These Few Words~

 

I will sing you to me…..

These words curve around my lower right leg, from knee to ankle.

My 3rd tattoo.  My first one says nothin’ but love, our credo in hospice.  Those words swirl in a circle on the back of my neck, with the circle ending in a small heart, and the circle is left open.  As my heart must be in this new life without him.

My second one simply says Love, and is on the inside of my left wrist, in the exact location where the tumor I named Wilson, first showed up on Chuck.  It took a 11-hour surgery and 4 reconstructive surgeries afterwards to rid ourselves of Wilson and reconstruct Chuck’s arm.  His right thigh looked like hamburger when they were through.

Each of my tattoos carry special meaning, as all tattoos must.

But…my 3rd tattoo…

Chuck and I both enjoyed watching the movie Australia; a movie set in pre-WW2 Australia, dealing both with the invasion by the Japanese, and the kidnapping of mixed race Aboriginal children from their parents.  The kids were sent to orphanages where they were taught white ways. 

One of the most charming characters in the movie is a little boy named Nullah, a mixed-race boy, taken in by the character of Nicole Kidman.  The two are separated, in the movie, by the kidnapping of Nullah.  As she stands on the pier, desperately trying to keep him with her…as he is taken away to an island for orphans, he says to her I will sing you to me.

And she responds and I will hear you…

In our Happily Homeless travels, Chuck and I visited the huge bike rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.  We didn’t go there specifically for it, but it was going on when we were there, and we walked around and admired the bikes and fell in love with the state.

In the second year after his death, my daughter, Rachael-Grace, went on the road with me for 6 months, supporting me in my Odyssey of Love.  We crisscrossed the USA, and, in the process, ended up in Sturgis, SD, and, again, happened upon the Sturgis bike rally.

South Dakota is home to Crazy Horse National Monument, one of the places Chuck and I visited together, and the final place he’d asked me to return to, to scatter his cremains.

Rae created a beautiful ritual at Crazy Horse, and was the one to scatter her dad’s cremains there.  And then we walked around Sturgis.  Which is where I found the tattoo artist who created my 3rd tattoo.  I’d told him about our Love story, about my Odyssey of Love, and though I didn’t know when I first got there to SD what my tattoo would look like, the words came to me as I walked about, and he did a quick sketch.  Unfortunately, the cost was too much for me to justify, and I was honest with him about that.  Another of the artists, who had listened in to my story, told me that he thought I really needed to get the tattoo there…it was the last place Chuck had named, after all, and given the words I wanted, it was perfect. So, he offered to pay for half, stunning me.

I will sing you to me….

Words spoken in the movie Australia, among the Aboriginals, when saying goodbye to a loved one, with no idea whether that one will be seen again.  Words of hope for the future, maybe…

I’ve no idea whether this phrase, and the concept behind it, are true to the Aboriginals or not.  I honestly don’t care; the idea of the words touched my heart years ago, and they touch my heart now.  And I seek comfort where I can find it.

I will sing you to me…

These words that wind around my calf speak of my wish to believe, even as I struggle with believing, that I will see Chuck again someday.  Somehow, maybe, he will greet me when I die.  Maybe.

Meanwhile, in this life that I must live without him, maybe I can sing him to me in my heart, by living the Love he left behind, by reaching out with kindness, in service to others. 

I will sing him to me…

And the other half of the meaning of those words for me?

Maybe, maybe, maybe, I will sing my future to me even as I live each moment without him, as I continue this Odyssey of Love.  The future that I still don’t want, that I don’t care about, but one that seems as if it must be lived for all the days of my life until my own death.

I hold these words to me, written as clearly on my heart as they are written on my calf.

I will sing you to me…

 

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One Week

1908022_686124304775840_8575168731822894139_nIt’s been one full week on this Nothin’ But Love tour. Our first night was spent boon-docking off a forest road just outside of Sedona, AZ. The crickets chirped and the stars were bright. A hot air balloon greeted us in the early morning as it landed by our campsite. Camping for me typically involves not much more than a tent and perhaps a hammock. This new form of glamping (as “they” call it) is so up my alley. Night two in Dewey, AZ welcomed us with a home cooked dinner, storytelling, hula hooping, and a glorious view. Our hosts were warm and generous. The third night took us to a Flying J in Barstow, CA where I had a surprising solid night of sleep. Days 4, 5, and 6 put us in Morgan Hills, CA at USVA Pines RV Park where green vineyards, rolling hills, and tall trees kept us company. It also gave us some time to rest (sort of) and catch up with friends and family who lived in the area and brought with them so much love and many hugs- all of which keep us moving forward on this Odyssey of Love. One more long day north up the Pacific Coast Highway filled with winding roads, a fog covered ocean, and floral dotted cliffs finally brought us to our landing place in Fort Bragg, CA where we treated ourselves to a hot meal and comfy hotel room.

