Time and Gestation~

Geographically, I’ve come full-circle.   9 months ago, I left Newtown Connecticut, and here I am back again, visiting our son, Fireman Nick, and his girlfriend, SugaPie.  I began this Odyssey of Love when Handsome Husband had been dead for 8 months.  In total I’ve been on the road for 5 years.   4 of those years were with Handsome Husband;  this last one on my own.  Which is to say, without him.  For the first 2 weeks last December, Fireman Nick traveled with me.  For the last 2 months our daughter Rachael-Grace has been with me.  I just finished my 3rd trek across country since he died.

Numbers.  They mean everything and they mean nothing.  Most especially nothing without him.  So, I’ve been asked, What’s different?  Is your grief different?  What have you learned?  How is it being on the road?  Are you happy doing this?  Is this exciting?  What is it like driving the roads you drove with your husband?  How has it been, scattering his cremains?

Practical fears paralyzed me as I began this, towing my pink-trimmed trailer behind me.  How could I possibly  learn how to tow?  How to unhitch?  How to camp?  How to travel the country?  How to be safe on my own?  How to allow grief the space it demands while creating this, believe me, wholly unwanted life?

My life philosophy is I haven’t died so apparently I must live and I must create a life for myself beyond the us that I had with him for 24 years.  It must be done.  I thought a broken heart would most assuredly kill me but it hasn’t.  And I frequently damn the fact, because this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I hate life without him and it fucking hurts with every breath.

Today is 16 months since my husband, my lover, my safety system, the man I loved more than my own life, took his last breath and so did I.   God, that’s so dramatic, isn’t it?  And yet, so true.

I’ve grown in confidence.  I tow PinkMagic like a pro.  I hitch it up and so far, its’ always gone with me.  I can break it down and set it up, lowering the legs, plugging in as needed, set up my bed, organize the inside…and then reverse it all when I leave wherever I am.  I’ve cooked on the propane stove (though not frequently).   The electric broke and I got it fixed.  I back it up and I’ve even parallel parked it.  Bam!

I’ve learned to ask for help.  I have no problem standing out where I can be seen and asking the first person who passes if they can help me with whatever situation arises.  I can’t know everything, nor do I wish to.  Mostly people want to help, I’ve found.  I certainly assume that they do.  And if the first person can’t help, I politely ask them to move out of my way so that I can find someone who is able.

I have no fear.  The term “FWG” that I coined, is serious business to me.  It means that I stared Death in the face and I suited up and showed up in spite of and alongside of.   I’ve learned to live on the road, camping, and I am not a camper.  I’ve learned to state my mind even more so than before Handsome Husband died.  I state my needs clearly, with no apologies.  I’ve learned to own the talents and gifts that were given to me upon birth and through self-development.  I am a gypsy.  I am a story-teller.  I am a hugger of people.  I am a listener of tales.  I am a giver and a receiver both.  I am a writer.  I am a woman who wanders and discovers.

I have no expectations on outcomes.  Not in a negative way;  just in a way that if one way doesn’t work, I’ll try another.  I have no expectations of people and how they may or may not behave.  I will accept only those in my life who are interested in honest, authentic relationships.  (I still have some coming to Jesus meetings with a few that need clarification and that’s on my near schedule, believe me).   I expect, and demand, honesty, whether it hurts or not, both in giving and receiving.

Handsome Husband was the Buddhist in the family but what’s happened as a result of his death is that I’ve become a perfect Buddhist.  I have genuinely emotionally detached from outcome, results, and life, by which I mean I get that it is entirely fleeting and can be gone in an instant, and so I’m not terribly attached to it.  I’ve had the hardline talks with our kids about my own end of life and what I expect from them in support when I make the choices that I will make.

I’ve learned to allow myself to dwell in dark spaces  where my eyes are of no use and allow my other senses to heighten instead so that they might aid me in finding my way.  And I’ve learned to challenge those who would question my grief, both the intensity and the length.  This is my grief, not yours, I say.  Fuck off. (said with love, of course).

