This particular blog is one I don't plan on editing or changing in any way. It's completely raw writing from the darkness of this night that I'm in.
I came in off the road not quite a week ago, right before Thanksgiving. My PinkMagic trailer is parked outside my son's house here in Arizona. He recently moved in with his girlfriend, soon to be his wife, so I'm here at the house by myself. Which is alright because I seem to feel alone whether I'm with my kids or literally on my own.
The dark night of the soul; I'm very much there. Not because the holidays make it worse, which people seem to think. Chuck and I long ago stopped celebrating holidays so they don't hold meaning for me. No, this is the soul sick missing-ness that has enveloped me every day since he died. Perhaps being still now is why I feel like I'm drowning.
It's turned out, for me, to be all about the hair.
I didn't intend it to play out like this; it just has.
Shortly after Chuck died, I cut my hair off to the scalp. Short, short, short. First scissors then a razor. It was done in a violent manner, in a way that I hoped would allow me to release some of the devastating pain of his forever gone-ness. It didn't matter to me what it looked like. I had no interest in my appearance in any case and somewhere inside of me was the thought that maybe by the time it grew out long again, the grief would be less.
In the 19 months since I was left behind, my hair has grown out a bit. I trimmed it at one point, not even an inch, and by now I'd guess it's probably below my ears. I say probably because the proper length doesn't show since I had it dredded into what I call Lovelocs. My hair is longer than it looks but it's a mess and I kind of look like Medusa unless I wear a scarf to hold it back. Which I do for now and will until the dreds grow into what they're supposed to look like. Again...and still...I don't really care what it looks like because there is an intent behind it.
My daughter and I are nearing the end of our 6 month road adventure. It will be the end of this particular segment of my Odyssey of Love. But it doesn't end in Arizona when I drop her off. I'm going to take a one month break off the road, visit with my son and grand-daughter, meet my son's girlfriend and her daughter (I'm really looking forward to that), and then continue on.
Rae (my daughter) and I were discussing the end of our travels together. She and her husband are very much anticipating their reunion and I'm happy that they'll be together again. Their life as a couple can begin again.
There is a part of me, I told her, that used to believe (or want to believe), that at the end of my travels, Chuck would be waiting for me. Even knowing it couldn't be so, that tiny place in my heart hoped, I guess, that he might be. Or couldn't believe that hewouldn't be. After all, we've been apart for almost 19 months now. It's time for us to be together again....right?
Except, of course, that he won't be waiting for me. He's dead. He's gone. And I can't conceive of settling down into a home without him. He was my home. For the last 4 years of our marriage we didn't even have a sticks and bricks house; we lived on the road, staying at military billeting as we adventured the country. At the end of May, I'll have been on the road for 6 years. 2 of those years will have been on my own as I drove this Odyssey of Love for him.Read more
I don't know what makes one day, one moment, more impossible than another. Grief is just that way. For me, it isn't a matter of grief suddenly showing itself; it's more a matter of at any one moment I'm better able to keep it under my skin as opposed to right on top. It isn't less or more than; it's just under or on top of.
Today, Veterans Day, I couldn't keep it under my skin and nerves were crawling all over the place. Nausea, anxiety, the works. It didn't show, I don't think, but it was so very there.
I was always so proud of Chuck's time in service. The first time I saw him in his dress blues, I almost swooned right on the street. But I loved him best in his BDU's (camouflage). With his moustache...oh, he was a sight for this girl's eyes...
So, yeah, today. And grief. Every day, and grief.
I wish to scream and howl my rage and horror to the skies until my vocal chords are rendered numb with exhaustion. Numb not only from exhaustion but because there are no more words to describe what my life is like without him next to me and the agony of the rest of my life missing him.Read more
Mostly, I stay in the here and now. Who can bear to even imagine 24 hours from now? So I focus my eyes right in front of me, the next step, the next mile.
18 months and a couple weeks since Chuck's death and I still look down at my feet to see where they are and I stay there. Mostly.
I'm in Key West right now, with my daughter, as I continue my Odyssey of Love for him. Memories of him are everywhere and each one stabs into me with pain, a reminder that he's gone. So, yeah, as I sat on a beautiful beach today staring out at the aqua waters, you might think I'd be appreciating the sun and sand-and you would be so wrong. I stared out at the bright blue waters into the endless horizons of the Gulf and saw only the vast emptiness that echoes in my heart and my mind, untethered, took off into my future and the anxiety began pulsing through my blood with each pump of my still working heart and I wondered how the fuck do I do the rest of my life without him?Read more
Sometimes, when I allow myself to think of my nebulous future, and whether I'll ever have a man in my life to love again, and be loved by, I think maybe I've had my love story and that's the end of that. After all, I can't be greedy, can I? Many people don't have their love story even once. I had 24 years of a love affair marriage-how can I ask for more?Read more
Today marks 18 months since my husband died. One and a half years. Forever.
He was in the Air Force and often went TDY (temporary duty) in our first years together and mostly I didn't know where he was during those times and would watch the news to maybe figure it out. But he was never gone for more than a few weeks at a time and then he'd be home safe with me and we'd carry on our love affair of a marriage.
This is the longest we've ever been apart. And, presumably, given my mostly young (ish) age, I'll spend many years without him. None of that is alright, in any way.Read more
Moving through grief is similar to moving through deep, dark mud and muck.
Lifting your feet to take another step forward takes every bit of determination and strength.
Sometimes you look down and you can't even see your feet, never mind lift them to take that step.
When you do lift them, they are covered with mud to the point of not being seen.
Nothing but a pit of mud surrounds you, as far as your eyes can see. The tears in your eyes fall into the mud beneath you and muddy it more.
I can feel my body starving for my husband. It strains outwards, palpable energy reaching outside of myself, only to be left hanging in the void where he used to stand. When I walk anywhere, I find myself keeping my right hand empty, palm open, thinking against all reality that I might feel his hand clasp mine again.Read more
My Odyssey of Love has brought me and my daughter to New Jersey, where my and Chuck's primary community lives. We're here for a few weeks, catching up with friends. It's tough being here; Chuck had his first cancer here and all the treatments and there is so much pain and grief. And there is, also, so much love.
It has been my intent since Chuck died a year ago April to get a picture of my pink car under the wing of the static display of the C-141 at the base from where he served and retired-McGuire AFB. I tried for it last year but was unable to find the people to give me the proper permission to get my car on the grass. And I didn't want to do it without permission and bring the Security Police down on me. I ran out of time last year but, as I've traveled in these last 9 months, the thought stayed prominent in my mind. My car wasn't leaving Jersey this time without that picture.
Chuck would be proud of me. I contacted his boss from years ago and told him what I wanted to do and asked him for contact names so that I could go about setting this up. And he came through for me. A couple of emails later, I had a date and time set up. Along with a lunch date with the man in charge of the memorial and an interview with the base newspaper. My daughter and I had a private tour of the interior and we ended up meeting a man who used to work with Chuck, who just happened to wander by as we stood in the belly of the plane. Our daughter sat in the engineer's seat where he sat as the flight engineer.