A One Year Dance~

Grief is an emotional, mental, physical, gut-wrenching, life-changing, soul-shattering, struggle.  Grief is endless nights  of cat-naps but blessed relief if unconsciousness actually happens so that the missing-ness can temporarily recede into nothingness.  Grief is getting up one more day and appearing normal on the outside (not because you’re trying to appear normal but because you just weirdly appear normal in spite of)  while the insides, right behind the eyes and right underneath your skin, are churning with the debris brought ashore by the tsunami that killed your life.

Is that over-stating it?

Family begins arriving today.  Our niece, Stephanie, who has been busily traveling the world, comes in from California, her first port of call after months in SouthEast Asia.  Tomorrow Fireman Nick and SugaPie fly in from Connecticut.

The reason?  Monday marks the one year point since Handsome Husband died.  Each stroke of the alphabet as I type that three-letter number slices into me.  The cognizance that one year just passed doesn’t make this time more painful to me; it makes it only more surreal to me.

Friends will join us at Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona on Sunday for a ritual to remember Handsome Husband.  Not everyone will be there-life interferes with no accommodation for sadness.  My step-daughter has 2 children to tend, with the attendant school and care issues so she’ll adjust the time difference (she’s in Vermont) and remember from afar with us.  Our NJ peeps, Bruce and Mary Ann, and so many others there…same thing.  All around the country, they’ll be remembering with us.

Words fail me (in spite of how much I’ve been writing recently).   At some point grief reaches such a saturation point that there is nothing left to say and silence falls.  I think back and remember this happening when my brother and mom died.  After 6 months, after 1 year, what is left to say?  It becomes repetitious.  I’m sad, I’m grieving, I’m desperate, I’m lonely, I can’t stand this life, I’m lost.  Understandably (but no less annoyingly) the general public starts to look at you and think “depressed”.  Cue the threatening music.

Grief is so much not depression and to name it that is condescending and dismissive and it also leads to the easy fix of medication.   (No, I’m not dissing medication as a personal decision.  I keep homeopathic remedies on hand to help me through the worst of it;  I’m just not going to get myself involved in prescriptive medication).   By its’ very definition, grief means a lack of.  Lack of focus, lack of sleep (though sleeping too much also happens), lack of joy, lack of patience, lack of most of what used to be.

Primarily, lack of the one who died.  Lack of their love, lack of their touch, lack of…them.

And it takes time to adjust, time to build a new life, time to find your feet underneath you so that you can build that new life.  Not one year, very often not two years.  Whatever time it takes.  You can’t just lay about and wait for it to happen though.  You have to get out there and do it, in spite of.  Which I’m doing.

Grief is a seesaw of emotions and not because emotions veer back and forth.  At least in my case, I’ve found that my emotions are fairly stable, in that there is nothing but pain as a baseline.  It’s a seesaw because we must search out balance again.  We must plant our feet in the middle of that seesaw, moving our weight from side to side until both ends level.  Not an easy job in any way.

On Sunday, at Bell Rock, I’ll play music  to celebrate Handsome Husband and we’ll all dance and I invite you, dear readers, wherever you are, to join us at 3 pm and dance your own dance.  Dance with us as we remember a man who touched our lives, and touched so many lives because of us.  Dance with me as I shout my love, and defiance of the death that took my most beloved husband from me last year on April 21.  Dance with me and our kids and our family and our friends and shout out your love for those who left you behind but also left so much love behind.

Dance it out.  Shout it out.  Love it out.

It matters.  IMG_8964

Sludge-Pit~

I haven’t been completely honest with you.  For various reasons, many of which are laudable.  Here’s the thing. As I’ve trudged my way through this grief, as I continue to do so, I’ve kept in mind that a key component to keeping this grief from becoming toxic is honesty.  I’m not anything special with my grief-I just choose to write about it and you choose to read about it.  You respond or not, you like it or not, and from the numbers of emails I receive, you learn from it.  Some of you get angry about my honesty (hi, Amy Rogers!) and you think, merely because I’m honest about my lack of enthusiasm for life as a result of my grief, that I ought to just go kill myself.  (hi, Amy Rogers!)

