I’m all finished with school for the summer and heading to Hawaii with David! By the time this posts on Thursday I will already be there actually. I’m really excited to go. We have a lot of exciting things planned to do. Planning the trip was easy with David because we were interested in the same activities. If he found an idea of something he liked I was always super excited about it and vice versa. As we were planning, we started a shared document to use as an itinerary and for the first time since Mike died I was actually excited to use it.
I think I mentioned in a previous post when I was on vacation with my friend Heather about how I had lost my enthusiasm for trip planning. I had still wanted to go on trips but I didn’t have the motivation, concentration or memory to be able to plan the details of flights, cars, stay, and researching and coordinating things to do. It was frustrating to me because I had always been good at it and enjoyed it. It used to be my thing. Then after Mike died I couldn’t seem to care less even though I tried. And even when I tried I missed important things that could have caused a disaster travelling. I eventually just started to go with the flow of someone else organizing everything but I felt a bit numb doing that.
Planning for Hawaii has been so completely different. I feel like me. I have been on top of researching what I want to do, where, and when and following up with companies about booking. I have every little detail documented in order with confirmation numbers, times, location etc. I printed all the excursions, car, stay, flight confirmation emails and put them in order. Maybe it’s a little intense but organizing and planning makes me feel good. I had just been in a shift for a while. I don’t want to say my trip planning “is back”or I’m the “old me” because I don’t believe you ever really go back. Plus, this trip is so different than anything I had previously planned. It is a very active, adventurous trip. It’s full of a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have done before. I’m not just making lists of possible sites to see; I’m planning, booking and gathering the needed gear for some pretty intense activities. I think I’ve used my previous organization skills to be my basis for planning for a more rigorous, absolutely-need-it-all-figured-out and be prepared trip. It’s my 2.0 version of planning.Read more
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
I'm writing you tonight from my hotel room in Seattle – en route to a four-night stay in Alaska. I hadn't really given any thought to what I was going to write today for this post, as I've spent the better part of the day running around like crazy. It could have been about the usual stuff of Valentine's Day... like how bitchy I've been all week leading up to today. Or how I went into Walgreens yesterday for some picture hanging wire and was assaulted by the pink and red décor that vomited all over the store interior. Or about how sad I was when I woke up this morning or how hard I've tried to stay off of Facebook all day.Read more
Grief illiteracy has been on my mind quite a bit in the last couple weeks. Even if you don't know that term, you'll know what I mean when I tell you about my face-to-face with it. And you'll nod your head and say to yourself (or to the room in general)....oh, yes....
I keep a personal blog in addition to writing for Widows Voice, and I have for years. It began as a way to chronicle my and my husband's travels. After his death it became, and remains, about the most difficult of travels; alone and without the man I love next to me.
As I write this, I'm sitting in a plane, flying from Los Angeles to New York. I'm back in the USA for Camp Widow East next weekend and decided to make a holiday off it, fulfilling a life-long dream of visiting the Big Apple.
I'm almost in Tampa for Camp Widow, arriving early from Arizona. This has been a long road trip for me, and taxing in a different way from my previous travels, emotionally. Perhaps it's the knowing that this really will be for me, as so many have assured me, a life-changing weekend. This grief is exhausting and I want it to shift for me but at the same time, being honest, I suppose deep in there somewhere is fear also. Fear that it will be so life-changing for me that I won't recognize myself afterwards. Not that I recognize myself now. All I know is that I'm not the woman I was with Chuck. Everything else is up for grabs.Read more
There is no getting around the silence. It's tangible and fraught with emotions. We can dress it up however we wish, but the silence that consumes every corner after our beloveds die is, almost, as palpable as their presence once was.
I'm on the road again, headed to Camp Widow in Tampa, driving PinkMagic. My intention is to stay primarily at military family camps for overnights along the way. I feel more secure on base, and I feel closer to Chuck. Today was my first day of travel, with a late start from Phoenix after running into difficulty with the lights on my trailer. I didn't get far; I'm at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson. Quite frankly, everything is so emotional, and Chuck and I had always wanted to come here, so I decided to call an early day.
This particular blog is one I don't plan on editing or changing in any way. It's completely raw writing from the darkness of this night that I'm in.
I came in off the road not quite a week ago, right before Thanksgiving. My PinkMagic trailer is parked outside my son's house here in Arizona. He recently moved in with his girlfriend, soon to be his wife, so I'm here at the house by myself. Which is alright because I seem to feel alone whether I'm with my kids or literally on my own.
The dark night of the soul; I'm very much there. Not because the holidays make it worse, which people seem to think. Chuck and I long ago stopped celebrating holidays so they don't hold meaning for me. No, this is the soul sick missing-ness that has enveloped me every day since he died. Perhaps being still now is why I feel like I'm drowning.
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
Maggie kept the beat in our relationship when it came to social engagements. She injected me into a lively social world that held me captive to weekends packed with activities, most of which were not optional. Now, without her overwhelming influence, I find myself woefully disengaged with what I think most people would consider normal life.
We had no children so I don’t benefit from the continued social pressure that comes with little ones. The lack of children also often filters me from events in which I’d otherwise be included. Well-meaning friends intentionally don’t invite me to birthday parties and other kid-thick events “to protect my sanity,” so they say.
Except for the brave and determined, friends who only knew Chris as half of Maggie and Chris have had difficultly making the transition. Most fell aside quickly after Maggie’s Angel Day. My guess is that they were battle-weary from the 850-day fight. However, for me that was just the climactic end of one major battle in the still on-going war.
So here I am with my solitary habits but now with fewer friends. Fewer friends mean fewer easy opportunities to be social. Gravity has temporarily dragged me into a lonely world.