I live fiercely.  I love fiercely.  I grieve fiercely because I loved fiercely.  Those around me and those I meet on the road are fire in my blood.  Yes, I can say I love them, these new friends not yet met, or met only briefly.  They each have their stories as I have mine and in this way we connect.  I am incredibly comfortable about approaching strangers and being approached.  Talking in front of a crowd?  Pfft!  Whatevers.

Handsome Husband hoped that I would find another man to love someday.  That may or may not happen.  What I can say is that any man who joins in my life is the damn luckiest man in the world because I know how to love and I’m not afraid to show it, every second of every day because each second can be the last second and I will make damn certain that every second matters, as I did with Handsome Husband.

Whatever I knew before he died, I know in the very marrow of my bones now.  Oh, yeah, this last year has changed me in ways that I haven’t even defined yet.  I coined FWG without full knowledge of what it would come to mean to me as time passed and I’m still growing into it.  And always will be.

Fierce.  Determined.  Take no prisoners.  No apologies.  Passionate.  With a heart open to love, everyday.

#FWG rising.  Damn right.  10612999_10202636518455039_3458728546477215861_n

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29 thoughts on “Time and Gestation~

  1. I am connected to you through Racheal and Sean. I have met your daughter a couple of times and work with Sean. I listened to the path of Handsome Husbands passing, was told about your journey with your daughter and have been following along…
    I am for certain you receive many thank you’s and I will add mine into the mix. You have opened an entirely new awareness of Being for me. I will admit, at times I would shrink back from your rawness. But I have grown as you have grown, and I find myself Roaring with you. Chanting a mantra for you of strength and raw femine power. Feeding you power and strength through my own lineage of feminine fire.
    Words will not apply here… No words to express what and how I hold for you. No words to express the awareness of what you do for yourself, your family, for us and for all. Only head bowed, hands in prayer, raised to chest, raised to third eye and raised to the heavens!
    Blessings of Beauty my Beautiful and Powerful one!
    Kelli

    • Kelli,
      I realized I never responded to your lovely message and I apologize for that. It touches me that you reached out so beautifully to me. My writing is raw in every way and can be difficult to read for some, I know that, and yet, I can’t write my life any other way, so I especially appreciate that you hang in there with me and read it.

      Seriously, your words bring tears to my eyes because they touch my soul and I feel your blessing as I meander my way across country. I feel the blessings of you and so many, as we all did when we were in hospice with Chuck and so many reached out to us.

      FWG rising. Always. No matter what~
      alison

    • Susan,
      I’m touched to be anyone’s role model-thank you for that. And yes, I fully intend to write a book. I just need to find the time for it, and a place where I can plant myself where there are no interruptions. Chuck always wanted me to write the book I was intended to write. What I didn’t know was that he had to be in my life and then go for the book to be written~

      Stay connected with me-it matters~
      alison

  2. Sounds like you are on the path to healing and wholeness, I admire your strength and envy your journey. We all face difficult times in our life and I myself, lost/found myself on a magical “gypsy” journey this past year. If you ever find yourself in the Finger Lakes Wine Country, you are welcome to visit and stay for awhile. Carry on Sweet Gypsy Soul!

    • Kathleen,
      Thank you for touching base with me here, and for your words of encouragement. I have no concept any longer of what healing means, or wholeness but I do know that I am comfortable with being right where I am. Outside eyes can see what I can’t, can see ground that I’ve covered, which is counterpoint to my own perspective. I’d be interested in hearing your gypsy journey as well. Is Finger Lakes Wine country in California?
      alison

  3. I lost my sweet husband of 34 yrs , three years ago. I grieved heavily, and felt I would never come through it. I’ve come to a point where I don’t grieve anymore. I allow occasional sadness and a few tears, but I’m not eager to go back to a place that dark. Five monthas ago, I bought a vintage camper, and tore it down to
    The frame and rebuilt every bit of it by myself. I learned a lot about campers, and Myself! Now its finished and I’ve towed her from NY to NH and back….she just followed me were ever I went. This is my attempt to get myself back into the world of the living! I’m 65 yrs old, but I’m not dead yet…. my thoughts are with you on your journey. Be well and happy, God richly bless you. Patti

    • Patti,
      I’d love to see pictures of your rig-and I’m terribly impressed with how you rebuilt yours. I don’t have a clue about such things and I tip my hat to you. I’m headed to Key West in a couple weeks and then up along the Gulf Coast so I can take my daughter back to Arizona by Christmas.

