Seeing Strength

Chuck's first anniversary just passed.  We had a remembrance for him and danced for the love he left behind for all of us.  But I also needed, somehow, to mark this past year in a very personal way that was about me and who I am now and who I'm becoming.  Who I want to be for the rest of my life.  Thinking about it became a spiritual mediation for me and I wanted to translate that into something tangible.

I'm devastated to be without Chuck.  He was my world, my universe, my heart, and I'm broken into pieces without him.  But that isn't a bad thing.  Broken pieces allow the light to shine forth and that's what I wanted to see into reality after this first year.

So, I hired a professional photographer to meet me in Sedona, AZ and take pictures of me amidst the magical Red Rocks of that area.  Preparing myself for the photo shoot was just as much a part of the meditation as the actual picture-taking.  I did wonder how it would be, having a camera focused on me but like everything else in this past year, I decided to let it develop however it needed to develop.

I called it my FWG photo shoot because that's how I refer to myself now, and each time I tell people what those letters stand for, I come into ownership of it even more strongly.  People always ask and I'm always happy to tell them the meaning.  It means Fucking Warrior Goddess.  Yes, some people are offended by that word.  What's funny is that I don't even consider it a swear word.  I simply need a strong word to describe what my life has been since Chuck's death and that is the strongest one I can find.  It is a fierce word and who among us can't say that we live fiercely with the death of our beloveds in every breath we take?  The simple act of rising each morning, getting through our days and laying down at night to an empty space next to us, alone, signifies a fierceness.

This grief has brought out all that Chuck saw in me all the years we were together that I knew to a degree but oh, my, how it is present and evident now.  I was always a strong woman but that strength was never tested as much as its been since I've had to create a life without him.  In the past months, as I've traveled this country with my pink car and trailer, on this Odyssey of Love for him, I've had, as I'm sure you have in your own lives, so many people tell me how courageous I am, how strong.  I don't see that in me; I only know the desperation of loss that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other.

But I want to see who I know in my core that I am.  Hence, the FWG photo shoot.  Feathery white wings on my back, war paint on my face, glitter on my arms and chest, a leather vest, a sword and flowers in my hair.  Red Rocks to frame the fierce spirit that is rising in me and that I'm coming into.  A phoenix rising from the ashes. A roaring spirit.

As Christina Rasmussen of Second Firsts says over and over again (thank goodness!) "You can do the impossible because you have been through the unimaginable"

These are pictures my daughter took of me as the photographer was taking her own.  Maybe looking at these, any of you who are as uncertain and dislocated as I am in missing our loved ones, will see your own spirit rising from the ashes.  I hope so~


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