I’ve fulfilled Handsome Husband’s requests: Dry Tortugas, Crater Lake, Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse. His cremains now rest in each of those spots around our country. I went back, I held a ritual, I scattered his cremains at the places we loved. My heart broke over and over. It shut down in pain and opened up in love. And, it isn’t finished.
As the months since he died have passed, (not quickly enough for me but that’s a different topic), I realize that he was intentionally setting me on a road that would take me through his spoken request that was seemingly about him. But he had a knowingness for me and about me, even in his dying time (maybe even more so because of his dying time) and he was stamping his love for me upon me.
Did you ever watch the movie “P.S. I Love You”? Bear with me on this because I’m seeking feedback. Bullet points will make it more succinct.
*He and I watched that movie several times over the years. We watched it the night before I took him to the ER in southern California.
*While he was in hospice, I teasingly told him one day that he needed to do for me what the character had done in the movie when he knew he was dying (sending his soon-to-be widow messages, etc). Handsome Husband replied that was too much pressure and he said I‘ll tell you what. Watch the movie.
*Right before his voice weakened, I asked him to call my phone and leave me a message, so that I would have his voice to bring me through the years without him. Which he did, and at the end of the message, he said P.S. I love you.
*A couple of months after he died, our younger son, Fireman Nick, texted me that he’d found a song that he thought I should sing at Handsome Husband’s memorial service, which I was in the midst of planning. Having no idea of the significance of it, the song was “Love You Til the End” from the movie, yes, “P.S. I Love You”. I don’t sing, and I most especially don’t sing in public but Fireman Nick said he’d play the guitar to accompany me and it would be perfect. So we practiced together and I sang and I didn’t hear myself but my voice felt strong and my soul felt engaged and it was, for me, perfect indeed.
*I met a volunteer at the VA hospital in Tacoma, WA recently and, upon seeing PinkMagic, Kathy, the volunteer, wanted to know the story of this Odyssey of Love. Afterwards, she barely paused before telling me, with some excitement in her voice, that it sounded like…what was that movie?…it sounded like…yes, “P.S. I Love You”!
The movie isn’t just about the messages he leaves her, is it? It’s about what she finds while she is responding to his requests and suggestions and how she changes as she is does it. How her grief morphs and how she is revealed to herself as she accomplishes various tasks and how her heart opens. As she does these things for him. But not really for him at all. Which was his purpose all along.
This Odyssey of Love that I’m living is truly only beginning. My daughter and I have been to California, Oregon,Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and, as I write this, we’re in Colorado. Along the way, as I’ve scattered my husband’s cremains, I’ve met magical people, I’ve met angels, I’ve given and received hugs, I’ve learned to tow a trailer, I’ve learned to adjust to a life that is so outside my comfort zone (camping) (and honestly I have a love/hate relationship with that particular aspect), I’ve learned, out of emotional necessity, to live in the absolute moment of where my feet are, I’ve gained every sort of confidence in speaking to crowds of strangers, I’ve learned to state my needs without hesitancy, I’ve learned to ask for what I need, I’ve learned when to come in off the road and rest…and so much more.
I’ve learned to trust my instincts and let my heart lead me to where I need to be. And, that, dear readers, is what I need to trust more than ever in this next phase of my Odyssey. He left me no other stated destinations. He knew I would have to trust my heart and his love and our love. This now is where I have to trust that I will find him again, find my connection to him because it now truly does become about nothing but love. I will have to fully trust what an unknown woman told me early on He says for me to tell you he wouldn’t leave you without a map.
In this next chapter of the Odyssey of Love, I’ll need to fine tune every muscle and fiber of my heart and soul and see more with my third eye-the eye that sees from within. He got me started and now I have to believe that I won’t be left hanging and that I will connect with him in ways I can’t imagine. Watch the movie, he told me. He loved allegories and so he knew I’d figure out what he meant. Watch it and learn that it’s about opening up and being brave and allowing space and, thus, finding your way. Because you must.
My grief is huge. I feel dislocated and detached. But I’m on an Odyssey and you don’t just quit an Odyssey because it’s unbearable. Odysseys must be lived. Especially when it is love-driven. He set me on this with love in his heart. I’m doing it with love in my heart.