I'll be very blunt here. Christina Rasmussen, the visionary of Second Firsts, continues to help save my sanity by holding out hope. Her story helps me know that I just might get through this devastating grief brought into my soul by my beloved husband's death. I personally don't feel hope but I see the life she's built after her husband's death and I recognize intellectually that it's possible because she has shown that to me.
Her story inspired me to take the life insurance my husband left for me and use it as a springboard to create a new life without him. I don't want to create a new life without him. I must create a new life without him. I read some of her story just a few weeks after Chuck died, where she wrote of using her husband's life insurance to start a new life for herself and that was the first time I started thinking about how I could live a life without him, logistically.
I used the life insurance money to buy a car that I painted a customized color called "Chuck's Watchin' Over Me" pink, and then I bought a small trailer and painted the trim pink. It isn't pink just because I like pink. This is no wussy pink-its the pink of mourning for me. He told me before he died black isn't your color. Mourn for me in pink. Most of my clothes are pink too. It is my armor. It's a color of strength and joy. I need the one and hope to find the other again someday.
I live on the road full-time. I'm living on a wing and a prayer because I know that the money is going to run out sooner rather than later. It's kind of strange but I don't worry about it really because I know that I'm building a foundation here. For what I'm not for sure certain. I just know that something beautiful is being built.
Christina has helped me own my gifts. Why is it, do you suppose, that most of us are good at putting ourselves down, or taking criticism from others, or worse, beating ourselves up before others can, but we can't/don't own up to our talents and gifts? I've watched and read as Christina has come into her own and owned up to her gifts of being a visionary for grief and change. That has helped me immeasurably and for the first time a few days ago I spoke my gifts aloud to a group of people. I'm a storyteller, I told them. I have a story. For whatever reason, this story inspires people. I can inspire people. None of it is said with arrogance. I say it with utmost wonder really. Kind of in a wow, I can do this way.
I don't fool around with my grief. It's serious business. Creating a life for myself without the man I so passionately loved is serious business. Grief has changed my language and how I hear the words other's speak. I'm more careful in the language Iuse now. I really hear people. I listen for what they are actually saying and I don't try to fix their stuff. I stand with them and offer my empathy. I tell people what I need as I struggle through this and I don't expect them to either read my mind or always be the ones to reach out to me. I reach out to them.
I'm grieving deeply. I love my husband and I miss him in an excruciating way. And I am grateful beyond measure that words I read written by a woman I'd never met, opened my eyes to possibilities that I more than likely wouldn't have seen had it not been for her.
This Odyssey of Love I'm traveling? It was inspired by the words Christina Rasmussen wrote. I'm driving headlong into my grief on a daily, minute-by-minute basis, on roads all around this country and I'm re-wiring my brain by plugging in and I'm keeping my heart open and I'll continue to do this until I'm done. Every second of it carries pain and grief with it. And every second carries love with it.
Too often in life, we don't recognize and thank the people who make a difference in our lives. I'm writing this loud and clear (and I hope she doesn't mind) because I feel it deeply.
Thank you, Christina. These miles I'm traveling are for you and every other widow/widower out there who is lost. You give me hope. And my husband Chuck thanks you because he would never want me to feel alone and without hope and because of you, I don't.
Just...thank you. And I'm so glad I finally met you~