Love and Grief and the Open Road

My husband (an AF veteran) and I spent four years traveling the USA, adventuring together after selling our home and belongings. We got out of the rat race and lived our dream, loving life and each other with all the passion that was in our hearts. We called ourselves Happily Homeless and lived every second of every minute. Never a moment was taken for granted.  In those years we criss-crossed the country three times.

Our lives together ended last year on April 21. Cancer killed him three weeks after his diagnosis. I was alone in southern CA and the only thing I could do was get back in our car and continue on. I’d told him prior to his death that I would continue traveling on my own and that I was going to paint our car pink so that he could find me somewhere out there. He asked me to return to our favorite places and scatter his remains.

I call it an Odyssey of Love. And it isn’t only about the grief. Its really mostly about the Love. For him and for the new friends I’m meeting along my road.

I found Christina Rasmussen and Second Firsts prior to Chuck’s death, and I met her at one of her first book signings in MA.  But I didn’t only meet her; I met Audrey and Natalie and got hugs from each that touched my heart and those hugs energized me and gave me another mission to balance the grief.

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You see, as I drive this Odyssey for my husband, camping and creating this new life for myself, I’m meeting my Second Firsts family and getting hugs and love and support and connecting with them all around the country and how beautiful is that?

In the years Chuck and I traveled, I kept a blog and a Facebook page and I’ve continued doing that as a way to stay in touch with family and friends and people I meet along the way. And it was because Grace from San Antonio, TX saw a post that she and I ended up having lunch together and exchanging hugs and making a connection.

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My next destination was Phoenix, AZ to spend time with our kids. And meet Patty and Mary, two more Second Firsts sisters.  Lunch and laughter and conversation and more hugs.

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And then I met Becky, who was visiting from her home in PA.  Does it get any better than this?

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In mid-June, my daughter will go out on the road with me on this Odyssey of Love. We’re calling it the Nothin’ But Love tour and I anticipate meeting many more of my Second Firsts family out there. Out on the on the open road.

This is a tough task I’ve set myself.

I’m purposefully driving headlong into my grief. @LovePinkMagic (Click to Tweet!)

Living this Odyssey doesn’t allow me to hide from it in any way but that’s ok. That’s what my husband’s intent was when he asked this of me. He knew I’m the kind of woman to face life head on.

The grief blasts me and shatters me and I’ve learned to be ok with that because ultimately I believe that by allowing myself to be right where I am, I will end up finding contentment and excitement and so many other emotions that are foreign to me now.

Chuck left Love behind him when he died. He left his love for me and the example of a life of service, and the only way and the best way I know to honor him is to continue that service, and make my travels count not just for me but for as many others as possible.

An Odyssey is defined as a series of wanderings or adventures, especially when those adventures are filled with notable experiences and hardships. He and I had our Odyssey together. Now its me and our daughter. She and I will carry his legacy of love with us as we drive the roads he and I drove and visit the places he and I visited and scatter his remains.

Before coming to rest here in AZ, I spent three months on the road and along the way I met angels and good people and gave and received hugs and I know-I know-that the next 6 months on the road will be magical in every way, despite my grief.

So here’s my challenge. How many of you can I meet? How many hugs can I get? How will my grief change as we connect with each other? How will my and my daughter’s life change in the next six months?

Travel with me on this Odyssey of Love. Its going to be life-changing for me and maybe, for you, too.


Alison7Alison Miller continues her full-time life on the road after her beloved husband’s death, and beginning in mid-June will be joined by her daughter Rachael. For 6 months, mom and daughter will criss-cross the USA on an extraordinary Odyssey of love that will be inspiring, challenging and life-changing. Connect with Alison (and Rachael) at www.haveyoubeenmoonstruck.com and Happily Homeless is Moonstruck Facebook page.

I’m so excited to debut the Life Starter’s Blog Series. I have had the greatest honor and fortune of hearing your powerful stories of personal transformation and I wanted to share them all. Because I know that together we can help support, inspire and lift one another. Every Tuesday, we will proudly feature your stories. If you’d like to submit a post, please go here for guidelines and more info. Happy reading!

Image courtesy of Fre Sonneveld via Unsplash.com

Comments

  1. If you ever find yourself in Columbus, OH, I would happily meet and provide a hug. My husband died of cancer in only 15 months at age 33. I don’t travel across the country like you, but I am on my own biking Odyssey. I ride in a grassroots bike ride called Pelotonia that takes on raising funds for important cancer research every August in Columbus OH. Come see us!

  2. I cannot wait to meet you and Rae!! You are an awesome FWG and you have touched my life and we have not even met in person yet ! You and Chucks love story is awesome and that of which every girl/woman dreams she may one day have. Cannot wait to give you a hug & talk, & hoop! Love you!

  3. If you find yourself near Savannah, Georgia- I would love to meet you. I’m 28 and lost my husband last month to cancer, he’s 34. We also have a 6 year old son. I love your story!!!

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Christina Rasmussen

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