I don't want to only be known as a widow.
I'm more than that.
But I don't know what I am any longer.
I've heard and read such words so frequently in these 6 years since Chuck's death.
What and who am I now?
Am I single? Am I still married? How do I define myself?Read more
The death of your significant other can have a tendency to place your goals and dreams on hold. You may have been planning a major purchase together...a new home, a vehicle, or even a major furniture or appliance buy. It might have been that trip to the Grand Canyon or Alaska you had dreamed of for years. Kids? That was always a “sometime soon” until they went ahead and got themselves dead. An experience that the two of you wanted to have together suddenly not only seems impossible, but undesirable, because it will only "remind you of them".
Just about anything that you and your partner had a shared dream of is, quite effectively, brought to a halt. "Life keeps on moving" is indeed true, but mainly in the sense that it’s "day to day" life that keeps on moving. Bills aren't suspended and your place of work doesn't close up shop, donating their profits to you. Your widow card doesn't come with free lunch or retail discounts. We widows still HAVE to keep living, it’s just not the fun parts of life.
But your dreams? Well, there goes that. Who the hell wants to go to the Grand Canyon, and bawl not because of the sheer beauty, but because our person isn’t there to see it with us? Why would I move now? This was the house Megan and I shared...that place in the country won’t be enjoyable anymore, because I’m just reminded that we never got there “together”.Read more
April 21, 2013.
It all stopped at that moment.
He took a quick breath in.
So did I.
And that was it.Read more
What do you think about happiness?
The possibility for it, in widowhood, I mean.
And has the word changed in meaning for you since the death of your person?
Do you even know what it means in this life after?Read more
On May 29 I celebrated 10 years of fulltiming on the open road.
The first 4 were with my beloved husband, Chuck.
The last 6 have been solo. Widowed.
Wishing for it to be different, and living it fully, at the same time.
Living on the road in my little pink trailer, driving my pink car, this Odyssey of Love, is just what I do, and I don't give a whole lot of thought to it.
But my DIL and one of my best friends suggested to me that a decade of living on the road was something I needed to acknowledge publicly, and celebrate.
Since I'm workamping at Opera in the Ozarks, I thought it would be the perfect place to have the celebration, so I planned it out pdq.
I decorated the tables in the cafeteria with pink tablecloths and strewed pink heart beads and necklaces across it, and pink napkins.
Our on site baker made a cake for all of us. Strawberry cake with chocolate frosting, with a road made of pink glitter and a pink camper she'd found perched upright on that road. Underneath the road flowed the words of my motto Love leads the way.
I bought sparkling cider for everyone, because I wanted them to toast with me.
Lots of the students wore pink in my honor.
When dinner was finished I stood up and shared how my Odyssey of Love began, and the power of the Love that fuels every mile.
It is only because of Love that I'm still here, and sane.
I told them that it's up to us, even when we're devastated, to go out into the world and create community for ourselves, and build connections with others, because nobody but we ourselves can do the footwork.
I explained to them all the names and messages of Love written all over my pink rig.
I told them about Chuck and how much he loved me, and I, him.
And then I asked them all to raise their glasses in a toast to the most powerful force in the Universe.
When I sat down, my chair had my back facing the rest of the room and I knew that everyone was applauding but one of our staff told me to turn around and look.
Which I did, and they were all standing, applauding.
It choked me up.
I'm on year 10 of my life on the road.
I've been on the road solo for 6 years.
The same amount of time that I've been widowed.
In a few days I'll be 61 years old.
That's one year older than Chuck got to live.
My heart breaks when i think of it.
While this life that I've created is colorful and adventurous, at least to some, it isn't my first choice.
I'm only living it because Chuck died and I had to find a way to make everything that he and I had together, matter.
I had to make our Love matter.
I had to find a way to live with purpose.
I've done that. I have purpose in my Odyssey of Love.
I live on memories and on the Love that I find in the community I've created for myself.
And I don't much care whether that meets the approval of the latest psychological studies or not.
4 with him.
6 without him.
In a few days, 1 year older than he was when he died.
I don't know what to do with any of this, if I stop and think about it.
So, I don't think about it.
I just hug people and allow myself to be hugged.
Love is the only thing I hold to be true.
Here's to Chuck and the Love he left behind for me that gave me, gives me, the courage to set out on the open road by myself.
Here's to me, and listening to my heart.
And...here's to Love~
A thousand years ago
I leaned down
Placed my hands to each side of your sunken cheeks
Closed my eyes,
As yours were closed,
And so very gently kissed your lips that had gone completely white
As you took your last breath.Read more
Shelby has now, quite literally, walked in her mother's shoes. It's odd to me that, at the age of 12, she actually fits in them, but then again, she isn't stricken with the growth-impeding disease the Megan had.
After buying her new hiking shoes and boots for years, we decided to have her try on Megan's last pair. They fit her almost perfectly. Like that first time Shelby came down the stairs wearing her mom's t-shirt, I was taken aback, and Shelby thought nothing of it.
Credit goes to Megan for that trait. She was very realistic and unemotional about her own death. She accepted it and moved on to better things. It was rare for her to be scared or have deep thoughts about it, unlike me, who constantly dreaded it. Shelby, like her mother, never worries over Megan's death. I have yet to see her show any sadness, since the funeral mass. It's honestly the best Megan could have hoped for.Read more
Seems like being a widower means adjusting my view of the world to an existence of being damaged, marred and/or scarred for the rest of my life. Life is now about managing the constant reminders of love lost. Maybe, just like my poor eyesight, my grief is becoming a deficit that I will have to carry forward as I am constantly reminded of the song, Motherless Children by Blind Willie Johnson and covered by Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and many others.Read more
This isn't going to be an upbeat blog.
No apologies for that, but fair warning.
I don't have it in me today.Read more
If nothing else, 5 years down the road, I still have many questions and few answers. The amount and content of said questions only grows with time. Many of them are “what-ifs”, and still more are “what-woulds”.
“What if they hadn’t died?” is the first question for almost everyone. I can confidently say that it will never be answered definitively. In fact, in the world of multiple-choice answers, the number of choices has increased from A, B, and C, to the point that we’re way through the alphabet, and onto weird, made up characters.
In Megan’s case, seeing as she had a long-term illness, my second question was “what could I have done differently?”. It was the guilt setting in. Misplaced, mind you. There was literally nothing I, or anyone else could do that would have prevented a genetic, debilitating mutation from occurring, but my brain asked it constantly for months, nonetheless, and I felt it was somehow my fault.
I still ask question one almost daily, mostly in passing at this point. I’ve long since accepted that the second question is answered succinctly with a “nothing”, and largely moved on from asking it.
Every so often, however, the “what-ifs” creep back in. More and more frequently, the “what-woulds” are taking over.Read more