This Sunday it will be 6 years since Chuck died.
Just writing that number leaves me breathless, and not in a good way.
How can it be 6 years?
Though it might as well be 6 centuries. That's how it feels.
So, my thoughts on this fractured time as they meander through my mind...
I spent last weekend with our older son and his family, which includes two grand-goddesses, 5 and 3 years old.
I love them so very much.
And I love my son and his wife so very much, as I do my other kids and their spouses.
But-and I don't know if this is just me-it's almost...painful...to be with them. Well, maybe not so much being with them, but after I leave.
Grief surges up in me as I drive away from them, or any of our kids, after visiting.
Thinking about Chuck, and driving down the road with him.
Looking out at the desert and the mountains...I feel so fucking empty.
Where the ever loving fuck did he go?
If tasked to respond to the question what is it like now, as opposed to those nightmarish days right after he died, this is what I'd say:
It is exactly what a dear widow sister of mine, who was further along than I, told me in my 3rd year of grief.
It isn't that it gets better. We just get stronger to carry it.
I'm definitely stronger to carry it.
6 years out, and contrary to what I look like on the outside, I'm wiry and my arms are strong and my back is straight and my stride is sure.
I know in every part of me that I am living Love out loud.
I approach everyone I meet, whether stranger or family, with Love. Even people I don't care for.
I've learned the subtle art of not giving a fuck. With all the Love in the world, of course.
Anyone who chooses to see me as desperate, depressed, dark, too much, fill in the blank, chooses to question me or my life/methods of navigating this widowhood, etc...oh, I am WAY too strong to be taken down by judgement.
I wish I'd learned this strength much earlier on, but it happened as it happened, and believe me, that strength is who I am now and it comes from such a place of Love and surety of the Love that Chuck left behind for me, and certainty of what I'm doing along this Odyssey of Love...it makes me absolutely unbeatable. I cannot be taken down by others' opinions of me.
This life isn't easy in any way. It is painful beyond unbearable. It's impossible.
And I'm fucking doing it anyways.
I remember what was told to me by a woman I met in a Target store early on my Odyssey of Love. She didn't know me, had no way of knowing anything about me.
But she purposefully caught my eye as I browsed in the clothing dept of that store. After catching my eye a second time, she approached me and asked if she could tell me something.
I'm always open to whatever comes my way, so I nodded yes. She put her hand ever so gently on my lower arm and looked right at me and said this...
I need to ask you do you know that you are surrounded by angels? You have so many around you that I can't even count them. And you are protected. They are protecting you in whatever it is you're doing. So keep doing it. Just keep going. They are all around you and you are protected.
I didn't know how to respond, so I thanked her and we went our separate ways.
But I've never forgotten her words.
She was one of the people...the markers...that Chuck told me in an earlier message he'd left for me to help me find my way on this Odyssey of Love.
I wouldn't leave you without a road map. I've left markers for you along the way, both physical and metaphysical. Look for them.
Those words were told to me by yet another woman I met, just a few months after he died. A woman I'd never met before, who sought me out.
So here's the thing, world.
Don't fuck with me. Because, yes, I'm protected and I know it.
I'm protected by a legacy of Love that is more than most people know in a lifetime. By the Love of a community I created for myself around the country. By the Love of 3 adult kids who live their dad's legacy every damn day.
I was loved by Chuck.
Five simple words that carry the power and force of forever in them.
I was loved and I am Love.
And no matter what else happens,
That makes me the fiercest woman alive~