Where was it, and what was my hair doing when I met Chuck? I do remember the ugly brown, military issue, glasses I was wearing the first time he knocked at the door and I opened it to find a man dressed…and well-dressed, I might add…in his uniform camos. Continue reading
Stay with me, my beloved husband.
Don’t leave me.
I don’t want to be without you in this life.
Words uttered only in my heart as my hand gently touched your forehead.
As my hand glided over your cheekbones, sharpened by cancer.
As my two hands wrapped around your fingers, stroking your knuckles.
Remembering the strength of your hand wrapped around mine in our lifetime together.
As your spirit slowly faded away from me.
Rest easy, my Love.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for showing me how to love.
I will always remember you.
I will make sure that every person I ever meet from here on
Will hear your name from my lips.
Hear who you were to me.
Who I was to you,
And who we were to each other.
I will always remember you.
I’ll always be okay.
Just let yourself rest, my beloved.
You are loved.
Slip away when it’s time for you to go.
It’s okay for you to go.
You are loved.
Eyes filled with Love as lips spoke these words aloud.
How could I wish for you to linger on when you were so spent?
So I spoke words that I hoped you would hear even as you traveled on without me.
Words to reassure you,
Words that shattered my heart,
As the very air around us changed and Time ticked minutes and then seconds,
And sacred beauty filled the room,
Even as tears fell.
Where are you, my beloved?
Where did you go?
I don’t know where you are.
You know where I am.
Come find me.
I will wish you into being, as I travel on without you.
Perhaps if I yearn desperately enough for you,
You will return…
Stay with me, my beloved husband.
Don’t ever leave me.
I can’t bear to be without you.
Place your hands upon my shoulders.
Wrap your left behind Love around me.
Let your spirit shine within me.
Let your Love beat strongly in my own heart
Add it to the Love I had for you,
And let our combined Love shimmer and shine so extravagantly
That the world must stop in wonder and awe.
Be with me, my beloved husband,
As I live on, for both of us.
I love you.
I was loved by you.
I carry you with me and within me.
Your Love, my Love, our Love, is my armor.
April 21, 2013
I’m not going to write about what’s going on all around the world right now.
We’re all getting enough of it on a 24 hour basis.
I will, instead, write about Love.
I’m going to write about the power of Love in uncertain times. Continue reading
All good love stories begin with Once upon a time. Once upon a time a man and a woman met and fell in love, created a life together….and, it pretty much ended there. We don’t hear much of the fullness … Continue reading
Quite early on in this widowed life, as I went out on the road and realized that I didn’t recognize myself or my life in any way since the night of April 21…
I remember thinking to myself…though it was more in the way of torturing myself…with the thought…
What if Chuck were to come back to life?
Would he recognize me?
How could he possibly recognize me when I no longer had any sense of who I was or what I looked like and everything inside of me was frozen?
The mere thought that he might not recognize me caused me immeasureable pain loaded on top of the pain of his death.
Because he might come back, right?
Reality had nothing to do with it for me.
It was like shards of glass embedded in my skin, that question.
Embedded in my skin and in my blood vessels as I stood in hundreds of campgrounds around the country, looking up at the night sky in futile frustration, asking what the ever loving FUCK happened to my life?
So I posed that question to our kids as I visited them along my Odyssey of Love.
Would dad know me if he were to return and maybe, I don’t know…see me at some campground somewhere?
Such a simple question, really.
But not simple at all, because at the root of it simmered all my doubts of who I’d become after his death.
Was I hardened? Was I bitter? Was I too shellshocked? Was I…gone?
Each one of our kids responded unequivocally….YES. Dad would know you right away. Even if he saw you from a distance.
Without doubt. Absolutely.
I’ve been widowed for over 6 years now.
I’ve been on the road, alone, for 6 years and 8 months, living in my pink trailer. Driving the roads of our country on my Odyssey of Love.
And this is what I know now, for certain, way down deep in my soul. All the way to my toes and tips of my fingers.
If I were in some campground somewhere, my pink trailer sitting right next to my pink car, my outdoor living space glamped up, a pretty pink umbrella with crystals hanging from each point, music playing…
And Chuck were somewhere nearby, with his own, much more military like, campsite, maybe talking with someone who stopped by to talk to him…
And out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of a whole lot of pink…
He’d turn and look at my campsite in full…
Excuse himself to the person he was talking to…
And stride over to all this pink…
See me sitting in one of my pink chairs, on top of the pink flowered rug, with a clear crystal gazing ball propped on a lace covered table…
He’d come right up to me, with a smile on his face…a grin, really, because he’d be so intruiged…
And he’d say Hi. My name is Chuck. I couldn’t help but notice and he’d wave his hand around and I had to come over and meet the woman who created all of this.
I’d smile. and stand to greet him.
My heart would melt and my knees would weaken, and I’d feel the same surge I felt the first time I opened the front door of my mom’s house, way back in 1988, and saw this handsome man standing there, dressed in BDUs, with that same smile on his moustached face, looking right into me.And our Love story would start all over again…
My wid sis, Lorri, sent me this meme yesterday, and I snorted with laughter til I just about choked.
