Not Done~

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.

And we’ll meet on the road.  Collahhhhge


17 thoughts on “Not Done~

  1. Part of your path seems to me to be helping others live through their grief. Just reading your story has helped me. I did not lose a life partner, but I have had lots of heart wrenching losses through my life. Your lessons and your pushing through your grief gives insight to others struggling with similar losses, whether they be other people or losses of self.

    • Jimmie,
      Life is mostly about trying to make a difference where you can, isn’t it? So I appreciate your words-they encourage me to continue doing exactly what I’m doing. I’m touched that any part of what I’m doing has an impact. Perspective is funny, isn’t it? I’m driving and writing about it, living this Odyssey of Love and feeling such desperate pain in my heart-pain that needs to be voiced into words on paper, so to speak, and somehow others hear those words and absorb them to some degree and it helps them. And how can that then not help me in some undefinable way?

      So, thank you for responding to what I’ve written, and, because you took that time, I’m inspired further.

      Stay in touch and keep me company on the road as this continues~

  2. I loved this post and see clearly what he wanted you to do. Remember in the movie that it ends happily and she has (once again) hope in her heart and a promise of another love. I believe he wanted you to hold on to that too.

    • Gayle,
      Yes, it did end with the promise of possibilities and I’m striving to keep my heart open to the same and yes, Chuck wanted me to find life again and I have to remind myself of that through the pain and grief.

      You’re further along in this than I am. What would you say about your life and where it is now? Is it completely different than you thought it would be from early days? Is there anything that has surprised you about how it turned out?

      It means so much to me to hear from those who have been where I’m now standing~!

  3. Since losing my wife in 2011 my life has kinda stalled, not sure what to do or where to go from here. your story has made me wish there was something I could do to honor my wife and help me heal. The only thing that I have a real passion for and something she encouraged is woodworking and wood turning, maybe that’s an avenue I need to explore. Thank you for allowing me the privalige of going with you on your journey through your posts, it has helped.

    • Dale,
      I’m touched that you reached out to me here, and that my travels have had any impact on you. I think we constantly need to reinvent ourselves after going through the death of our partners and I don’t think we ever reach a point of mission accomplished, and that’s okay in a world where nothing is okay. If you have a gift for woodworking, (which is a beautiful gift to have),then yes, go for it. Go where your heart leads you in creating one thing, many things, a series of things, that represent what your gut tells you to create, in tribute to your wife. What is your wife’s name? (I refuse to use the word “was”).

      And, if you decide to do something like that, I’d love to see the results.

      Stay in touch with me here~

  4. I recently saw that movie again, and it made me think of you and your travels. By the way, I once bought my husband a balloon for our anniversary(the small ones attached to a stick). It said PS I love you on it. I pull it out every year as both of our initials are PS. Hope things are ok for you, I enjoy reading your messages, Pat Snyder

    Sent from Samsung tablet

    • Pat,
      My angel sisters are my anchor and I appreciate that you take the time to read my writings. As I write this in return to you, I’m in Newtown CT, with my son til near the end of September and then my daughter and I will be on our way to NJ. Full-circle, geographically, as this is where I started my Odyssey of Love last December.

      Life has changed in every way since that December day, as it changed the day Chuck died, and I suppose what I can say most about it is that I realize more than ever the impermanence of life. I am a full-fledged gypsy in how I’m living my life, and the way I live is a reflection of that bigger impermanence. Still trying to make sense of any of it.

      I hope your husband is doing well after his surgeries and physical challenges. I’ve seen the pictures of what you and he are doing to make a difference in your own world and cheer you on from afar~

  5. I never saw the movie, but I also was left a list of “assignments” to complete by my husband. I’m working on it, the big one that’s left for me is to take his ashes to Alaska, something I’m not yet willing to do.
    If you have a way to get”snail mail” let me know, I have a gift for you. If not, well, hopefully you’ll still get to Indiana this year (there’s a sentence no one expects to use lol).
    Sending love your way!

    • Kate,
      I didn’t see this in time to realize that you live in Indiana! What town do you live in there? I was in Muncie, visiting Chuck’s mom for a couple days. I do have snail mail for a few weeks-c/o Nick Sands, 3 Glover Ave, Newtown CT,06470. That address is available until the 3rd week of September.

      I’d be interested to hear when you carry out your task. What is it about Alaska that it was chosen? I’m always fascinated to hear another’s story~

      • I’m north of Fort Wayne. My husband went to Alaska back in 89, and loved it. I’m supposed to go to Sikilak (I can’t spell) Lake, Alaska. He said the fishing was good there. Be warned, gift to follow in a few days. 🙂

  6. I am not there, but oh, I feel where you are coming from. Breathe, remember your sweet memories and be thankful you have your daughter with you,

    • Melissa,
      Yes, I’m so very grateful to have my daughter with me. She is the voice of reason when my mind veers off into the agonies of my husband’s final days and minutes. Together she and I support one another through the impossibility of all that we’re doing~

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