‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.’ - Shakespeare, The Tempest


Oh brain, I am in awe…and no small amount of confusion…as to where these images originate…


The other night I dreamed of riding in a most unique invention of my weary soul. Open scene sitting in the backseat of a vehicle that resembled a VW bug from the inside…small tidy seats, rounded top. But it was made of fabric, which was a burnt orange color, the same type of nylon found in tents, and when the driver looked for something in the glove box by unzipping it I realized the vehicle was also a tent. And that it could be disassembled and carried about when not in use. It even had a name I remember. Terrawimba. I googled it the next morning: nothing on the Internet with that name. A bunch of images come up when you search “tent car” -  crazy things I never knew about like tents that set up on top of cars - but of course nothing like what appeared in my mind that night.


I could see the engine had a small handle and could be easily lifted out for carrying. The seats could collapse for use as a tent, and the entire contraption could be folded together and tucked into a small, tidy little satchel.


The owner of the car was Scottish. For some reason I knew this vehicle was of Scottish design and I thought, in my dream, oh those Scots are just so much more forward thinking than we Americans. No wonder they have such an eco-green contraption already and we probably never will. I have no blasted idea why I thought that. But I did. Well, I do love Scotland.


When I woke to the dream in the middle of the night, in that bleary half sleep, I thought how genius. In the morning I thought, how silly. And I wondered why my soul wanted a tent car. Mike was such a genius dream interpreter…just another of the long list of things I miss about him. But after some thought I am now positive it is a result of my current limbo state. My husband is dead and my house is up for a fight in court. I have day-dreamed quite often of just taking off and living on the road. Putting everything in storage and traveling, one place to the next, no destination in particular. To escape, yes. 


I know there is no escape, of course. Not really. My grief is a constant passenger now, no matter where I go. That is what we learn to live with. Over three years later, the breathtaking shock is fading. I am getting used to living without him…that sentence hurts even to type it. But I miss him. I always will. It’s not something I knew about grief when it first happened. But I know it now.


Mike would have loved the idea of a tent car. The ultimate escape, the ultimate off-grid tool. But now…there is only that terrifying, growing realization that I must find a way for myself. I need to discover what it is I want…where I want to go. What my priorities must become, with the limited resources and growing responsibilities I have. Wow; it is so not easy. I spoke to my musician boyfriend about all of this…he supports me in whatever I choose. He told me I need to do what’s best for me and not to let anyone else challenge or delay me, including himself. I thought that was really generous of him. But he is quite a practical sort. He still has responsibilities here, at least for the time being, but it’s becoming more obvious to us both that my path may need to diverge, at least temporarily.


So there is a lot of soul-searching going on. A lot of notes being made on finances and bucket-list stuff, a lot of research into other areas of the country…the aching sadness that my husband is not here to guide me or accompany me. And the miserable thought of a long-distance relationship. But there may be no other good and reasonable choice. I need to, somehow, find the way that makes the most sense for me. I am no longer rooted…but, I think I can still blossom, even though each petal that opens is painful. Do you think flowers ever struggle to bloom?


Showing 6 reactions

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  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2016-06-25 15:47:47 -0700
    Thank you Lisa…so many of us widowed folk I see feeling in limbo. Like you I’m trying not to go blindly…and trying to see my path. It’s SO not easy. I wish you peace and joy as well.
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2016-06-25 08:26:33 -0700
    Oh Stephanie as I read this I am sitting in a new, smaller apartment surrounded by boxes of the life I knew with Tony. Sooo not rooted and so confused. I don’t know where life is taking me but like you I feel as if I want to chose my path (at least a bit) and not just go blindly along for the ride. My wish for you is that you find some joy in the journey wherever it may be.
  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2016-06-24 11:50:57 -0700
    Penny, I am glad you are headed to Camp Widow. What a wonderful organization this all is, having support in our grief. And yes I do think it is one day at a time for many of us for sure, no matter how long it’s been. Patricia, thank you, I never quite thought of it that way but of course flowers struggle to bloom. And I love the idea that we may not look like we expect…but may manage to bloom nonetheless…Cathy, it never does go away, does it, and the decisions are always so hard. Thank you all, for being here.
  • Cathy
    commented 2016-06-24 05:42:10 -0700
    Yes, I will always miss him. It just never goes away. And each death following his just takes me right back to his, all the feelings of loss and grief just keep coming back. So hard to find roots when you just keep tumbling. And back to making decisions alone again, hope you make the right ones for you.
  • Patricia Kenyon
    commented 2016-06-23 12:08:15 -0700
    Absolutely, Stephanie, flowers sometimes struggle to bloom. The petals can get twisted with other petal; the bud may be crowded into too small a space by surrounding plant matter, rocks, or structures; the entire plant may experience conditions which are too dry or too wet as the buds are forming & developing; there may not be enough nutrients to meet the flower’s needs. Sometimes the bud gives up and withers on the branch, but more often (I think) the bud struggles to bloom even when the end result is a bloom which is different from that plant’s “normal” blooms. . . .
    Your description of your limbo state speaks clearly to me. I don’t ever in my life remember being so undecided for so long despite all the options & ideas I have pursued. I appreciate knowing you are in a similar place. We will bloom, although we may not look like we or others expect us to look when we do.
  • Penny Sharman
    commented 2016-06-23 08:43:13 -0700
    Wow Stephanie, this is very thought provoking. This post and recent posts by Kelley and Sarah talked about dealing with change or contemplating a change or deciding if a change is required. My husband died not quite two years ago (it will be two years on August 23rd) and so I am still in the one day at a time phase, which at this point is acceptable and doable. Now I’m wondering as year 3 or 4 approaches, will I have a similar mindset. It’s comforting to know I have you and the other writers on this site to learn from. The only big decision I made recently is that I will attend Camp Widow in Toronto this September and I am really looking forward to that.