Writing honestly can be a chancy thing.  Writing about emotions can be a tight-rope balancing act.  I don’t aim to hurt anyone, or “diss” anyone, but I do want to be honest about what can happen in the midst of grief.   *maybe I need to have a continual stream of disclaimers to accompany my words*

Anyhoo.  I’m getting off topic.

My grief went toxic this past year.  Not because I’m feeling it so strongly.  Nor is it because I’m doing a Retrospective of last year, re-living the moments Handsome Husband was in hospice.  It became toxic because I allowed a bunch of elephants to tap dance in the room and didn’t address them. I held it inside instead of writing it out, which is how I process life and emotions.  Words eat me up if I don’t write them down.

Here’s the thing.  I wrote a blog (which I re-read last night) a few months after my husband died about his decision to make his daughter his medical advocate and the conversation we’d have had if I questioned him about it.  I read several of my blogs last night and was reminded of the conversation he’d had with me just the day before she told me about his decision, in which he’d extracted a promise from me to remind him as needed about staying ahead of the pain, speaking to me with full confidence, knowing I had his back.  Now, yes, I second guess the decision that I made at the time in choosing not to question him about the medical advocacy.  Its done and gone now, I know that.  But I wonder how it would have played out, had I.

My entire focus, the very reason I lived, while he was in hospice, was to create an atmosphere of love for him.  Surround him and immerse him with all the love he’d given to me, to all of us.  I breathed that intention day and night and in between.

What toxified in me in this past year, what sent me to the floor early on with a major panic attack, sweat pouring off of me and breath suspended, was being told that all of that was for naught because so much of what I’d done for and with him had agitated him.  One of the hospice nurses, whom Handsome Husband loved, whom I’d trusted, apparently had many discussions with his daughter wherein he accused me of causing no end of agitation to my husband.   Mind you, he didn’t talk to me, who could have done something about it.  He didn’t, apparently, bring it up at staff meetings so that I could be supported and counseled by the staff.  He spoke to my step-daughter and I found this out from her only months later. At which point I sent for my husband’s records to verify these things and there is absolutely nothing of his accusations in the file. Nothing.  To the contrary, my and Handsome Husband’s positive and loving interactions were remarked upon and noted in the records.

The following are things I apparently did that were agitating my husband. I either wasn’t doing something that needed to be done, or what I was actively doing was upsetting him:

I was hysterical and should have been removed from my husband’s room. (I’m uncertain if this is how I was continually, or intermittently).  The only time I can think of that I was visibly upset and crying was when the nurse was instructing me how to change the tubing from the stationary oxygen tank to the mobile  one.  Tubes and dials were involved, all essential to my husband’s breathing abilities.  The reality of the reason for the oxygen tank hit me and it was too much for me and I freaked.  Yes, Handsome Husband was upset.  Not with me but for me.  I sat on his bed and he and I and the nurse talked it out.  The next day I learned how to do it and that was the end of it.  (oh, yes, I also cried quietly when he and I said goodbye and a few other times.  I’ll own up to that).

I didn’t want to spend money on new clothes for him.  (The edema, and resulting swelling, was so severe that almost daily, he needed the  next size up of clothes.  I shopped for him, so did our daughter, and I know his friend Mike got a few things).  Seriously.  I loved this man beyond distraction and I refused to buy spend money on him?

He never had clean clothes because nobody took care of his laundry (our daughter Rachael collected his laundry daily and did it and returned it to hospice.  He always had clean clothes).

The music I played for him agitated him.  (I played music for him that we’d danced to over the years, and music that we drove to in our travel years).  I’d also play it in the background when he and I would reminisce.

He was agitated when I said “our kids” and “Chuck’s daughter” in front of him.  Something he and I had both done for all of our 24 years.  (Only because “our” 3 were raised in our home and he was the only dad they had, and his daughter was raised by her mom).

I hadn’t advocated for him while he was in the hospital and they gave him too much medication (in an effort to control the pain).  So he didn’t trust me. Which is why he wanted her to be his medical advocate.

