Our younger son asked me recently, in reference to this full-time life on the road that I'm living, if I'm doing this as a way of running away from the pain and grief.
It's a legitimate question and something I've pondered over the last 9 months. He and I spoke frankly about the possibility and I was able to reassure him that it isn't the case.
For me, running away from this grief would consist of renting an apartment somewhere and staying put. Just from the short times that I've stayed with family as I've traveled this Odyssey of Love, I know that what would easily happen if I rented a place is that I'd zone out into a routine and it would be no time at all before I'd sleep later and later, covers over my head. If I didn't actually end up under the bed. Hiding indeed.
Living on the road as I am, I'm very much driving headlong into my grief. Over the 4 years that Chuck and I adventured together, living full-time on the road, though in a different way than I'm doing, we covered all the lower 48 states, driving the back roads, visiting monuments, National Parks, landmarks-you name it. I don't even remember all the roads we drove or places we stopped; Chuck was the rememberer for us. Now that I'm the pilot I never know when I'll suddenly remember oh we were here! and the deluge of emotions hit me. It can be as simple as a roadside picnic table or as big as one of the places he asked me to revisit to scatter his cremains. And it can be as simple as fueling the car; he was always the one to do that. It can be me driving; he did all the driving. In huge and small ways I'm reminded on a minute by minute basis that he is gone and I'm still here and without him and every instance sends shards of glass through my heart.
No, there's no hiding from this grief. Not that I'd want to; I've always been the sort of person to face things straight on, no matter what. Chuck knew that and I believe that's why he set me on this road. Furthermore, I believe that he intentionally mentioned only 4 places to revisit. Crazy Horse in South Dakota was the last place. From that point to this, and further as I continue on, his intent was for me to keep my heart open, not only so that I'll know where else I need to scatter his cremains, but, in so doing, find my new life without him. There is now a twofold purpose to my travels.
Grief. Sadness. Love. Magic. Heart open. And somewhere, somewhere, a new life for me. Whether I want it or not matters not. I'm still alive. Left behind but still alive and Chuck set me on this course to help me figure it out.
I'm running alright. Running towards though, not from. Running towards, carrying his love for me, with me.