Before I met him, Handsome Husband was a flight navigator on C-141’s. As such, he learned to read difficult instrument panels, use a slide-ruler, numbers..I’m not sure what else. He was good at it and he brought those talents to our life together on the road as Happily Homeless. Points on a map that need to be figured and reconfigured; he did that well in his time in the Air Force and in our adventures.
Me? Not so much. This life that I have to create without him is a blank map in every way. In my mind I stare in a fog at the knobs and buttons facing me on my own panel and blindly push one, twist another, uncertain of the outcome of my efforts. It is all completely unfamiliar, very much unwelcome and yet…it must be done. It must be done because I haven’t died and am still alive (those are two vastly different statements in my mind). It just is. Period. And I hate every fucking second of it because I would rather not be here. Yes, I said it. I would rather not be here on this earth because I don’t like life without him. In fact, I can more honestly say, I hate life without him.
BUT. Here’s where all of you come into my story.
You respond to my writings, you share your own story, you reach out to me as another widow/er, as a recovered alcoholic, as a fellow traveler on the road, as a woman also traveling alone, as a fill in the blank and you are, for me, points on a map.
The map I picture is one of the galaxies, and you, as you reach out to me, are stars and planets that suddenly light up my darkness and give me something to point towards. Amidst the grief and agony, I see lights out there and think well that gives me a direction and maybe I’ll learn something along the way that will ease this heaviness.
And so I steer PinkMagic in that direction, knowing that there is something there, something tangible, and that gives me a moment of surety, a compass marker to steady me.
Currently, my direction is South, towards Florida. These roads are filled with so many searing memories of my and Handsome Husband’s adventures and these memories don’t help me remember the good times; they blazon into my soul only that they will never happen again, that he is not next to me, that I am without him, that such possibilities are gone forever. And in the midst of nothing being okay, it’s kind of okay because this is what grief is for me and I do what I can to breathe into it, breathe through it and I look for another marker, and another and another and I push one button and twist another on the navigator’s panel in front of me with no clue about what it is but with no fear and thus draw one more line on this map of mine.
I thank each of you, far and wide, for being my markers on the compass. It’s kind of like you’re over there, waving at me, holding up a welcome sign, bringing me in for a temporary landing of my aircraft, offering me so much love that my heart overflows, offering me words not so much of hope but of blessing and affirmation, standing with me, bearing witness, sharing memories of the man with whom I shared a love story, bringing your own introspection, allowing space for where I am.
I’m navigating this because of you.