I finally had a moment to watch Michele’s keynote address from Toronto this week. As always, it touched me to my bones. It made me stop and consider, in my own life…what dreams did Chuck and I have? Have I continued his dream? Have I dreamed my own dreams?
And, as I considered, my hand drifted down to my right leg, where, on the outside part below the knee, I had a tattoo inscribed my second year of widowhood.
I was at the Sturgis Bike Rally in South Dakota in 2014, the year after Chuck’s death. Our daughter was with me on this stint of my Odyssey of Love and we stumbled into the rally accidentally. Since we were there, we decided to amble around and people watch and while doing so, we came across a tattoo shop. I’d known for a while that I wanted another tattoo, but was uncertain, until that moment we passed it, what I wanted on my leg.
It's similar in approach to Michele’s words dream on.
The tattoo on my leg reads I will sing you to me.
The quote is from the movie Australia. Chuck and I loved that movie, and watched it numerous times. The words were said between 2 of the characters as they parted, hoping that they would see each other again someday.
I will sing you to me.
My daughter and I, right before getting to Sturgis, had visited Crazy Horse Monument, in SD. It was the last place Chuck named for me to scatter his cremains. Yes, there would be more places, and I knew that, but this was the last place he named for me. The rest of it…this Odyssey of Love…was up to me. He could only start me on this mission, he couldn’t finish it. And I know that he hoped, as I continued my Odyssey and found other places to scatter his cremains, I would create this new life without him.
So, as I ruminated on the wording for my tattoo, I remembered the movie and this quote and I had the phrase tattooed on my leg. From this point on, I would have to keep my heart open, in order to realize where I needed to scatter Chuck’s cremains. It was no longer him. It was me.
I will sing you to me. Those words and what they mean to me…
I will keep my heart open I will connect with you again somehow I will be open to Love in all forms I will hold you close I will adventure I will venture out even though my instinct is to run to ground and shut myself down I will meet people I will write I will connect I will not stop I will make this my own I will honor you I will honor our Love story I will honor me and my determination I will hold close the Love you left behind for me I will allow fear to embolden me rather than stop me I will make Love bigger than my grief I will allow grief I will also allow Love…
All of these things.
Chuck and I spent our last 4 years together on the road, sitting 1 foot across from one another and talking intensely about Love and marriage and relationships and men and women and dreams and traveling and adventure and everything else under the sun.
He didn’t tell me how to go on without him; how could he even possibly? I took what I know he left…more Love than any one woman could ever hope for in life…and used it, use it daily, to fuel the miles. It’s the most impossible thing I’ve ever done, and now, 4 ½ years later?
I’ve crisscrossed the country 8 times, scattering his cremains, meeting people along the way from every walk of life. I’ve heard their stories and shared mine.
I’ve logged 110,000 miles with my rig, PinkMagic.
I’ve got a stellar reputation as the woman who drives a pink car and tows a pink trailer, who wears pink and tells the Love story of her husband, and listens to other's stories.
I’ve written my first book and I’m readying it for print by Christmas.
I’m developing workshops based on my solo travels as a woman alone, as a widow, navigating not only the external road, but the internal terrain of loss.
I’m writing a script for my first one-woman performance to take on the road and perform around the country. Yep. Me. I’m going to do that.
I’ve got my second show already planned.
I’m writing my second and third book both at the same time and it’s working.
All of this and none of this, could I ever have predicted, when Chuck died. It still sucks the big one, I’m overwhelmed with loneliness for him and his absence looms hugely next to me and my skin hurts for him and my determination is just as big as all of that.
This isn’t what Chuck would have done, and I know that. But knowing I’ve done it this way, for me? The grin on his face would split from ear to ear, with pride and Love. He knew I’d do something with all of this, because that’s the woman I am.
The last years we had together, out on the road, opened the door for me. Those years of wandering and adventuring with him showed me that there was another way to live, other than the so called normal way of life that most of us live. My mind expanded so much in our last 4 years that, when I considered how I would live after his death, my thinking ran to how do I do this alone?
And, viola! My rig, PinkMagic, and a community of Love and support that I’ve created for myself around the country.
My dream, how I am singing Chuck to me, how I am singing life to me? I don't have an actual plan, per se. What I do know, is that any life that I create for myself now, after his death, must at least equal, if not surpass, the life I shared with him. It must be spectacular, it must be colorful, and it must, must, must, be filled with Love.
I sing him to me every damn day, as I dream on.
And on, again~