Love in the Time of…This~

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

Time in Freefall~

Written on the eve of what the world celebrates as New Year’s.

But since Time has ceased to hold any meaning for me since Chuck’s death, I’ve taken it upon myself to designate my New Year as beginning on April 21; the anniversary of Chuck’s death.

That’s the time when I reflect on whatever needs reflecting upon. It’s when I do a self-check, and it’s a time that is meaningful to me. I realize, more and more, that Time is merely a social construct. It’s necessary, in our culture, to keep our worlds moving, I suppose, but for those of us left behind, it’s a mish mash of how can it be so long? and oh my god it’s been forever! There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of in between.

Recently I also made the decision to stop counting the years since Chuck’s death. Not because it doesn’t matter; it very much does. But my heart can’t manage the reality of all the years yet to come. I started sorting it all out and it will soon be 7 years and…nope. Not doing 7 years. In my mind, and what I will forever tell people henceforth, it has been 6.5 years. Period. 2020-01-04 (8)

Additionally, since I’m stopping counting the years since his death, I will no longer age. I’m 61 now, and that’s the age I’ll stay. I’m already one year older than Chuck was when he died. Enough already.

Yes, yes, of course there are those who might say, behind their hands, that I’ve gone nuts. Crackers. Over the edge. Look at the crazy widow! they’ll whisper.

Behold the field of fucks I don’t give.

I stopped caring about other’s opinions of me a looooong time ago. In fact, the first thing I’d tell anyone new to the grieving community is to install a hinge on their elbow so that it automatically shoots up when someone offers an opinion/comment/suggestion about the right way to grieve, and your fingers automatically flip them a bird. 

You can, of course, in order to appease such people, stare at your elbow/hand in shocked surprise that this happened. Act horrified if you wish. You’ve made your point with them.

In some ways I relish the prospect of being known as the crazy widow lady. Kind of a cool rep, in my mind.

I may very well create a reputation as that crazy widow lady dressed all in pink and what’s that all about? they’ll ask, not really certain if they want to know the answer.

That’s okay, too.

I’m going to just be over here, driving my pink car, towing my pink trailer with the names of all these loved ones on it, shooting sparkle and glitter at everyone. Giving hugs. Getting hugs. 

The crazy widow lady in pink.

Cool beans~

Beginning my New Year~

My new year begins each April 21.

That’s the date of Chuck’s death.

It’s the only new year that carries any meaning for me.

What do I care about January 1? 

April 21 is the day my life incinerated and I was eviscerated.

So it stands to reason, at least in my mind, that this is the day where I look back, and, insofar as I’m able, look ahead.

I knew, to the depths of my heart and soul, and into my bones, that this April 21, just recently passed, is the year where all the energy of my Odyssey of Love, would expand and grow, and it’s already happening.

Since I began my Odyssey of Love, just weeks after Chuck’s death, I’ve been laying the foundation for…something.

I didn’t know what, and I still don’t know where this is all taking me.

I just know that it’s taking me somewhere big. 

Where big is, I don’t know, and I’m not concerned about where it is.

All I’ve known, since Chuck died, is that it is my responsibility to suit up and show up and let the day unfold. The outcome isn’t up to me.

And I’ve done that. Whether I felt like it or not.

I had to make meaning out of this fucking devastation, or go nuts.

And I realized, very early on, that there ain’t nobody going to do this for me. 

I could have gone to ground. Isolated myself. God, that would have been so easy to do. It’s what my instincts told me to do.

But how could I make meaning out of any of this if I disappeared?

How could I maybe somehow connect to Chuck again, if I disappeared?

So I painted my car and trailer pink and donned my pink clothes and set out to connect with people. Share my story. Listen to theirs. Write about our Love story. Write about my fears and doubts. Write what it’s like to navigate widowhood while towing a trailer around the country, navigating new roads and pushing beyond my comfort zones.

I made myself vulnerable, in spite of the grief and pain.

It wasn’t easily done. It isn’t easily done. I’m just doing it anyways.

And where has it brought me?

It has brought me to a place where, this coming fall, I’m meeting a woman who is a photographer/videographer, in Arizona, who, along with her partner, is teaming up with me to film a documentary about my Odyssey of Love.

Wait…what?

Yep. We will create a spectacular documentary about all of this that I’ve been doing for the last 6 years. Holy shit, right? I met the exactly right person recently who has the skill, the vision, the magic, to help me translate my story into an epic documentary that I’ll take on the road with me.

