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.Read more
This is what I wonder. And I wonder this even though my career was in grief support and I led groups and replied to this very same wondering from so many people who graced my groups.
Will I ever feel engaged in life again? Will I ever find passion for life again? And energy? Will I ever not feel that I am living without him and therefore I just don't really care about life? Will I ever care that I have a future and not cringe from even thinking about that future because what it means is that I have a long life to live without him?
I know, I know, I know, that there is no time frame for grieving. There are so many variables to it for each person. But I'm so exhausted. So very exhausted. Living without him takes every bit of energy I ever thought I had in my body.Read more
I've had a bit of an odd thought lately, running through my mind.
When Chuck proposed to me 24 years ago, I was ecstatic but had a condition. He had to be okay with me keeping my maiden name. I'd taken it back after my divorce and it had taken work on my part in womens' groups and counseling to win back the me who'd disappeared for the years of my first marriage. I'd fought long and hard to redefine myself and I wanted to keep my last name.
He was completely okay with it and, honestly, relieved that I hadn't set a serious condition. He was at ease with it.
At one point, around our 19 year mark, I recall, he mentioned that he'd like it if I took his last name. I considered it but once again decided against it; at that point, for me, it was a professional decision as much as anything. I'd begun a non-profit and my name and role as president was well-established with that community. Upon giving it some thought, Chuck agreed it would be confusing and it was better to maintain that identity.Read more
I don't really have any words this week.
I miss my husband more than any words can convey.
The more time passes, the more months go by, the more deeply embedded his absence from my life becomes.
If I were to write a full blog this week, it would consist of I miss you, I miss you, I miss you over and over and over again.Read more
We all arrive at that time after our loved one dies where we look around and see what remains. What remains of a person who filled our lives in one way or another or so completely that we look at their physical belongings and are struck with disbelief that this is it. The sum of their existence.
My husband and I specialized in not being attached to external things. In 2009 we sold our home in Jersey and most of our belongings. A few special things we put in storage while we figured out what direction our lives would take us. And then we decided to stay on the road, adventuring, and we donated more and more of what was in storage.
After Chuck died, I spent a day going through that storage unit. I held his clothes against my heart, inhaling, striving to find some remaining scent of the man who impacted my life so hugely. His scent was gone, of course, and, one by one, I placed his clothes in a bag for donation. Piece by piece, memory by memory. It wasn't easy, but with each article I thought well, if he were here, he'd want me to donate these rather than keep them in a storage unit. So I took a deep breath and gave them away.
I felt safe with Chuck. Emotionally. Physically. Every way. I knew that if a situation arose, he could handle it. I felt protected in a way I'd never felt in my first marriage. My well-being was first and foremost in his mind. His military training was in his blood and he'd run through "what if" situations with me so that I could plant responses in my head, but I always knew, if he was around, he'd ensure my safety.
He died and all sense of safety flew out the window. I was out in southern California, no family or friends around, with our community all the way back on the East coast. The only way to get there was to drive. Mapping that out, routing it out, left me paralyzed with fear. Thank all the stars in heaven, his sister road-tripped with me for a good part of the way and took over with those details.
You can't see me.
I am an amorphous spirit living within the physical body of the woman I used to be.
I'm not really here.
The mute button has been activated and what you (the world) sees is a woman who wears a lot of pink, who drives a pink car, towing a pink-trimmed trailer around the country. Perhaps, I think to myself, this pink, my mourning color, is also to ensure that people see me when I feel I've disappeared.Read more
to those of us left behind
standing amidst the ashes that remain
atop the skeletons of our lives and ourselves.
to those of us left behind
who struggle with unseeing eyes blinded by grief
and limbs made heavy with exhaustion
and shattered souls
Caves and shadows and darkness and not being able to see around you. It could be frightening. Or it could be maybe okay.Read more
Time carries a different meaning now, since Chuck died.
I shuddered the other day when I realized that he's been dead for 15 months. In our 24 years together, we've never been apart this long.
15 months. I still don't remember what it felt like to have him next to me and it still kills me that this is so. I look at pictures and they are only memories, times that will never be again.
And yet, it was only a heart beat since he and I danced in Death Valley in what would turn out to be our last dance.