And the Plan is...

Thank goodness for outside observations offered by those loving people who surround me. Thank goodness for their perceptions that are gently offered when all I have to offer is what seems to me to be nothing but confusion. My self-perception is off, skewed, and, generally speaking, not terribly trust-worthy. I feel confused and aimless and the language I use reflects that. 

Fortunately I have people around me who are able to support me in parsing through my own self-judgement, which tends to run towards harsh, and they help me shift my thinking.

I’ve lived solo on the road since Chuck died, as many of you know, visiting family and friends as I fullfill his final request of scattering his cremains at our favorite places. This Odyssey of Love, as I call it, has taken, continues to take me, in all directions of these United States. At this point I’m on the second part of the Odyssey: he named 4 places for me and I’ve been to those 4. There are, however, others, and in order for me to know those places, I must keep my heart open. And keeping my heart open is what will take me into this new life without him.

Chuck knew this. I don’t know that he consciously thought every detail out, but he knew me and he knew the path of grief and so he set me a task and gave me a direction, knowing full well he could only get me started and the entirety of it is on me. Smart man, my husband. Smart man who knew me well.

So I’ve been doing it; driving thousands of miles, when, honestly, I don’t even really like driving. Gaining confidence in myself as I tow my PinkMagic rig, when I’d never even considered ever learning to tow anything, prior to his death. Gaining more confidence as I’ve learned to camp, which I’d not only never done but would have never considered doing. Continually meeting new people on the road, when the temptation is to isolate myself completely. Sharing my story and hearing the stories of strangers on the road, which is a healthy way to work my way through this morass of emotions.

What my life feels like to me is that I’m wandering aimlessly, with no direction, no true purpose other than fulfilling my husband's wishes. It’s overpoweringly lonely, grief is everywhere and I’m way outside my comfort zone and it’s difficult for me to see the big picture. Impossible, really, to believe that there even is a big picture. But there is indeed a big picture and this is it: I’ve been on the road solo for 2 years and a few months and I’ve learned how to tow a trailer, hitch and unhitch with confidence, back up, set up and break down camp, I’ve persevered with determination and grace and I’ve learned to give space to that determination right alongside the sharp edges of grief that shred my insides. I’ve learned to let it all just fucking be right where it is instead of running from it or ignoring it or trying to make it something else so that it won’t be what it is. And I’ve done it all in a pink car with huge letters on both sides that say “nothing but love”, towing a pink trailer, with lettering on the front of it that say “FWG” which means fucking warrior goddess because that is what I must be to get through this. I must be determined and honest with my emotions and give in and give space and allow the ebb and flow and show up even though tears cloud my eyes and my body feels heavy and I just want to curl into a ball on the floor and sometimes I must even allow myself to curl into a ball on the floor so that I can get up again.

I don’t know where any of this is taking me. There is little I believe in any longer other than the power of the love that Chuck left behind for me but that love is my super power and it is propelling me into whatever the next part of my life must be. Most of me knows the big picture part of this and it gets me through my moments and days but it takes my family and friends and the unexpected encounters with those I meet on the road to remind me that no, I’m not aimless, without a plan, wandering, that there is purpose in the wandering.

And for that, I’m forever grateful.

*I'm also grateful that a massive crash of thunder woke me out of a sound sleep at midnight east coast time because otherwise you wouldn't be reading this. I had a full day of travel and was exhausted from it and forgot that I needed to write this blog. So, thank you to Thor and his hammer that shook the bejesus outside my window, sending lightning that lit up the room.* 

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  • commented 2015-07-02 07:10:39 -0700
    ’ I just want to curl into a ball on the floor and sometimes must even allow myself to curl into a ball on the floor so that I can get up again."…..
    And we do get up again…and again…and again…and again…
    I don’t know how or even why, but we do…we must.
    I think it is because there is more we must LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE, LEARN, GIVE, TAKE, SHARE, TEACH, ACCEPT, CHANGE…maybe UNDERSTAND….but most of all…L O V E…for there is NOTHIN’ BUT LOVEHUGS
  • commented 2015-07-01 15:04:52 -0700
    Alison, I am sure I speak for many, many readers out there who all, like me, look forward to your posts to follow your journey, which is not just the metaphorical winding road of grief but the real tar and concrete highways. In a way perhaps many of us wish we could be out there on the road like that, experiencing, learning, grieving… and moving. Through the painful sorrow and madness of grief, to be like a leaf blowing in the wind with, as you said, a real purpose, fueled by that love…something very poetic and soulful about it – and as Kelley said – epic. Thank you for sharing it.
  • commented 2015-07-01 07:21:56 -0700
    I, for one, think you are amazing, and Im so happy to have met you at camp. Everything feels aimless after this loss, and I can only imagine being on the road for so long would make this feeling even more “anchorless”. But Chuck knew what he was doing when he asked you to scatter those ashes. As you said, he was a smart man, and he knew it would take you on some sort of adventure and that you would absolutely grow and learn things about yourself and others and life. Things you would not have known or learned by staying at home. I think that while on the surface it looks like you were sent to honor his wishes, I believe he , as you said, saw the big picture somehow, and that was the real reason he asked you to do this. I think he knew you so well and the faith he had in you is awesome, and he knew you would turn this into something epic. And who knows what that might be. A book about the adventure? A documentary? A new connection you never would have made otherwise? Or just many pieces of self-discovery along the way. Everything feels aimless after this loss. I am not traveling the country and I feel aimless too. But we are not aimless. Everything we do or decide leads us somewhere else, and we are learning minute by minute to navigate THIS life, while carrying them always with us. You are awesome!