I’m not devastated by the things that were said, now that I have the clarity of time.  What does devastate me is that Handsome Husband believed these things to be true (if the nurse was correct, and I question that now) but nobody reassured him and nobody spoke to me so that I could reassure him.  That does disturb me greatly because it was un-necessary and I hate that my husband was emotionally in pain and nobody eased his mind.  It was uncaring to the extreme to allow such mental and emotional torture in a man who was dying.

None of it matters any longer but it has been a huge part of my struggle in the last year.  My attempts to contact the nurse in question resulted in a dead-end.  It was a volatile time and there are no answers for any of my questions.   And I know that I need to let it go and I am.

Words, both spoken and written, can get lost in translation.  Second-guessing is an exercise in futility.  But I do indeed wonder, by choosing to not clarify that very first change of medical advocacy bombshell with my husband while in hospice- did that create such a space for the misunderstanding and unknowing-ness of this nurse that it opened the door for the later accusations that so colored my grief?   Why didn’t the nurse return my phone call?  I only found these things out from my step-daughter, after his death.  What was going on that he was so unprofessional in speaking freely and negatively about me to my step-daughter but he never said a word to me and didn’t address such concerns to the staff at weekly team meetings?   I know I wasn’t thinking clearly or it would have registered, in a very non-emotional way, that, if my husband said those things, he was either high on drugs or in extreme pain.  There was no middle ground for him when he was in hospice.  So, I agonize that, because I stepped back and accepted these things as truth, did he feel abandoned by me and wonder why?  I knew at the time that it was completely contrary to who he was and what we’d agreed upon between us, but I didn’t want to cause him further agitation by addressing it.  He was dying, for god’s sake.

These thoughts have been a sludge pit of the worst kind.

He’s out of pain.  He knew how much I loved him.   And I need to let it rest.
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FWG in Blazing Color~

There is nothing gentle about my life today, or in this last year.  My husband’s death caused a conflagration around me and inside me.  No, that isn’t over-stating it.  The life he and I had, the joy in life that I had, the woman I was with him, disappeared with his final breath.

My anxiety this year has been that, if he were to return (which, yes, I know he can’t and won’t), he wouldn’t recognize me.  In the tiny spaces between my grief has been that fear, believe it or not.  Which just goes to show you how surreal life is in grief.  The possibility of his return is an impossibility, and yet that thought has been front and center frequently.

Because I refuse to hold these thoughts inside to turn toxic, I spoke with our daughter, Kamahooptra, about this worry.  She’s always been quietly wise beyond her years and projects a knowingness about people and love and life and I let the anxiety go after we talked.   She told me what the depths of my heart already knew but I needed to hear spoken aloud by someone else because I couldn’t hear past my grief.

Of course he would recognize me, she said.  How could he not know the deepest core of the woman he loved?  Who I am now is me, laid bare, and he would revel in it.  A friend of mine told me that if Chuck were to come back, he’d do a double take and then bam! just another, deeper, level of love for me.

They’re right and I know it now.  Handsome Husband saw me as no other man has ever seen me.  He saw and loved the essence of me, saw the strength of my spirit better than I.  He looked at me and saw every bit of me and that’s what he connected to as we loved together.

His death stripped me down to my skeleton but that isn’t a bad thing.  And I’m not living life now because he would expect it of me.  I’m living it in the way he knew I would.

When I refer to myself as a FWG (Fucking Warrior Goddess), I don’t do it lightly and I’m not using it as a swear word.  I use it because it’s a powerful word to convey a powerful concept.  I’m living fiercely, with the greatest compassion but no tolerance for bullshit.  I will challenge you and I accept being challenged.  I want nothing but real around me.  If you don’t like me or what I say, tell me to my face.  If you have an issue with me, say it up front.  Don’t pussyfoot around.   Don’t dress up your words for me.  If I don’t like something, I’ll tell you.  If you ask my opinion, I’ll tell you.  If we disagree about something, or have differing perspectives, for god’s sake, let’s talk.  Or argue until its settled.  Whatever.

I’m grieving as fiercely as I loved and I make no apologies to anyone for that.  Grief and Love can, and do, stride hand in hand in me and I suspect they always will.  I’m looking back on this time last year and honoring the sacred passing of the man whose love for me, and mine for him, made me the woman I am now.