      You inspire me in every way. Thank you!!!
      alison

  4. Oh Grrl…you are an inspiration….Dealing with the third year of loss of a love that lasted 15 wonderful years,and ended in the longest and shortest 5 weeks of my life!…No right way to grieve,like relentless waves washing over you,never quite knowing when it will happen.Music,sights,familiar surroundings….unfortunate and extremely vivid total recall of the most unpleasant moments toward the end drove me to silence,seclusion,and a search for a place of solace. A job kept me bound to a shared space,but I yearned to move forward and find my peace again…. I dreamt of tiny new spaces,open and airy….a tree house,a garden,travel to new,undiscovered places…I learned to expand my skills and embrace new experiences. I walked taller,straighter, lighter….Life slowly moved into a new horizon that I could wrap my head and heart around… There are still dark moments,I light a candle….Loneliness happens,I turn the music up! No day is quite perfect,BUT,the flowers are beautiful in the early sunlight,and even more so as the evening light touches my cheek. It is a journey of great power…one that is beyond comprehension at times,but it is,an experience I have survived…and grown into along the way….and the depth has made me stronger and wiser than I ever imagined….and it makes me thankful for every breath I take….and soon,that dream of an adventure to new places and a quiet,simple new nest will be a reality….and surprise,NO FEARS!….best of everything to you in your life as you move forward….it is what those who loved us would want for us!…..

  5. Beautiful, Beautiful! You are an inspiration! I too am recently widowed (March 1st). My husband and I traveled many miles in many RV’s over the 28 years we had together. I guess I am still in the “I don’t know what to do now” stage. I just sold our vintage 68 Shasta and am strongly thinking of hitting the road alone in my van that I am converting. I would be tenting in good weather. I miss him so much and am not sure how traveling the roads and camping will feel without him but I am a strong, confident and unafraid person. I had to do all the driving, hitching and unhitching, set up, etc because my husband became legally blind some years ago. I guess you could say that I am at my tipping point right now. My only fear is that I will miss him even more out there on my own! Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Sherry,
      We all need to find our way through this in our own hearts, but I know for me, the real difficulty would be finding an apt somewhere and staying there. Being out on the road, for me, is painful as I drive right into this grief with reminders of my travels with Chuck everywhere. But its what I need to do. If nothing else, maybe you can test it out with a short trip and see how it goes for you. I’ve learned to just let the rawness of grief flow and I’ve learned to give it space without fear. You might miss your husband more, but that’s okay in the midst of not being okay. And, who knows, if you do? We might meet out there somewhere~

      Let me know how it happens~
      alison

  6. THANK YOU!!!!
    I lost my most wonderful Husband 16+ yrs ago – it feels like yesterday. We had a motor home & I did do a little camping on my own w/my GSD, Lady. About 6 yrs after he died, I bought a new mh & full timed for 5 yrs. I had to – the grief was still weighing me down & I needed to give myself the time to go through it. I could no longer take everyone telling me “how well I’ve done” bc I had my happy face on!
    THANK YOU!!!
    I, too, have had the upfront & clear conversation w/my kids.
    I, too, no longer take sh*t from anyone & I feel free and confident saying “No, thank you” instead of always saying “yes, of course”.
    THANK YOU!!!
    I don’t think there is another man out there for me, but if he is out there – he’s got his work cut out for him!
    THANK YOU!!!
    I’m so glad I’m not alone!
    THANK YOU!!!!

  7. I lost my husband to cancer four years ago. I had four of watching him die helpless to help him or stop it , married 47 years each day is a a day with out him and so many demands on me , I’ve lost who I was and am learning how to get buy, I hope the path you have made is a good one Ron and I talked about a camper and just going but it didn’t happen.

    • My heart goes out to you as you grieve the death of your husband. Its such agony to watch those we love go through the dying process, and it can take so much from us in energy and spirit.

