Yes…He Would~

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. IMG_9097
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…

So….

It looks so bright and cheery, doesn’t it?  My rig, I call it.  PinkMagic.  10433904_10154330525025441_6084715618478075880_n

Buying this car and, a few months later, this T@b trailer, was a major decision in the year after Handsome Husband died.  You know, the major decisions that you aren’t supposed to make in the year after a death.  Those decisions.

I was on my own for the first few months of travel in PinkMagic.  Now our daughter Rachael-Grace (Rae) is with me for the next 6 months as we continue this Odyssey of Love, fulfilling my husband’s final request of me, to scatter his cremains at his favorite places.

The life that I’m living now probably seems like a dream come true to so many people who only see the pink and our traveling life and who don’t know the story, or the depth of the story and see only the surface image.  Or who only want to see this external image.

This trailer is my home on the road.  I knew after Chuck’s death that emotionally I couldn’t handle traveling in the same fashion that he and I had but I did need a familiar place to lay my head at night.  He and I called ourselves Happily Homeless for our 4 years but after he died I only felt homeless.  Lost.  So I bought this trailer and painted it in the same pink as my car.  Even though I’d never towed and don’t care for camping.  Or driving much.   And still feel lost.  And I lie alone at night or walk around a campground and wonder how the fucking hell is this my life and how is it that he’s dead and gone from me?  This PinkMagic rig is part of the armor that strengthens me each day.  Handsome Husband told me to mourn for him in pink, not black.  I took his words seriously.  As you can tell. (and he so often complained that I never listened to him…)

You see hula-hoops.  Looks like so much fun, yes?  And it’s not that it isn’t fun.   But, yes, a deeper reason exists.  Rae makes and sells them on the road for income.  We use them for exercise at the end of a day of driving.  We use them to move the grief energy throughout our bodies.  Passersby see them and stop to join us.  They help us meet people.  Grief is isolating.  We’re always new to an area.  Same, same for PinkMagic.   We meet lots of people on and off the road.  Lots of hugs are given and received.

The FWG on the front of my T@b?  If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know what it means.  I make no apologies for anyone who takes offense at the imagined crudeness.  Fucking Warrior Goddess.  It gives me an image to live into every damn day that I have to wake up to another day without him.  It is my battle cry.  It says to me step into this and find strength.  See who you are who he knew you were and be that.  Take the love you shared and live fiercely.  Just fucking love and let it be stronger than the grief.

Anyone who would like to step into my shoes and live this life as you see it, be my guest.  Please.  You be the one to drive with your husband’s cremains on the seat next to you, with the folded flag presented to you at his memorial service next to that.  You enfold his ID tags in your fingers.  You breathe in the scent of your husband’s uniform jacket  that hangs on the back of the passenger seat where you used to sit while he drove because he was a rotten passenger, even though his scent is long gone but you do it because it’s what is left of him.  You wear his shirt at night-time so that you can pretend his arms are wrapped around you.  You put your hand out to touch the urn next to your bed and feel your heart shred yet again because he’s gone. Forever fucking gone.

And then you get up and drive the roads you traveled with a man you loved more than life itself, with the memory of his hand on your knee and wish to fucking god that he was here with you now and wonder how the fuck you’re going to live the entirety of the rest of your life without him.  You force yourself to return to those places he asked you to and stand with the pain and scatter his cremains and utter a prayer of thanksgiving that you had a life of love with someone who died way too fucking soon, who suffocated to death in front of you.  Breathe in that pain and agony because it’s there and you just have to bear with it until it eases and you hope to god it’s soon because you’ve never been in so much slicing, dicing, shredding, soul-destroying pain in your life.

And repeat.

And then tell me how much fun this is and how great it is to be on vacation. Collasssge

So….Pink~

I’ve gotten comfortable now in telling the story of all this pink around me.  Pink car.  T@b trailer with pink trim.  Pink insides on both.  Mostly pink fashions (if what I wear can be named such-I tend to shop at thrift stores).  I have a pink straw cowboy hat and pink cowboy boots.  Pink jewelry.  I also have bling wherever possible.  My motto is too much is never too much.  Go big or go home.

Pink, pink, pink.  Raspberry pink, soft pink, shimmer pink, pink in all shades and patterns.

So, the thing is, none of this is just because I like the color pink.  Which I do, but not because its the thing.  I hate to do anything because it’s the thing.  Trendy, you know.  Who cares about trendy?

Before I start:  2 things to mention as back story.

I told Handsome Husband, before he died, that I was going to paint my car pink so that he could find me out here on the road.  He smiled and said he’d be looking for me.

He said to me, before he died  “Don’t mourn for me in black.  It isn’t your color.  Mourn for me in pink”.

I took him very seriously.  Can you tell?

None of this is done lightly.  Pink is, at this time in my life, a deadly serious color.

I wake in the morning and sheath myself in pink to give myself courage.  It’s always been a color of strength and joy to me.  I need strength and I want to find joy again someday.  So pink is my armor.   On days when I’m feeling particularly needful, I wear all pink.  I can never wear too much of it.  Yes, it’s armor but it isn’t armor that protects me from anything.  It’s armor that reminds me to keep my heart open to the love coming my way.  It reminds me that Handsome Husband loved me deeply and that the love he and I shared is still with me.  Pink is my love armor.

PinkMagic.  Yes, my car and my T@b, both in their glorious “Chuck’s Watchin’ Over Me” pink-they’re my magic ride.   PinkMagic takes me out on the road to connect with Handsome Husband again, to connect with friends not yet met, to meet people I need to meet.  I drive east and west and north and south and that one honk from someone passing by, drawn to the color, usually accompanied by a thumbs up, takes me out of my grief and makes me look up and over and smile in return.  It draws fellow campers to me at the camp sites.  We share stories, we exchange phone numbers, we stay connected.

Pink is the color of my grief and it’s the color of my re-entry to life.  It’s my heart wide-open, no matter how much it hurts.  It’s the color of all the love that is lifting me and carrying me through this devastation.   Pink is the solemn promise that there is life again, whether I feel it now or not, whether I want it or not.

Pink.  Love.  Life.  Promise.

Pink as armor for a Warrior Goddess.  Who knew it could be so powerful?IMG_2352phqqqqoto