I’ve been wanting to do this for…well, forever.

And it’s going to happen.

And it will be fucking epic and you’re going to want to see it.

My rig, PinkMagic, covered with the names of loved ones from around the world, will have a starring role, of course.

I plan on hosting a premiere showing of it and inviting the world.

This is the first time I’ve been excited about anything since Chuck died. 

I’m holy shit excited about this.

The energy around my Odyssey of Love has shifted and is palpable.

It’s time, you know? 

Time for all of what I’ve been creating from the depths of my shattered heart to get out into the world in a bigger way.

It’s my way of reaching my hand back, and out, to anyone else trying to figure out the “now what?” of widowhood.

Maybe someone will see it and think well, she did it. So I can do something too.

In the name of Love. THE most powerful force in the Universe.

Here I am, Chuck. And look what I’m doing with what you left behind for me.

I’m making meaning out of the godawful missingness of you. 

I’m making what we had count for something.

And I’m doing it all…including breathing…in the name of LOVE~

This Man~

My second Memorial Day without Handsome Husband.

When we lived in NJ we watched the fireworks at Ft Dix (back before it joined up to McGuire AFB and Lakehurst).  There was always a huge crowd (the fireworks were some of the best I’ve seen), and we’d plant our chairs and flags and people watch and hold hands and breathe in our surroundings.  There were always people to greet that he knew from the base.  He seemed to know pretty much everyone, no matter where we were.

In our years together, Handsome Husband and I talked frequently of death and dying and what we wished for our memorial services afterwards.  It was something that was very far in our futures of course, but we talked because such things must be spoken about, if only as a gift to the ones left behind, so that they wouldn’t have to wonder and guess.

Strangely, however, he never spoke about military honors at his service.  He was a proud Air Force retiree, but he was also very happy when he finally left the service.  The military had, as it was bound to do, changed since his early days in, and not for the better, as he saw it.  I gave him a small plastic dinosaur once, to place on his desk to remind him that he was indeed a dinosaur in the service.  He believed his job, whatever it was at any given time, to be of primary importance because somewhere along the line, someone’s safety could depend on him doing it correctly.  He had standards of excellence, he knew the AF manual inside out, he knew the proper wearing of a uniform, the code of conduct, and I never saw anyone give as sharp a salute as he did, even in civilians (which is not necessary to do but if the occasion called for it in respect, he’d do it anyways).  IMG_5535

Which is not to say he went by the books at all.  One of the greatest lessons I learned from him is that its easier to apologize than it is to ask for permission and he lived that credo in order to get his job done.

His last position in the AF is the one that convinced him to get out fast.  The office was a total shambles and the man leading it was not a leader and the morale was laughable.  It colored Handsome Husband’s first year of retirement as he came to terms with it.  Now?  I’m forever grateful to his old boss, whom I have always referred to as Satan.  And also the two bitches in the office whom he allowed to run him around by his, if you’ll forgive the vulgarity, non-existent balls.  If  Satan and his two bitches hadn’t been the way they were, Handsome Husband probably wouldn’t have retired and he would have gotten cancer and forced to retire and he’d have been stuck in the usual play of chemo/radiation/surgery rounds until he died.  Thanks to them he tipped his hat and we sold everything and had 4 glorious years on the road.  Thank you, Satan and the two bitches.

Anyways.

In spite of THEM, he served proudly and it was curious that he never spoke about military honors and I suspect it had more to do with his humility than anything else and I was bound and determined that he have those honors, so I planned the entirety of his memorial to include them.  I and each of our kids had their moments to honor him but what brought it home to me that he was indeed dead was the Honor Guard folding the flag.  My heart stopped as I waited for the captain to present it to me.  I counted his steps as he approached me and spoke those words to me that we all know.  On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of MSgt Charles Dearing.  IMG_2814

My body jumped at each shot of the 21 gun salute. IMG_2821

And I shattered inside with pain and pride as Taps sounded.  I hear Taps frequently as I camp at military FamCamps and my body feels it every time.  IMG_2823

Master Sgt Chuck Dearing.  He’s the veteran I’ll always hold close.  A man who showed up at my door one day wearing his BDU’s and embedded his way into my heart.  He is in every broken piece of it and all the in-between spots of light.

He was always quick to remind people that Memorial Day is about remembering our veterans who have died.  Veterans Day belongs to those who still live.

I never thought this day would be about you so soon in our lives together, D.

On this day.  Everyday.  Every moment.  Every beat of my heart.  I remember and honor you, my dearest love.

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