On this bleak, grey, England winter's day, I remember the comforting quiet of snow. Stan loved the snow. He would sit for hours, watching it. When we first began to talk to each other, he told me that he wanted to move to the Northeastern coast of England, near Whitby, where he said they had a 'proper winter'. Proper winter? I had moved to England from the west coast of Florida, just a year before, and the bits of snow I had encountered in London, that year, were quite enough, for me, thank you. But he wanted to see more of it.Read more
Ever since that calendar started to read 2015 about 24 hours or so ago, I have been feeling a little bit down. I keep forgetting that New Years Eve and New Years Day make me incredibly sad. I don't know why I keep forgetting this, but I do. Each year since my husband's death, the sadness surrounding New Years always seems to come out of nowhere and surprise me. So here I am again. Sad. Alone. Down.Read more
It is almost Christmas, and I have spent most of the last ten days on my own, in silence. At times, I have thought that I should make an effort to visit with people, make connections, socialise. I just don’t seem to handle it well. Even a short trip to the shops on the High Street brings me to tears—couples hand in hand, brightly coloured lights, fresh trees for sale, Santas in the windows, ribbons and bows, carols blasting through the speakers—all this celebration and excess is out of sync with the way I feel, inside. I am awkward around people. I don’t know how to act. What do I say? What greetings do I employ? Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays? I don’t even want to think about the New Year. I want to crawl under the covers until it is all finished.
The one time my world makes sense, these days, is when I walk, alone, into the hills. I set my boots onto a muddy path, my face exposed to the biting wind, and watch my breath stream in and out. I hear birds rustle in the trees above me. I see rabbits hop into the underbrush. I take note of the droplets of water, hanging, like tears, on naked branches. I feel the rain, sleet and snow pelt against my skin. I put one foot in front of the other. I don’t have to worry, or plan, or think. I only walk, and breathe. When I am outside, among the elements, it feels that perhaps I do have a place on the planet. I find a sliver of hope that, perhaps, one day, I will heal.Read more
You know that thing, where, for days and weeks and maybe even longer, you are strolling along in life, thinking and maybe even knowing that Hey, I think I might be doing more than okay right now - and having this odd sort of confidence in knowing that you are emotionally pretty happy for the most part - and then all of a sudden you are lying in your bed in the dark at 2 a.m. one night, unable to sleep, and you randomly and almost silently start crying because you are so incredibly lonely and you didn't even know it until right that second?
My daughter and I are nearing the end of our 6 month road adventure. It will be the end of this particular segment of my Odyssey of Love. But it doesn't end in Arizona when I drop her off. I'm going to take a one month break off the road, visit with my son and grand-daughter, meet my son's girlfriend and her daughter (I'm really looking forward to that), and then continue on.
Rae (my daughter) and I were discussing the end of our travels together. She and her husband are very much anticipating their reunion and I'm happy that they'll be together again. Their life as a couple can begin again.
There is a part of me, I told her, that used to believe (or want to believe), that at the end of my travels, Chuck would be waiting for me. Even knowing it couldn't be so, that tiny place in my heart hoped, I guess, that he might be. Or couldn't believe that hewouldn't be. After all, we've been apart for almost 19 months now. It's time for us to be together again....right?
Except, of course, that he won't be waiting for me. He's dead. He's gone. And I can't conceive of settling down into a home without him. He was my home. For the last 4 years of our marriage we didn't even have a sticks and bricks house; we lived on the road, staying at military billeting as we adventured the country. At the end of May, I'll have been on the road for 6 years. 2 of those years will have been on my own as I drove this Odyssey of Love for him.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
Mostly, I stay in the here and now. Who can bear to even imagine 24 hours from now? So I focus my eyes right in front of me, the next step, the next mile.
18 months and a couple weeks since Chuck's death and I still look down at my feet to see where they are and I stay there. Mostly.
I'm in Key West right now, with my daughter, as I continue my Odyssey of Love for him. Memories of him are everywhere and each one stabs into me with pain, a reminder that he's gone. So, yeah, as I sat on a beautiful beach today staring out at the aqua waters, you might think I'd be appreciating the sun and sand-and you would be so wrong. I stared out at the bright blue waters into the endless horizons of the Gulf and saw only the vast emptiness that echoes in my heart and my mind, untethered, took off into my future and the anxiety began pulsing through my blood with each pump of my still working heart and I wondered how the fuck do I do the rest of my life without him?Read more
I feel like I’ve been in a rut for more than a month now, since Dan’s first anniversary. I’ve had days here and there where I’ve been able to smile and actually mean it, but in general, the pain has been very deep and the ache for him, overwhelming.
The grief has been so relentless that it’s started messing with my head and making me question if I was doing something wrong. If I’d gotten stuck in it some how. Was I doing enough to keep moving forward?
I mean, I know this dance well by now, the three-steps-forward, two-steps-back tango. I know I need to keep my expectations realistic and that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I know that I can’t project manage my way out of this, yet in the dark of the night when the tears won’t slow and my heart feels like it’s going to stop beating from the sheer agony, I forget that this moment will pass and I’ll take steps forward again.