This first week has brought with it a wide range of emotions. Memories take hold and plop a smile across my face as I remember times traveled with my husband. Familiar places fill my heart with love for him. Other moments warm my heart but also tug at its strings as my mom and I happen upon places that she and my dad visited in their first year of travel. It helps me to know and feel closer to my dad as I stand in view of the very same sites he set his eyes upon in times past, but with that comes the grief of knowing that he will no longer hold my mom’s hand as the adventure continues. I also find myself wondering if my mom ever feels out of breath when she turns to look towards the drivers seat and finds me sitting there in place of my dad. Needless to say, it’s been an emotional roller coaster. 10491221_10153133209695400_8993084184656114303_n

I also miss my husband. It’s only been a week so it’s relatively easy to pretend I am simply on a short trip and will return home soon. The days come and go with gentle ease, as they are filled with many distractions. But as the lights go out, I climb into bed, and the sounds of night take over the bustle of the day, I miss him. I miss his arms around me. I wear his college sweatshirt to bed every night and shall until I can crawl up next to him again. He and I have always enjoyed falling asleep wrapped up in each other. It is a place I feel safe and oh so loved. It gives me the tiniest glimpse of the life that my mom is now forced to lead. This is a trip that I chose to do voluntarily, and one that he has been supportive of from day one. He and I both knew that this was something that I just needed to do with my mom. I have no regrets about that but that doesn’t make it any easier. I have left behind all comforts and everything that I know for 6 months to hit the open road. The only thing that I do know is that this adventure is being led by intuition and nothin’ but love.

 

So, what is to become of my life at the end of this time on the road? I have no idea and am completely ok with that. I will be a changed woman at the end of this particular experience- of that I am sure. I am moving forward with an open heart and allowing my world to unfold before me. And you know what? It’s kind of beautiful.

Allow me to introduce myself…

ImageMy name is Rachael. I am Alison’s daughter, or KamaHooptra, as most of you may know me. Handsome Husband (as most of you know him) was my dad. I miss him dearly- everyday. The stories of my parents travels, my dad’s time in hospice, and his death, have been told. You have all carried them/us in your love and support over the years. I was there when my dad died. Witnessing him take his last breath was the most horrific, sacred, and humbling experience of my life, thus far. I hated every moment and yet, wouldn’t change it for anything.

This is my first blog post since the Happily Homeless/MoonStruck blending, and it won’t be my last. My presence here will continue to grow stronger as it evolves. It didn’t start out this way. We were both happy going about our separate ways. My parents (well, my mom mostly- my dad really just wanted to be retired!) traveled about as Happily Homeless, documenting their adventures. MoonStruck was an idea that my mom and I started together, but I was the primary one behind the scenes. And as you all know by now, that has changed. Life had a plan of its own, so here we are- a couple of FWG’s learning how to maneuver through this vast new ocean.

In less than a month, I will join the rankings of Happily Homeless, but this time with a twist. I will take my place next to my mom in the newly restored Pink Magic, and we will hit the road together for 6 months (with the intention to not hit a deer again, or any other animal for that matter!). Most people hear about what we are doing and think it’s wonderful and amazing. Other people look at me like I have two heads- “I love my mom, but there is no way I could travel with her for that long!” “Your husband is going to let you be away for 6 months?” “You’re going to be offering what?” Here’s the thing- my mom and I are great friends. Like, the best. She was my maid-of-honor in my wedding. People who used to call our house often got us mixed up. My dad always swore that we were a couple of witches (in the best terms of course). We both love pink and glitter. We have the same sense of humor. We share clothes- minus pants, as I have a number of inches on her. We gossip and chat like two girlfriends who have known each other for lifetimes. So yes, we will be fine. As for the husband thing- my husband doesn’t “let” me do anything. We have a discussion, and come to an agreed upon decision. He knows if I really want to do something, I am going to do it- and vice versa. He has been wonderfully supportive of this venture from day one. Yes, it will be a challenge to spend so much time apart, but we will make it work because that’s just who we are. And finally, FWG workshops, blessing ways, and moon circles seem like a foreign concept to some, but to us they are things we feel driven to offer. They will connect us with (mostly) women across the country, and will continuing spreading our love story. We were given so much during our time in hospice and it is now our wish to give back.

This entire partnership as Happily Homeless and MoonStruck, and as mother and daughter, is a mission of love. It can’t NOT be. Our time together will be filled with laughter, tears, storytelling, dancing, grieving, magic making, and adventure. And it will absolutely extend beyond these upcoming 6 months together. I look forward to seeing how our relationship deepens. I look forward to seeing how my relationship with myself deepens. I am not the same woman I was before my father died. I can’t be. I now allow myself to sit in the shadows when I need, I love more fiercely, and I speak more freely. It is my desire to unfurl magic and light into the darkest corners of the universe. And I am more determined than ever to leave my mark of love on this planet.

Will you join me?