Fierce with grief.  Fierce with Love.  Fierce with determination to make something out of my life with him,  Fierce with determination to make every second  count, even through my sense of disconnection and dislocation.  Fiercely determined that the strength of his story, mine with him, our story together, will continue.

How do I see myself today?  With my booted feet planted solidly on this earth, angel wings affixed to my back, my face painted in swirls of color, my heart-broken wide open, roaring my grief and love to the skies.

Do you hear me, D?  Do you hear me?  phozzto

 

 

 

The Why of My Currently Lived Life~

One year ago at this time, the nightmare of coughing and pain in the lower back and trying to figure out what was going on took us into the hospital and then hospice, as cancer was diagnosed and Handsome Husband and I realized this was the end and time moved faster than it ever did and yet slowed to a crawl.

We (me and our kids) documented every moment of that time, in the words we wrote and in pictures we took  Yes, the pictures are incredibly intimate and, both then and now, they can send pain coursing through you.  I know that.  I knew that at the time.  How could they not?

But look closely at the pictures and see the pictures in the words.  Do you feel the love that coursed through us as we took those pictures of one another as we took him walkabout through the hospital corridors, or sat with him or tended to him?   Yes, death was approaching but the real happening was love and that fairly glowed.

We had friends and family all around the country, texts and phone calls coming in faster than I could respond and my voice mail would fill up and we knew everyone wanted, needed, to be a part of this ongoing final time and I was okay with that.  We didn’t hide anything.  We weren’t going to hide death.  It would have been so easy to do that.

Our culture tells us to be positive and upbeat and look at the bigger picture and be happy.  Illness and death are uncomfortable and mostly we like to shuttle all of it into the hospital behind closed doors and once death happens, family members are given a few weeks, maybe a couple of months and then just please get on with it.  Most certainly don’t talk about the death, especially while it’s happening.  Don’t show me your grief afterwards.  Come on, be positive!

When my husband went into the hospital, and then into hospice, yes, it was horrifying, it was ugly in so many ways, it was every word you can imagine and it was beautiful because of the love and we weren’t going to hide it away.   It made some people uncomfortable and they didn’t need to look.  But it was life and our grief that is still so raw is life and I wanted to shine a light on, well….life.

My heart and my mind are re-living those moments of last year, as are our kids and all who loved him and so yes, I’m sharing again those words and pictures in a retrospective on our face book page.  No, it isn’t healing for me to do so.   It’s simply the video that is playing in my mind as I go about my day.  Many of you lived through that time with us.  In the past year as I’ve been on the road on my own, I’ve met hundreds of people and you know the overview of our story but not the intricacies of it and the real beauty of it and not the real-ness of the end of it.

Death is as much a part of life as birth and both are sacred times and I refuse to hide from pain as much as I hope that someday again I’ll seek joy.  Every moment of the final travels of me and my husband as Happily Homeless were real-life moments.   Each day, on our face book page, I’ll introduce you to our kids, who brought their gifts of love to their dad and to me, and the friends of AA and the military who came across country to have time with him and pay their respects and say goodbye and our kids’ friends who brought love to support us.  And you’ll gain more understanding of the intensity of my Odyssey of Love.

That time was worth noting.  It is worth noting.  Once upon a time Handsome Husband and I had a love story.   It continued until his final breath and I still carry it in my heart.  His days in hospice were filled not just with cancer and pain but with so much love.  I determined to surround him with it, immerse him in it and so fill him with it that it would be bigger and brighter than the cancer and it wasn’t done perfectly but it was done and he felt it.

He knew nothin’ but love and that’s all that mattered~ 521720_4633848285294_1629378181_n

You Don’t Give me Hope. Thank you~

Last night I attended a full moon gathering in the Phoenix area.  Not only was there a full moon shining over the desert, I met lovely women from all walks of life who are now woven into my life in a very good way.

For those of you wondering what a full moon gathering is, I’d like to say that it consisted of a fire and drums and wild dancing around said fire.

It didn’t.  Consist of drums or dancing.  Nor was it idol worshipping.

But there was indeed a fire that sparked and danced in the desert night sky.  There were women seeking out the wisdom of other women.  There was story-telling.  Affirmations of self and spirit.  A blessing (which brought me to tears).

