To all of you,
My community here…
To Michele Neff Hernandez, for responding to the email I sent her after reading a Widows Voice blog in my newsfeed and deciding that I wanted to be one of the weekly writers. She called me to get acquainted, and then offered me Wednesday’s space to voice my heart…
To Jenny Sellars who offered me her technical support and assistance and encouragement and oh my good lord patience over the years…
To my brother and sister writers of Widows Voice, who offered me their own examples of showing up weekly…
This is my last blog for Widows Voice and I thank all of you for the many opportunities I’ve found here. You’ve cheered me on from the beginning. You’ve read my words and you’ve responded and it means so much to me that you have.
I look back on my almost 8 years of wordsmithing here and I remember well how devastated and horrified I was when I first began writing for Widows Voice only 2 months after the death of my beloved husband, Chuck.
I’d already started my Odyssey of Love when I had that conversation with Michele on the side of the road outside San Antonio, Texas and told her I needed something to show up for on a weekly basis because there was quicksand under my feet and I was shell shocked and not even certain I could survive the horror of it all.
Honestly, I’m still devastated. And I’ve created an incredible life for myself. I’m living the mission that Chuck set me on right before he died. I’ve filmed a documentary about my Odyssey of Love. I’m planning to make more documentaries and I’m going to get back to recording episodes for my podcast, and build a speaking career in every venue I can find. You’ll find me in the funny papers, still trying to figure out life, still determined, still irreverently hysterical…at least to myself.
These years later, following Chuck’s death, I’m ok in a world where nothing is ok because Chuck is missing from me. His absence looms as large as his presence once did. And I’m at ease with not only not knowing the answers to questions but not even really knowing what the damn questions are in the first place.
Do I have any final words of wisdom for you, coming from my personal experience of this frickin’ widowhood?
Advocate for yourself. Ain’t nobody going to do this walk for you.
You’re in charge of creating the life you want. Again, ain’t nobody going to do it for you.
Reach out and create community for yourself. Even when you don’t feel like it. Where you end up is up to you. And I’m not talking about the whole “happiness is a choice” bullshit. Don’t worry about frickin’ happiness; it’s a temporary thing anyways. Think instead about making meaning out of this clusterfuck of widowhood. Make your life matter somehow, somewhere, in big or small ways or in between ways.
Free yourself from judgement of self. And don’t give a fuck about what others think about you or the advice they want to give you about how you should be doing this. It’s your life. Do it as best you can. Sometimes surviving the day is a win deserving of an Olympic medal all by itself.
You all know that my entire life is based on Love. Suiting up and showing up for and with Love. I’m still here. Just not here, right? I have tons of support to offer you, always, at http://anodysseyoflove.com/.
For my final magical trick, I want to introduce and welcome our new Wednesday writer, who will bring her own beauty and words from the heart to you on a weekly basis.
If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s Michele Neff Hernandez’ mom. She’s newly widowed from Dan and her heart is filled with Love.
Thank you, Kathie, for taking Wednesday’s for me.
Thank you, Michele, for opening up that tiny window for me that allowed light to show through when my world was dark.
You’ve all held me and walked with me and I’ll always remember my years of putting my heart on the page for you to witness.
Thank you for bearing witness to Love and grief and Love again.
Chuck would thank you for loving the woman he loved so deeply and passionately.
And now, in a puff of pink smoke, much like Jeannie from that very old show, I’ll sign off here. My Odyssey of Love continues, always, just differently.
Love on, my friends.