It's been 6 years and 5 months since Chuck died.
I kind of feel like I need to put that identifier in so that anyone who reads this will have a gauge.
Except that those newly living this widowed life might look at the time since and then read this blog and shudder.
Or shrink back in dismay.
The confusion lasts that long?
And I don't mean to convey that.
It's all personal, right?
That's what we always hear, anyways.
So, apologies ahead of time to anyone who reads this and is discouraged...
I've come in off the road, with the aim of settling in for up to a year, for the first time in a little over 10 years.
Chuck and I were on the road together for our last 4 years, and I've spent the last 6 1/2 years solo on the road.
Truthfully, I'm fucking exhausted in all the ways I can be; physically, emotionally, mentally.
And I know it's time to take my Odyssey of Love to the next phase.
To do that, I want to be in one place so that I can put together all the puzzle pieces floating around me.
To that end...
As I approached Arizona a few days ago, which is where I'm planting myself, the thought popped into my head, and into my heart that I'm so excited to see Chuck again! It's been so long! Just a few more miles!
Followed too quickly by the stomach clenching, heart shredding, soul shrinking reality check that nope, you're not going to see him again. Ever. He's gone. He's dead.
All I know how to do is bite down onto that thought and just let it be.
So that's part of what happened.
Over the weekend I met up with my daughter and talk turned, invariably, to our grief.
And she told me something that I'd not considered.
I miss Pop, she said, and I miss the woman you were. The mom you were.
I know that I miss the woman I was, but I'd never thought about my kids missing that woman also.
Further conversation brought out that she (and I think my other 2 feel this too) that it feels as if I've drawn away emotionally.
You know what? She's right.
I was 55 when Chuck died. I'm 61 now, and I've spent all these years out on the road, traveling the country. I do stop and visit with my kids and their families but as I think of it, I own up to the fact that I keep my distance, emotionally.
Not that I don't show them and their families love. I do. I feel it towards them and I do show it.
But I've been so fucking intent on not being a burden to my kids and their spouses and families that I've gone way over the other direction to be independent in every way that I can.
I don't know how to explain how that shows up other than what I've already written and I can't even really define all of it.
I just know that I've done it.
And I don't know how to be otherwise.
They have their own lives, with their own families and busyness of lives and I never want to need anything from them.
The first few years of feeling emotionally needy was enough and they don't need that burden. I don't want them to feel that I'm dependent on them, because they have enough of that as they grow their families/careers/etc.
Widowhood is an incredibly confusing life for me.
I don't know where to draw lines so I draw them far away.
I don't know how to make my needs known to them without showing desperation.
So I draw bubbles around myself.
How the ever loving FUCK do we figure any of this out?
Seriously, I'm asking you, my community.
How do we navigate family in this afterlife?
Where the fuck do I fit now?
Chuck's death blew our world apart.
It just did.
We were strong before, as a family.
Have I failed our kids?
I don't know.
I just know that his death blew me into smithereens and I don't know how to come back from it.
Or if it's even realistic to think that I can.