And I had an epiphany in the process.  An epiphany of words with which I’ve been wrangling in my mind for a few months now and which is now settled.  And believe me, in these days of grief, I look for any moment or happening that brings me satisfaction and gives a feeling of settledness.

As any of you who read my blog know, I consider the words and language used around and about grief to be of vital importance.   Use the language of grief accurately so as not to impose further grief on those who grieve.  Simple enough, yeah?

In the months since Handsome Husband’s death, my knowledge, my knowing, of death and grief, has gone layers beyond what I’ve ever known.  My brother and my mom died within 6 months of each other in 1996, and my life changed forever.  Those two deaths, and my experience of grief, set me on a path that deepened and colored my life experience and I thought I knew.  And I did, to an extent.

This grief experience, however, brought about by my husband’s death, has gone into the very marrow of my bones and each particle of my breath in an around the clock experience.   And it has brought me to an awareness of words and phrases commonly used in our language of death and sadness and life changing and spirit and soul.

We already know how I feel about using the word “depression” in reference to grief.  (read earlier blogs if you don’t know and want to).   I’ve had a similar reaction to the word “hope” as in, “you must have hope, never give up hope, as long as there’s life there’s hope” etc.

Hope as a word, as I grieve, is meaningless.  Its a carrot dangled in front of me that is a promise for a future I don’t care about, can’t foresee, and has no true definition.   Hang on, there’s always hope, I’m told.  What does that mean?  I want to scream from the innermost recesses of my gut.  What does that mean?  It means nothing to me.  I’m disconnected from my life, my body, my emotions.  What does that particular 4 letter word mean?

As I sat last night in front of the fire (hoping spiders wouldn’t crawl on me, drawn to the warmth), I listened as the women spoke their stories, and responded to one another, watched them reach out with their hearts and souls to me, felt Jen’s touch on my 3rd eye chakra, my heart chakra and my feet, as she quietly blessed each of us individually, I had my epiphany of just why I put myself in such company, no matter the effort it most often takes to push myself to go in the first place.

I don’t seek people out as I travel the country so that I can find hope.  Hope is negligible, defined by each person who seeks it.  I don’t care about hope.  I don’t need hope.  What I need, and what I found last night at this full moon gathering, is strength.  I arrived full of pain and grief, tired and wanting nothing more than to curl up into a ball and moan in what is almost physical pain.  I left feeling stronger, buoyed by the strength of the women who were present, strengthened by the connection and their open-ness and their beauteous spirits and the full moon rising overhead and the fire shooting its’ sparks into the dark sky.

As I travel this Odyssey of Love for my husband, I’m gathering strength from all of you met on the road, met at the FamCamps, the chance encounters, the relationships ventured.  Each of you adds a sturdy thread to this heart of mine, patching and weaving into it, weaving your own vivid colors into my life, breathing life into me.

You don’t give me hope.  You strengthen me and that’s exactly what I realized last night, with the women at this full moon gathering.

Near and far friends, just met friends, friends unmet but present nonetheless.  You make a difference to me each day, each moment.  You strengthen me.

Its really…kind of…you know….magical.

May each of you who strengthens me, be blessed~
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Don’t Get me Started. Here I go~

An article about the rituals of grief caught my eye yesterday.  The article in and of itself made some good points about ritualizing.  They should have stopped there.  The language used in the article took my attention away from its’ merits.

Try this on for size:

Even so, while some of the grief-stricken remain depressed for long periods of time-developing what’s called “complicated grief”, most people move on”.

Let me, for a moment, put out the fire that is flaming from my ears to just say…”What the fuck do you mean?  Are you kidding me?  They remain depressed?  Are you seriously using that word?

This was written by so-called experts.  Experts used the word depressed to describe the natural emotions resulting from grief.  To describe what is felt naturally and normally when someone you love dies and is gone from your life, never to be seen again.

If those experts were standing next to me, I’d slap them upside of their heads.

You know what’s depressing?  People like that.  People who want you to “move on”.   Hey, its been a while, nothing happening here, folks.  Move on.  Medicate yourself.  Feel what I call normal so that I  don’t feel unable to help you and therefore feel uncomfortable in my helplessness and I myself can move on.   Don’t have a pity party.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Yeah, move on.

