Thank goodness for outside observations offered by those loving people who surround me. Thank goodness for their perceptions that are gently offered when all I have to offer is what seems to me to be nothing but confusion. My self-perception is off, skewed, and, generally speaking, not terribly trust-worthy. I feel confused and aimless and the language I use reflects that.
Fortunately I have people around me who are able to support me in parsing through my own self-judgement, which tends to run towards harsh, and they help me shift my thinking.
I’ve lived solo on the road since Chuck died, as many of you know, visiting family and friends as I fullfill his final request of scattering his cremains at our favorite places. This Odyssey of Love, as I call it, has taken, continues to take me, in all directions of these United States. At this point I’m on the second part of the Odyssey: he named 4 places for me and I’ve been to those 4. There are, however, others, and in order for me to know those places, I must keep my heart open. And keeping my heart open is what will take me into this new life without him.
Chuck knew this. I don’t know that he consciously thought every detail out, but he knew me and he knew the path of grief and so he set me a task and gave me a direction, knowing full well he could only get me started and the entirety of it is on me. Smart man, my husband. Smart man who knew me well.
So I’ve been doing it; driving thousands of miles, when, honestly, I don’t even really like driving. Gaining confidence in myself as I tow my PinkMagic rig, when I’d never even considered ever learning to tow anything, prior to his death. Gaining more confidence as I’ve learned to camp, which I’d not only never done but would have never considered doing. Continually meeting new people on the road, when the temptation is to isolate myself completely. Sharing my story and hearing the stories of strangers on the road, which is a healthy way to work my way through this morass of emotions.
What my life feels like to me is that I’m wandering aimlessly, with no direction, no true purpose other than fulfilling my husband’s wishes. It’s overpoweringly lonely, grief is everywhere and I’m way outside my comfort zone and it’s difficult for me to see the big picture. Impossible, really, to believe that there even is a big picture. But there is indeed a big picture and this is it: I’ve been on the road solo for 2 years and a few months and I’ve learned how to tow a trailer, hitch and unhitch with confidence, back up, set up and break down camp, I’ve persevered with determination and grace and I’ve learned to give space to that determination right alongside the sharp edges of grief that shred my insides. I’ve learned to let it all just fucking be right where it is instead of running from it or ignoring it or trying to make it something else so that it won’t be what it is. And I’ve done it all in a pink car with huge letters on both sides that say “nothing but love”, towing a pink trailer, with lettering on the front of it that say “FWG” which means fucking warrior goddess because that is what I must be to get through this. I must be determined and honest with my emotions and give in and give space and allow the ebb and flow and show up even though tears cloud my eyes and my body feels heavy and I just want to curl into a ball on the floor and sometimes I must even allow myself to curl into a ball on the floor so that I can get up again.
I don’t know where any of this is taking me. There is little I believe in any longer other than the power of the love that Chuck left behind for me but that love is my super power and it is propelling me into whatever the next part of my life must be. Most of me knows the big picture part of this and it gets me through my moments and days but it takes my family and friends and the unexpected encounters with those I meet on the road to remind me that no, I’m not aimless, without a plan, wandering, that there is purpose in the wandering.
And for that, I’m forever grateful.
*I’m also grateful that a massive crash of thunder woke me out of a sound sleep at midnight east coast time because otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. I had a full day of travel and was exhausted from it and forgot that I needed to write this blog. So, thank you to Thor and his hammer that shook the bejesus outside my window, sending lightning that lit up the room.*