Seriously. It’s frickin’ hysterical.
I laugh like a lunatic every time I see it.
Which is frequently, because I printed it out and put it on the wall next to my desk.
This kind of dark humor is pretty much the only thing that tickles my former funny bone.
You know, the one I had when Chuck was alive and I genuinely laughed at all kinds of shit, and enjoyed life.
Now it’s this kind of dark humor.
One of my other fond laughing til I snorted moments was last Spring, after I and two of my wid sisters had wrapped up Camp Widow Tampa and returned to MacDill AFB where we’d taken lodging.
Before going to our separate rooms, we hung out in the snack bar near the front desk, knoshing on french fries and sandwiches.
Talking about CW, people we’d met, workshops we’d attended. How the best part was just hanging out with our wid community, shooting the shit.
Our conversation quickly devolved…or evolved, as I see it…to our dead husbands. Funerals. Cremations. Urns. Memorials. Widowhood. The shit of widowhood. What it’s really like. How we’d love to say to those who are in early stages that it all gets better but mostly it just stays shit and you do life anyways and you make it count because what are the options and dating and marrying again and…everything.
We were laughing uproariously about all of it. Same as me and Lorri, with whom I’m rooming here in AZ, were doing this evening, over this meme.
As we sat in that snack bar at MacDill, and sat in the diner here in AZ this evening, laughing til our stomachs hurt, anyone looking at us would have thought we were having the time of our lives. The server at the snack bar commented to us about the good time we were having and how good it was to see people so enjoying themselves.
Bless her heart.
If we’d told her that we were discussing rubbing our dead husband’s cremains into our arms after scattering them…or scattering them and having the wind blow them back into our faces…or mixing them in with, say, brownies or muffins and how inappropriate that would be…but would it really be inappropriate?…I can imagine the look on her face, right?
Dark widow humor. It’s my saving grace.
It takes what is real and painful and forever and puts it right there in front of me and you and helps us cope.
Yeah, death takes us all at one point. Of course it does. In any couple, 1/2 of you will die before the other half and the remaining half will be left holding the bag, trying to make sense out of the wasteland you now stand upon.
I’m never been comforted by the memes that boldly state when you can bravely tell your story without crying, that’s when you know you’ve healed. Shit, I don’t even know what the word healing means, other than I’m sure it carries different meaning for each person.
I don’t know what the word hope means, except…shit, I don’t know.
I don’t care for the meme that says “you can cry because they’re gone or you can smile because they lived. That kind of shit diminishes the real and true and natural and normal expression of grief. I do, however, believe that I can cry because they’re gone AND smile because they lived, etc, etc...
I can’t promise those who are newly bereaved that it gets better, or easier. There are considerably too many components to grief to make such a blanket statement. Too many variables presented to each individual to say such a thing.
Call me a pragmatist.
All I know to really say is get ready for the shittiest, most confusing, exhausting, life changing and not always in a good way, ride of your life. Hang on tight. Hang onto your community. Find your community, as quickly as you can. They’ll save your life and, sometimes, with dark humor, your sanity.
Widowhood….grief in general, whatever the relationship…ain’t for the faint of heart.
So, yeah, I have a great sense of humor.
But it isn’t anything like the sense of humor I used to have.
And I’m okay with that.
Because, you know….
70. 20. 10. 65. 85. 60. 1.
East to west to north to south and back again.
The Oregon coast. The road to the Keys. New England. The Southwest. Deep South.
Roads and directions and places and, most of all…memories.
We…you and I…were everywhere together.
I travel to as many places, the same roads as we did.
I don’t go to places though.
I don’t go to National Parks or monuments.
I’m not much interested in places since you left this earth.
Since you and I parted.
None of it carries the same meaning for me.
The thrill isn’t there, alone.
Or with others, really.
So I don’t go places.
But I do go. I do see.
I travel the roads you and I traveled and my eyes light on a roadside picnic table and I think to myself…we sat there under an umbrella and ate lunch, marveling at our surroundings.
I suddenly realize that the road I’m on is one we were on in our red Escape.
I’m on that same road now, in my pink car, towing my pink trailer that bears hundreds of names written in red pen.
It isn’t the same.
I didn’t expect it would be, of course.
How could it be?
To me and to so many others.
What my pink car and trailer represent, I mean.
I’m passionate about what I’m doing.
I’ll do it as long as I can.
But oh, my dearest Love, my eyes search for you on these roads.
My heart searches for those memories. It searches for all we felt for each other.
I try to feel it again and it’s there but distant…a memory of my mind because it’s been so long.
So very long since I glanced over at you in the driver’s seat and reached out my hand to massage the back of your neck as you steered us into adventure and you returned my glance and smiled and rested your hand on my knee.
Oh, my Love, my dearest Love…
I wish you back, adventuring with me.
I miss you~