This landscape of widowhood.
The Alaskan tundra.
The Sahara Desert.
The Austrailian Outback.
Every side road in between cities and towns.
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~
Whenever my daughtyer and I sleep next to each other there is a space beside us.
When I am getting Anisha ready for school there is a space next to us.
When we sleep next to each other, there is a space next to us.
When we have breakfast, lunch and dinner, there is a space next to us.
When we walk to a playground, there is a space next to us.
When we go for chocolate ice cream, there is a space next to us.
Space, spacc, space, always so much space that was once occupied by her touch.
My daughter has a friend over for a playdate today and it has been a good introspective snapshot of where I am at. I keep thinking that I have all of this new confidence, but some remnants of the old me remain, like persistent weeds that always finds new tunnels to the surface.
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
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
I completely forgot! It was Natasha’s birthday recently and I completely forgot. In the 4 years since her death, I forgot her birthday for the first time. I only remembered a couple of days later when my daughter was asking about her scheduled activities.Read more
My new year begins each April 21.
That's the date of Chuck's death.
It's the only new year that carries any meaning for me.
What do I care about January 1?
April 21 is the day my life incinerated and I was eviscerated.
So it stands to reason, at least in my mind, that this is the day where I look back, and, insofar as I'm able, look ahead.Read more
What does one do, 6 years after being widowed?
Where do we stand?
What does life mean in the here and now?
Does the future finally carry meaning for us?
Or is life simply one filled with questions?
About ourselves, our lives, the life we lived, the life we have to live in the without...Read more
It has been almost 4 ½ years since Natasha left us, and finally, it feels as though the grief is passing. Yet, every now and then it I think that it is over, that the grief is over—but then certain thoughts start to resurface, This is not fair, why does life have to be so hard, and why are other people’s lives so much easier!Read more