The number 4 figures loudly and persistently for me this year.
The month of March figures just as hugely.
The end of May rings loudly in my heart too.
Chuck and I lived on the road, adventuring in our Happily Homeless travels, for 4 years.
In those 4 years, we traveled all of the lower 48 states and oh, the sights we saw. I saw places and things I only ever thought to see in picture books.
I remember standing in front of Mt Rushmore, and saying to Chuck I can’t fucking believe I’m seeing this.
Driving through the Badlands of South Dakota and visiting Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and visiting their cemetery; the strong and beautiful Native American names marking the graves of those who’d died.
Together, Chuck and I trod in the footsteps of those who came before us, hundreds of years as our country was settled. We stared into dried wagon wheel tracks and heard the heart-wrenching stories of loss along the trail.
We visited the site of Little Big Horn, where Custer and Sitting Bull fought on that hot June day of 1876, as wives and sisters waited back at Ft Lincoln, only to have a rider stumble in and gasp that all were wounded none missing all dead.
We saw so much together, and our Love grew as we sat 2 feet across from one another for those 4 years and talked about everything and nothing and grew our friendship and marriage and passion.
It was a spectacular 4 years.
At the end of May, I’ll have been on the road solo, on my Odyssey of Love, for 4 years. I’ve gone from anxiety about towing a trailer, with no clue about camping, uncertain of my road, literally and figuratively, to being able to back my rig up on a fucking dime or do a k-turn in a tight spot. I’ve criss-crossed the country 8 times and I’m just shy of 100,000 miles on my car and trailer combined. I’ve met hundreds of people and am now friends with widow/ers around the country.
4 years solo. 8 years altogether, living on the road, counting my years with Chuck.
March is the month his first cancer struck. He went through 5 major surgeries to eradicate it. I was his nurse for each of them. From the moment of finding out, and the accompanying horror, and the tears of anxiety and fear to tears of relief when they told us he had excellent odds that the cancer was gone, gone, gone, never to be seen again. My beloved husband was the first ever cancer survivor I’d ever known.
March is also the month I took him to the ER out in southern CA, where they admitted him to the hospital, from which he never came home. He went from there to hospice, where he died 3 weeks later.
March is a really mixed up month for me.
The end of May, 2009, is when our house in NJ finally sold and we had the closing and packed up a truck and our car and set out on our adventures.
The end of May, 2013, is when I loaded up our car, out in southern CA and put Chuck’s cremains in the shotgun seat and began my Odyssey of Love.
April 21 will be 4 years since Chuck’s death. It’s as unreal now as it was then, but in a different way that I can’t explain. It’s as if it runs deeper now, if that makes any sense. I have a harder time talking about it now than I did when it first happened, in a way.
None of these numbers mean anything to anyone but me, I realize that. And I’m not sure why I even wrote about them. But they’re bouncing around in my head and my heart and I needed to write them all down.
Thanks for your patience with me.