In the end, all we own are our stories.
These words were placed on the top of the page of Chuck’s memorial service program.
They were echoes of a line from our favorite movie…Australia.
Every so often, as I write or speak about our Love story, people have commented oh, you were so lucky!
And I tell them…it had nothing to do with luck. We created our story.
The Love story that Chuck and I shared was borne of determination that we would always pay attention.
To each other.
To our relationship.
We’d make each other our priority, even above our kids, we promised each other.
After all, someday, if we did our job right, our kids would go create their own lives and we’d be left looking at each other. We determined that we didn’t want to end up as one of those couples who stare into the empty abyss of a forgotten romance as they avoid their partner’s eyes and wonder what to do with their time now that it’s the two of them again.
I made our bedroom a sanctuary for me and Chuck long before sanctuaries were a thing. The only pictures in our bedroom were pictures of the 2 of us. None of our kids. Their pictures were in the rest of the house. Outside our bedroom door we were mom and dad…though there was plenty of kitchen dancing and kisses enough to make our kids groan. We consciously lived our story together. We remembered, often, why we’d fallen in Love in the first place. We continued to fall in Love, purposefully, as we wrote our story every day.
Behind our bedroom door we were Chuck and Alison, a man and a woman very much in Love with one another.
Of course we had our share of fights and heated discussions…we were a normal couple… but we stayed on topic with the fights and never lowered ourselves to name calling. Either to each other or to our friends in speaking about each other.
So many of Chuck’s friends, after his death, wrote to me and told me how lovingly and respectfully he’d always spoken about me. I knew this about him, as he knew it about me, with my friends.
He loved me well, did Chuck Dearing. He fulfilled all my romantic girlhood dreams in ways that I couldn’t have ever imagined until I actually lived it.
This Thursday, if he were alive, we’d celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary.
I grieve his absence from my life acutely. I don’t care how long it’s been. He will always be missing from me and my skin will always hunger for his touch.
So I immerse myself in remembering. I remember him, I remember us, with the pictures posted all around me. Whether I’m in my tiny trailer or stationary in a sticks n’ bricks, as I am through this pandemic, I make my surroundings magical. The bright colors and textures around me, the twinkle of faery lights…they take me back to the magic I had with him. I spirit dance with him. I imagine him walking through the door and I feel the butterflies in my stomach again. Yes, even now. I close my eyes and breathe in memory of him.
And, most importantly, I don’t give a rat’s ass whether anyone thinks I’m holding on or not letting go or stuck or any of the other nonsense thrown about from those who deem themselves judge/jury/executioner and arbiters of what grief should look like. I know damn well what grief looks like for me, and it looks very much like Love.
I was told once, by someone who knows her stuff, that I’m the perfect example of someone who dances well the dance between the two realms of past and present.
Indeed, I’ve perfected it, and I’m as content as can be in this colorful world I’ve created for myself as I live without him. It’s as good as it can be in a world without him. I live here fully, and I live there fully.
Chuck had his story.
Chuck and I had our story together.
And I have my damn story.
It’s one that will give our kids plenty to discuss at my memorial service.
I 100% own my story~