      I know that I’ll find Chuck somewhere out here on the road, make a connection with him again. And I wish for you that you find a way to live, a way to be, that brings light to your life.

      Stay in touch with me~
      alison

  8. Your journey down the road is an inspirational tale of love, grief, happiness, appreciation, heartache, laughter and a million other emotions. I applaud you for keep on keeping on, which I dare say is the hardest thing to do. Tis true, those left behind must honor our loved ones by living a good life, a life filled with happiness, love, adventure, a willingness to grow, even when our grief paralyzes us, emotions flip flop and dance on our hearts.
    I pray God will bless you and keep you, shine his loving light down upon you and give you peace.
    Maybe one day when your not looking you’ll find a new love, I hope that will happen, as you have so much to give.
    Good luck in your life, God bless, love and hugs.
    Your blog has been an open hearted glimpse into your life’s journey
    Thank-you for that.
    It helped me with my own grief and reminded me to live my life with laughter, forgiveness and love,
    but that’s another story for another day.
    Kisses, Kimberly

    • Kimberly,
      I’d love to hear your story some time. I thank you for your good wishes, for your encouragement, for the love and good will that shines through. It touches my heart that what I write might have any bearing on your grief.

      Chuck hoped that I might someday find someone to love and if that day happens, it will be with his blessing.

      You’re a light shining through this darkness for me-I hope you stay with me as I travel this Odyssey~
      alison

  9. I am currently a salisbury beach and you are camping couple sites down and I read your beautiful story. It touched me so much my boyfriend scott had to come over and hug me tight. He asked me if I would be brave enough to go out and travel if he passed. I really didn’t have an answer for him because I can’t picture myself without him. He has helped me grow and showed me that anything is achievable if you believe and work hard. He has diabetes and he is know unable to work because it is getting worse he has had two minor strokes. So i try to appreciate everyday with him. Sometimes it is difficult because he gets depressed and angry. Due to his disease he always says he is tired of being sick all the time. So thank for sharing your love story. I want to come over and meet you but nervous that I will start crying.

    • Kelley,
      I wish you’d come over so that I could have given you a hug. I’m humbled that my story touched you in any way and I’m so glad that you have someone such as Scott to love. Chuck and I had 24 years together and I learned to be the woman I am by being with him. Now that he’s gone, the love that he and I had for each other is what sustains me and fuels me on this Odyssey of Love. I remember Chuck saying also, that he was so sick of being sick-its tough on them, its tough on those who love them. Just grab every day, every second.

      I hope you’ll stay with me as this Odyssey continues~
      alison

      • Allison,
        I had every intention on coming over to meet you and your daughter, I had brought my sewing machine up with me so I could get a little sewing in while on my vacation, usually too busy working to get into my sewing room at home. I had made you something and was going to bring it over, Scott and I had left early either on Thursday or Friday to take a trip along the coast line to Kennebunk, and when I returned later on you had already left. But who knows maybe I will see you again in your travels next year. stay safe. If you have a address or PO Box I would love to send it to you,

        Kelley

        • Kelley,
          How very sweet of you to think of me ❤ If you're going to send it in the next few days you can send it to: Alison Miller/c/of Carrie Mikulski, 606 Sunset Rd, Burlington NJ 08016. We'll be in the area there for 2 weeks.

          I hope we get a chance to meet out on the road-I know I'll be in New England again next year. Our younger son lives in CT with his girlfriend so I'll be here regularly.

          Stay in touch~
          alison

    • Renee, it means Fucking Warrior Goddess. It is a term I coined for myself, to remind me that I CAN do this, that I AM doing this, without him. Living without him requires fierceness, and stepping into each day consciously, donning my armor and seeking out my mantra, posted on both my car and my T@b~

    • Renee,
      FWG is a term I coined for myself shortly after Chuck died. It means Fucking Warrior Goddess. I use it to remind myself that I can do this life without him, that I can step into each day and live fiercely without him. It isn’t even a swear word to me any more, used this way. Its a fierce, strong, uncompromising term for me~

Talk to me~

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