I’ve had people ask me what I’ve been doing lately, as if I’ve been on holiday.  I’ve had people comment that I must be enjoying myself as I travel this Odyssey of Love.  Hey, you’re out there in this cool pink car towing that awesome trailer, meeting new people…wow, what a thrill!

What am I doing lately?  How about I’m trying to remind myself to breathe (when I remember to remind myself) because each breath and each heart beat is agony?  How about I feel like I’m starving for the touch of my husband’s arms around me, for his kiss on my lips, for his hand in mine?   How about I feel an unquenchable thirst for the vital, happy woman I used to be who is as gone as he is? How about I tell you that the adrenalin runs at such a high point in me that I wonder I don’t suffer a heart attack because it’s the adrenalin of grief and I listen to soothing music and hypnosis tapes and breathe and get massages and it doesn’t make a fucking difference because I still wake up in the morning and he’s still dead?  How about I tell you that anything other than a few bites of food gets my stomach all whoppered and I want to vomit?  How about I tell you that my grief is just going deeper because of assholes like those so-called experts or people in general who aren’t comfortable in just being present with grief and even I (and I say even I because as open as I’ve been about my grief, even I feel the pressure to put on the pleasant face and say oh I’m just fine how are you?) struggle with being up front about my grief at the 11 month point?  As if I’m committing a gross social faux pas by still grieving….

Grief is not a disease, people.  It does not mean depression.  It does not need to be medicalized.  Yes, unfortunately, grief is listed in the DSM 5, the holy bible of shrinks, as a disorder.  Oh, great.  As if it isn’t normal.  As if we don’t already question if we’re crazy.

Pathologizing grief is easy.  Our society wants that easy fix.  You’re sad?  Here’s a pill.  You’re different?  Here’s a pill.  Don’t hang onto your feelings for too long or we’ll give you a pill.  Fit in or we’ll give you a pill. Your depth of emotion is making me uncomfortable.  Here’s a pill. You need to be positive.  Here’s a pill.  Stop being so negative.  Here’s a pill.

Here’s what’s hard to do with someone in grief.  Just fucking BE with them.  Don’t feel like you have to fix it.  Guess what?  You can’t fix it.  Stop trying!

Don’t say “it makes you stronger, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, at least you have your memories, he’s in a better place, God must have wanted him more than you, its God’s plan, there’s a reason for it” and other drivel.   Bullshit drivel.  Those phrases diminish grief and they dismiss the heartfelt pain and can induce guilt and agitation, especially if one is religious.  Which wouldn’t be me.

You know what it helps to hear?

It sucks.   Tell me your story.  Let’s sit down and maybe you can share a memory with me.  What was your life like together?  How has this grief impacted you in the deepest ways?  Tell me how you met.  Tell me how you get through a day when you can’t even breathe?  How do you deflect the mindless chatter of ignorant people saying ignorant things to you?   How about a drink of water?  Hey, I’m going to have some toast-want a piece?  No worries about the tears-I’m right there with you.

Those words are good for the immediate time after the death and for….yeah, eternity. Try them.

Loving someone through grief is an exercise in vulnerability and that is intimidating for someone uncomfortable with emotion.   For myself, I’m grieving hard and if you’re uncomfortable with my grief I give you permission to not be around me.   I’m in a dark place even while I’m creating a life for myself.  There is no self-pity, there is no depression.  This grief has broken me wide open and there’s no going back.   There is my grief and there is a fire in my belly determination to change the language and perception of grief in our culture.

What am I doing lately?  Grieving my husband and wondering why I’m still alive when the pain is so intense I thought I’d have a heart attack by 10 AM.   How’s your day been?

Haters Will Hate~but the Love Story Continues~

Hey, dear readers,  apparently I have just enough notoriety to merit negative emails and response posts on my Happily Homeless face book page!

I’m reminded of an episode of Seinfeld (I think it was that show), where Jerry had a stalker and his buddies were upset because they felt that they merited stalker status also, yet they didn’t have one of their own.  I’m not saying I have a stalker.  Just saying that there are a few people out there who don’t like me.  Wow.  Little ol’ me?

