and I’m it. Lack of energy, both physical and emotional. Lack of trust in my own abilities. Observe me and see grief translating itself in body, mind and spirit. And I’m okay with that because I’m comfortable in the unknowingness and uncertainty of life. Absolutely nothing can be assumed to be permanent and any sense that it is such a thing is only an illusion. But instead of such a thought freaking me out, it’s served to open me up to the possibilities of each day. All I’ve known since April 21 is that it is imperative that I keep my heart open, no matter the pain, and my life would unfold and I’d find my purpose.
I don’t want to just wander in my travelings. I want to have a purpose to my wanderings. The trip Fireman Nick and I made out to the Dry Tortugas revealed my purpose. It wasn’t a day trip for no reason for either of us. It was a quest to honor and remember my husband/his dad, the first of me carrying out his request to return to our favorite places and scatter his cremains. I could go all philosophical on you and say that somewhere in him, even with the cancer eating away at him, he had a deep understanding of what it was he was asking of me and it had nothing to do, per se, with him and the actual scattering and more to do with the understanding of grief that he’d gained from me after all my years of hospice work and grief support. Don’t think for a moment that he was thinking hey, beautiful, go here, here, and here and scatter my cremains! Nope. I knew him. I know him. His intent was to get me back on the road to face my grief head-on. Return to the places we adventured and be in the moment and develop ritual around it and meet the barrage of memories and lean directly into the reality that the physical part of him is gone but that large, huge love that he had for me, and I for him, is still in me and with me. He trusted that I’d figure out the details and that would be-is-part of the process.
Handsome Husband’s nickname when he flew as a flight engineer was “Pathfinder”. Additionally, he was a long-range planner (career-wise). In our 4 years of traveling, he routed our trips and planned the stops. He did all of that well because it was so much a part of him. He loved me and cared for me and encouraged me to push my comfort zones and I thought that all ended when he died. Hmmm….
Bear with me. This is why I write. All of these thoughts are only now coming together for me as I type this and I realize I’m all over the page with it and yet…and, yet…
Are you, dear readers, seeing what I’m seeing?
Our son and I found a secluded area of the beach at the Dry Tortugas and set up a small altar and spoke a blessing and scattered Handsome Husband’s cremains into the aqua depths and sat in silence and liquid love fell from our eyes and our hearts broke more open and in conjunction, life opened just a bit more for both of us. Fireman Nick stood where his dad stood and he snapped a picture of me standing in the same place, two years ago with Handsome Husband manning the camera.
Crazy Horse in South Dakota. Little Big Horn in Montana. Crater Lake in Oregon. Those were the places he named for me, trusting that I’d know where else I need to go to scatter his cremains, the rituals I need to perform, the words I need to say.
Our kids will join me at different points along the way of this quest. I have no true plan of when. All I know is that I’m on the road again, full-time. I’m experiencing everything new and under a constant barrage of memories and emotion and pain and remembrance of him and tears and missing-ness and us and our lives together and this new life for me now and more than anything…more than anything, more than anything, reaching, reaching into my soul and feeling the love we had for each other. My heart is open. Do you hear me, Life? Do you hear me, Death? Do you hear me, Grief? Do you hear me, Love? Throw it all at me, whatever you have. Bombard me and envelop me and do your fucking best because you know what? It’s nothin’ but love.