Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Camping, Traveling, and Wandering Thoughts~

This week I'm all over the place, both geographically and emotionally.  It took me a week plus a few days to get from Camp Widow in Tampa, back here to Arizona.  In that time, I hit highs and lows, some of them to be so expected that it is given a name "Camp crash".

Additionally, tomorrow would be my and my husband's 25th wedding anniversary.  We used to calculate, as we drove the country in our last 4 years together, how many anniversaries we could realistically celebrate, given our ages when we married.  It was a second marriage for both of us and believe me, we celebrated our alone time once the kids (4 between us) grew up and went out on their own.  No empty nest for us!  Sex whenever and wherever in the house we wanted; who has time for empty nest?

So, all of this occupied my mind as I drove west.

Camp Widow.  It was a series of organized workshops, and lots of social time, which was, believe me, just as valuable, if not more so, than the workshops.  The speakers were inspirational and shared their widowed perspective with all of us.  First-timers (that would be me), returnees sharing their experience, strength and hope, staff and volunteers;  it was a monumental undertaking and a beautiful success.

My highlights of that weekend?

Tom Zuba, who had a story that both emotionally exhausted and uplifted me at the same time.  His words, his new perspective on grief, made so much sense.  Grieving will last forever.  Mourning will not.  Simple and powerful words.  Now if I can just get through this mourning period with my sanity intact.  I'm at the point where it feels like it anyways, people in general are looking at me and wondering why I'm still talking about Chuck, or still feeling such sadness at his missing from my life and why I'm not fully embracing this new life I'm creating and, I don't know, jumping for joy yet.  Oh well...

Kelley Lynn, a widow and stand-up comedian, who loudly and in a very New York way, with lots of swearing and so much honesty, spoke of her husband not being a rainbow and made me almost pee my pants with laughter. Do yourself a favor; find her on youtube.

The flash-mob that I wrote about last week.

What was totally and completely freeing?  The word fuck used so freely.  Yes, I know there is a contingent of people who think it a crude word and unimaginative and why don't you find another word in the English language to use there are so many others.  You know what?  Sometimes, and, certainly in my case and the case of many others in this boat, the word fuck is the most descriptive, sharp, 4 letters that can be used.  It was oh so liberating, hearing it used so well.

Widowhood is, in many ways, a strange, weird, world.  There is a sense of vulnerability that goes along with it, and a sense of alone-ness that is different from any other death I've experienced.  Its been suggested to me that I join a dating site and find another lonely soul with whom to connect.  It isn't the suggestion by itself that I find slightly offensive; it's more the mindset (which I think is way too common), that if I get involved with another man, I won't think so much about Chuck.  That he can be replaced maybe? Odd thought, that.  No matter if I fall in love again (and I would like to because I love being in love and I'm good at it), I will always be Chuck's widow.  Factually and emotionally.  That's not a bad thing.  It just is.

I know I can say it here freely.  I miss my husband.  I miss him every day, every minute.  And I hate that tomorrow is our second anniversary apart, the second of many.  I miss his hugs and his warmth and his protection and our love together and his masculine energy to my feminine energy and our teasing and our wild sex and our laughter and spooning as we slept.  I miss everything about us.

And, with all of that, I'm still creating a life for myself.  It all goes together really, the old and the new.  He, and our marriage, is my history and will always be part of my story.

The men and women who gathered together at Camp Widow gathered me close and we formed a network of understanding and acceptance and the freedom to be exactly who we are, where we are. And I thank all of you who were there.

And to my dearest husband, Chuck...I will always love you.  I will always be your girl.  And I will always remember you and your love for me and I will always miss you next to me.  Thank you, most of all, for showing me love, and accepting my love for you~


  1. Alison,
    I LOVE the post - your words, all of them, those with 4-letters and the 3 lettered ones as well...SEX with my loving, trusting, experienced, innovative husband is SO MISSED! Yes, I too hope to find more love out there, and will actively pursue looking at some point - you just nailed my thoughts and feelings in that I miss EVERYTHING about US! I too loved being in love and want it again. But that I will always carry my husband in my heart, he gave me such a supportive and loving place to be - I will always miss him, but do hope my heart will be big enough to make room available for whatever may come. Thank you for your posts. You are right on the money! I do look forward to reading each Wednesday.
    Take care of yourself.

    1. Jill,
      In the end, we're all (as I read recently), just walking each other home. Sharing our experience, strength and hope.

      You take care of yourself too-it matters~

  2. I too LOVE this post, so honest!

  3. I so agree with Jill. I love your posts. My husband and I were looking forward to a nomadic lifestyle before he died last spring. Damn!! I'm devastated! This week I made a solo trip. It wasn't the same, but it was good. I have to figure out how to make life work without him. Despite the pain you continue to experience, you seem to be doing it and that inspires me. Thanks so much! I hope you will be coming to the Toronto conference.

    1. Diane,
      At some point I'd like to get to the Toronto conference, now that I've gotten my feet wet in Tampa. I suspect it will be a long time before I go to the San Diego one-too close to all of the memories of Chuck's final time.

      Where did you go on your solo trip? It isn't easy going solo, but we can figure it out, can't we?

  4. I really hear your words. I don't read them, I hear them. But this post I saw Chuck and you. A picture is worth a thousand words.

    Because of that I need to ask. How are you doing it? How? I am still so lost. I look at that picture and I remember how my own world was. And I am lost. I can feel what you felt in that picture because I see myself with my husband. And I am lost. How are you doing it?

    I don't know how to make friends anymore. I don't know how to live. I don't know how to do this anymore. I am lost.

    All from looking at a picture. Why cant I build a new life for myself? Why am I so lost?

    Why? Why me? Why you? Why the millions on this planet? Why can't I find anything positive to want to do anymore? Why am I so lost?

    1. Dear Anonymous, I lost the love of my life 9-1/2 months ago... If I am near where you are in this grief journey, that is why I feel like you do. I am rolling through life without any direction or goals... Hope it gets better soon.. I miss him so much.

    2. I just passed two years a month ago. I function better because the first year plus I ran on just shock and stupor. Now the resignation of what this means has hit home but what has happened is my brain sees clearly that it has no intention of living without him. Unfortunately, my body doesn't know when to quit. So I "live" this empty existence like I am wandering in a desert.

      The words Allison wrote and her picture just brought my own situation into focus. She has a way with words that I relate to. Then I translate to how I feel. The only thing I can't seem to do is make a life for myself and call it good. So many widows write they can do that. I keep reading thinking something is going to click for me. So far, nothing. Still lost. Still unwilling and unable to make the shift. Bottom line is, I don't want to. I don't want to live, and yet here I am. Brain says no, body says yes. I hate it.

    3. I have no fucking idea how I'm doing it, honestly, yet somehow it's almost 2 years gone. The one thing I've never tortured myself with is the "why" of it. For me, it happened because life happens and cancer happens and death happens and it sucks.

      It may look like I know what I'm doing out here and my kids have told me that there is a part of me that does indeed know. But I feel dislocated and direction-less. If Chuck hadn't sent me on this Odyssey of Love, I don't know what I'd be doing.

      What will bring us through this, whether we want to or not, I think, is staying together, finding others who are walking this path, talking and sharing our stories.

      I believe story-telling is an absolute necessity to get through this. And I've learned that I most often have to be the one to reach out to people, and that works for me, since I'm an extrovert in any case, even in grief (maybe more so in grief). This grief is too hulking huge to keep inside of me~

  5. "I miss being US"....that's IT....not just missing HIM. Like a pair of anything, when one is "broken" the other seems worthless. This is where the struggle is. Finding purpose and value in just ONE.