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...Read more
Chuck and I sold our home in NJ in May 2009 to go out on the road and travel our country together.
No more rat race for us.
Just time together.
We had just shy of 4 years on the road together.
He died April 21, 2013.
11:21 pm is when he took his last breath.
In so many ways, I did too.
Take my last breath, I mean.
My breathing hasn't been the same since the hands of the clock ticked to 11:21 and froze.Read more
I'm coming up on 6 years since Chuck died.
It's weird how my brain works with time regarding his death.
For the first 5 years I counted in days and weeks and months.
In the last few weeks, I've found myself saying almost 6 years.
Once April 21 comes...which is my New Year, by the way, instead of January 1, I know I'll say it's been over 6 years now.
I'll know exactly, because I have a counter on my phone and I track those smaller moments of time...months, weeks, days, minutes, seconds.
I'm not quite sure why. I just do.Read more
Holy shit, is it a real thing.
Michele, thankfully, speaks about it each year, prior to Sunday morning breakfast.
Fair warning of gales ahead, campers.
Brace yourselves.Read more
I met Christina Rasmussen, from Second Firsts, early in my widowhood, on her first book tour.
She was in Boston and I was in NH, so I drove to the book store holding the event, and heard her speak for the first time.
It didn't change the emotions of my widowhood, but her words, her philosophy about life after loss touched me deeply.
It was my first true indication that I wasn't alone on this road.Read more
My motto, since Chuck died, is push your boundaries. Stretch your comfort zones. Go where you've never gone before.
It hasn't been difficult to do this, honestly.
Chuck died in southern CA, in our 4th year on the road.
I had no home to return to; we'd sold it, and our belongings, years before, to go adventuring.
So I was already well accustomed to living outside my comfort zone. Already living a different life each day, as we traveled from one state to another...hiking, climbing, visiting National Parks and monuments, meeting new people.
Living the traveling life suited both of our personalities.
And then he died...Read more
The easy affection between us.
The flirtatious wink across the room from him to me.
The sensation of electricity skimming across my skin when he entered a room where I was, even before I saw him.Read more
Whispers of memory
In the halls of Time
Drift through me
Like the clouds of mist
That suddenly appeared around us
as we wandered the soft ground of Muir Woods
so many years ago.
5 years and 9 months into this life without Chuck, I may have,
Gone over the edge.
It's a matter of opinion, I suppose.
Our world that is so critical and judgemental of how we grieve,
Those who tend to be uncomfortable with others who refuse to play the game of life their understood way...
Well, they might think I've gone over the edge.
Which is totally okay and cool with me.
People need to be shaken out of their complacency, in my way of thinking.
And I'm just the one to do it.
How, you ask?
My wife and I have always enjoyed mixing our favourite coping mechanism, comedy, with accomplishing important tasks. Sometimes, the best remedy for the worst life stresses is proactive humour. Natasha came up with the term “cancer card” as a way to deal with life’s day to day challenges. We would often jokingly ask each other a question, “Is this a cancer card moment?” For example, we are waiting for a table for brunch and Natasha tells me that we are third on the waitlist for a table. I turn to her and say, “This is a good time to play the cancer card.” I approach the hostess and say, “Excuse me, my wife is literally fighting cancer right now, so, if there is any way that we could get a table faster, that would be great.” Usually, the cancer card works because the restaurant staff and the other customers are very accommodating—especially if I had told Natasha to exaggerate her fatigue while I get her a chair to sit on. Contrary to popular opinion, some cancer patients are not super thin and emaciated. As in Natasha’s case, the medications used to manage the side effects of chemo can make you gain a lot of weight. As a result, she didn’t always look like a cancer patient to everyone, which is why exaggerating symptoms was sometimes necessary. In the past, when my self-esteem was low, I would have felt pushy, inconsiderate and manipulative using my wife’s cancer to get special treatment. Now, I know whatever I can do to make life easier for my family, I should definitely do. I know this might sound strange, but my wife’s cancer has actually had a positive impact on me: I am much more confident. In the past, I would have spent too much time worrying about pleasing strangers in a restaurant at my own expense—no more! One of the most important things I have learned is that we all have to do what we think is best for OUR family because if we don’t, no one else will. Besides, the chances of anyone else in line for a table is battling post-partum depression, cancer AND has a new born baby is highly doubtful.Read more