Today, Tuesday, is an anniversary of sorts for me.
It isn’t an anniversary connected to Chuck, since it happened after he died.
And yet, it is entirely connected to him.
Because today is the day, 5 years ago, that I picked up my new Ford Escape from the garage, and the man, I’d taken it to after buying it from the dealer.
I took it directly from the dealer to a man named Anthony, who had his own garage.
He and I had spoken a week or so earlier, when I’d called him and told him that I was looking for someone to create a shade of pink for me and paint my car in the created color.
I shared with him the Love story that Chuck and I had for 24 years. I told him what Chuck said about me wearing pink after his death. He knew I’d need color around me. I told him about our Happily Homeless travels for our last 4 years together. I told him that I was staying on the road, alone, and I was terrified and devasted and didn’t know how to do it, but I was doing it.
The price he gave me was just too high for me, but I told him how very much I appreciated that he listened to me and we hung up.
Not half an hour later, Anthony called me up again and quoted me a lower price. He really wanted to create a color for me and paint my silver car.
The first shade of pink that he did was too dark, and I told him to lift the brown out, and add a creamy white, but that I didn’t need to see the second shade. Paint my car in the color you get and it will be the exact right shade.
A couple weeks later I went with my daughter to pick up my car. She cried and I cried when I saw it, and we cried more when Anthony handed the can to me, with the formula for the paint on it…and the name he’d named it.Read more
Chuck wants me to tell you he wouldn’t leave you without a road map. He wants you to be aware of the markers he’s left for you, both physical and metaphysical.
Whatever you’re doing, keep on doing it. You’re on the right track.
Did you know that you’re surrounded by so many angels that I can’t even count them? You’re protected.
These are just some of the words I’ve heard from people along my Odyssey of Love, who have sought me out, on the roadside, in stores, in meetings. People who don’t know me, who have no idea of my story.
They have sought me out to bring me messages from Chuck and about my Odyssey.
I’ve also heard from people, earlier on, who said completely different things to me. I’m 5 years into this widowhood now, and these things were primarily said to me in my 3rd year. Seemingly, there is a limited amount of empathy to be given and after a certain point, one must be…I’m not sure what.
Are you depressed? You might be depressed. Maybe you need medication.
Don’t you want to be happy? It’s a choice, you know. You have to choose to be happy. Don’t you want to feel joy again?
Why do you call yourself a widow? You’re more than that, you know.
So, here’s what I know, 5 years in.
Chuck did leave me a road map. And there have been markers all along the way of my Odyssey of Love. They have shown up to me as Love. From people I meet along the road, the workamping jobs I’ve found, and the words that he spoke in his years on this earth that I live by; suit up and show up and let the day unfold.Read more
I’m on the road again.
This time it was from Jersey, south to Maryland.
Every piece of the road, every rest stop, every billboard, every bridge…all were familiar to me. Chuck and I drove this route our second year out as Happily Homeless, as we made our way to Key West for the first time.
Our red Ford Escape and miles to go, absorbing the anticipation of all the alone time we’d have, exploring the sunny beaches and hidden treasures of the far south.
It was before his first cancer, before the desperation of surgeries and uncertainty and exhaustion and then…hope. He beat it. We were okay. Our world was alright again.
And on we traveled.Read more
A dear friend and Air Force widow sister said to me last weekend, in response to my endless questions to her about this grief (she’s 6 years out), and time frames and, oh, you know, everything...she said this to me, and I’ve reflected on it in the days since.
It isn’t that it goes away.
We just get stronger, and we carry it differently.Read more
This is a list. Not a gratitude list necessarily, but a list that does include some good shit, nonetheless. And sometimes it’s easier to write in list form than prose form.