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.
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
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.