I’ve tossed around the idea of giving time to this but honestly, it kind of hits my funny bone and god knows I need some humor in my life amidst this fucking grief.  Oh, sorry.  I have an official hater who called me vulgar.  Apparently she doesn’t understand the placement of a well-placed “fuck” as an adjective.  Let me state here that I don’t use that word in anger, I don’t call people names but I do use it to emphasize strong feelings and emotions.  Ok?

Also, I believe in being up-front.  I didn’t block this particular person from my HH fb page because, well, she adds spice.  Or something.

Here’s her story as I understand it:  She, whoever she is, (her fb page identifies her as being a (probably) photo stock picture from North Dakota.  The rest of the story is that she bears an unhealthy attachment to Handsome Husband’s ex-wife, whom she accuses me of dissing on a continual basis.  What set her off was a picture that I posted of me and my husband on what would have been our 24th anniversary.   I included a caption that said words to the effect of he and I particularly appreciated our marriage and felt blessed to have found each other after having come through unhappy first marriages.  Horrors!  There was a very quick post in response, telling me that I’d insulted his first wife and that he had a life and family before he married me.  (in case I didn’t know?)

She also accused me of wanting to basically exploit my husband’s death by writing a book about my life with him and our Happily Homeless travels and his time in hospice and this new life I’m striving to create.  Exploit?  How does one exploit one’s own story by telling it to the world?

Here’s the thing.  When I write, I don’t write for drama.  I’ve always written because I love to write.  I need to get the words out of me and out there.  I’ve always written to touch base with friends and family about our travels and what Handsome Husband and I were doing and learning.  I wrote, when he went into hospice, to free the words from my heart and soul so that I wouldn’t implode (though I suspect this person would like to see that happen).   Since his death, I write because yeah, you know what?  Grief is not seen in our culture.  Those who grieve are given a short amount of time to go through it and then told to move on.   Once a few months pass, we’re expected to move on and kind of just keep it to yourself, okay?  Guess what?  It isn’t that easy and I’m putting a face on what grief is and using this forum as an educational tool and I’m not going away.  (Oh, she also was upset that people apparently don’t know that I am, as she put it, a grief expert.  Which I’m not-I was a grief facilitator-but thank you for the promotion and maybe I can quote you if I ever try to get a hospice job again which I can’t because I don’t have a degree.  Anyways.)

This blog, and my HH fb page, are my conduits to the world as I travel, both physically and emotionally. The physical roads, on my Odyssey of Love, and the emotional world, as I grieve my husband.  It’s a hard, painful, soul-wrenching, impossible, knife-slashing, world, this grief, full of tears and guts and blood and shrieking and love and remembering and yearning and desperation.

And I own it.  This is mine.  Not anyone else’s.

So, yes, I say to the haters out there.  I will blatantly state here that I fully intend to write a book about this life of mine with Handsome Husband.  I’m going to write about sharing my life with him, my love story with him, his death, my life now.  And I’m going to speak about it too, in lecture series and you tube videos and by being on the news and sharing my story and any other way I can do it.   Because I loved him then and love him still and that’s pretty much what’s on my mind.  To you, this person, let me freak you out even more.  I hope that someday this will be an entire career for me and that it will bring me an income (which, because I live in the real world, I, um..need).  Shocked yet?

I don’t understand the whys or the wherefores of why people have been, and continue to be, drawn to our story, the story of Happily Homeless, our love story and how I’m continuing it.  Clearly, it resonates with so many of you because, well, you’re here reading it and you talk to me out on the road and all of you tell me it does.

Handsome Husband would tell me to go for it.  He knew before he died that I would do something with this, that I would make it count somehow.   And, by god, I will.  Our love story won’t die with him.  Our love was….is….bigger than death.  I’m going to create such a life for myself, based on the love he and I had (sorry, hater, it isn’t based on the love he and his ex had), that he will, wherever he is, be applauding madly for me.

So….haters?

Go get your own love story.  And, because I don’t want to be vulgar, at least in this case, I’ll just say……go bless yourself~

P.S.  Here’s a picture of the two of us that should really bother you~ (gasp! He’s hugging me as if we’re happily married or something!)

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