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
Last week I was anxious and annoyed (raging, actually) over the seemingly endless list of things I thought I could not do without Ben. At the time, the top of my list of stressors was the fact that I was headed off to Camp Widow where I would be attending a Saturday night Masquerade Ball, and I realized there was no one to zip up my dress. It sent me into a full blown panic.
Well, one week later and I’m here to tell you that I survived. Not only did I survive, but I thrived. Yes, I said it … I thrived. And I’ll let you in on a secret I have always known on some level but often refused to admit …
My Mother Was Right.Read more
I’m completely devastated this week. There was a horrible mixup while I was out of town last week and I discovered that a dress was accidentally thrown out. Not just a dress - but THE dress which I have been wearing in every weekly self portrait I have taken for the past 7 months (shown above). It was the main prop in this year-long series about living with loss. The irony here is not lost on me. I have just lost my most important prop in a project about losing my most important person. Gone without warning. Without my having any say in the matter. Just like my fiancé and our life together. It is all too familiar a story.
What. The. Hell.
Now the entire project must change. I cannot replace the dress - it was vintage and would be impossible to find again. I'll have to instead continue the project in a new direction. The way I've had to continue my life in a new direction. I really HATE how precisely this event mirrors losing him. It has triggered me in all sorts of ways about his death and about my having to live on.Read more
I've been on the road for two weeks now with my daughter in this continuing Odyssey of Love. Not necessarily by plan but happening nonetheless, we're traveling the same roads my husband and I drove in our first year out on the road. Not by plan only because all we know is that we're headed north to Washington state, where we'll turn East and make our way eventually to the Atlantic coast.
This is incredibly painful and I don't know how I'm going to sustain it over the next 6 months except that I will because this is what I need to do. This is the road Chuck set me on when he asked me to return to his favorite places and scatter his cremains. He knew the kind of woman I am and that this is what would help me best manage my grief. So, its okay within the parameters of everything really not being okay at all, if that makes sense. (and I know it does to you who are living this alone life now). My only alternative is settling down without him, and I just can't do that. Soldier on is my motto. One step, one breath, one heart beat.
I am sitting here, marvelling at how far I’ve come since March 1, 2010; I am a different person with the same heart.
I can now look back and remember the sharp, stabbing grief of that day. The insanity.
The weeks and months directly afterward where I alternated between shrieking pain and dense fog; I rocked and cried or I floated behind a thin wall, a sense of being elsewhere and detached.
I've been in a clay workshop for the past few days, and its mostly been a heck of a lotta fun. Each say we have worked with a different teacher, making sculptures, dinnerware, decorated tiles, and learning alternative techniques for firing clay (examples in the picture above!) It's been a whirlwind of new and exciting creative ideas for me, especially since I haven't actually worked with clay since I took a ceramics class back in college about eight years ago. Making things has been one of the most powerful ways for me to cope with my emotions since my fiance died. I was excited to start off a new year with something healing and grounding.
Of course as happens sometimes when I take the chance to insert myself back into the world of the living, I was slapped in the face rudely with my reality, and the fact that other people have a different reality... The one I wanted to have. Over lunch at the workshop, while sitting outside on the porch enjoying the beautiful warm weather we have in Texas this week, all the women around me started to talk about their husbands. And worse than talk... Brag. About how they fix things around the house, and cook dinners, and help with the wives' businesses. Then one of the women my age, around her early 30's, introduces her husband who happens to be dropping off these mountainous apple pies that he made from scratch and delivered to us for dinner tonight. Aaaand that did it. Cue the breakdown.
I am filling in for Amanda today. The current heat wave has knocked out her power! Amanda stay cool (get it?!) and I will try to stay warm!
Recently I have had a lot of suicide widows reach out to me on Widow’s Voice and facebook. “I have no one to talk to, I have no one that gets it. I can’t talk about the suicide to my friends or family. They change the subject.”
I get it.
The thing about suicide is.. it’s complicated. Very complicated. Which leads to very complicated grief.Read more
In 2012, when his death was so fresh, I needed to talk. About the pain, the fear, the agony, the anger, the loss, the accident, the future we will not have, the children we won't raise, the wedding we won't share… all of it. I wanted to crawl out of my skin with all the pain. I talked and cried almost every single day to someone about my pain. I talked to everyone. Even inappropriately so.
No literally… I have told my story - complete with shameless tears - to perfect strangers. Including customers at the gallery I worked at, a seamstress I had hemming a pair of pants for me, and my masseuse. Really anyone was prey to my grief attacks for about a year there. Sometimes it ended up weird or awkward, but most of the time, it didn't.
Most of the time, it would allow them to share something really vulnerable in their life (the seamstress it turns out was a widow herself many years back, and has since remarried to a wonderful man), or help them simply feel honored that I would trust them enough to share. Almost every time, we both ended up in tears and hugging each other. It turns out, it doesn't really matter if we know each other - we can all give that exchange to one another just by listening and honoring one another where we are.Read more