“Scatter me over my Rocky Mountains,” he said.  He told me this so many times in our years together, I had no question of what to do with the remains of Robb’s ashes.

This weekend, I chose to let them go.

I have felt torn, stuck in the place of not knowing how to honor him well and move forward at the same time.  How to cherish the best of our life together and make room for the rest of my life.  I felt stuck on the brink of the next chapter, unable to turn the page.

I had read recently that when a widow prepares her heart to move forward, whether she means to or not, her mind begins to remember the worst things about her husband.  It’s a way of making it easier, like starting a fight before a goodbye.

If we’re on bad terms and I’m focusing on what frustrated me, then my heart won’t break in two.

Angry is easier than broken.

I’m not sure about the total merit of this widow theory, but I found it happening in my mind.  I thought of the annoying, pestering things that used to get under my skin.  I focused on my frustrations, on who I couldn’t be, on what we didn’t do well.

That’s how I knew I needed to let go – because I couldn’t continue in that pattern.  It was time to open my hands.  Let him go.

I drove up the mountain.  I went alone.  I listened to our favorite playlists.  The first song I ever gave him, back in the days of the Mix Tape.  I let the lyrics take me anywhere they wanted to go, anywhere I had been.  And I cried, cried, cried.

When I reached the destination, I walked around the lake.  I scattered ashes.  I spread them close to the ground.  I tossed them in the air like confetti.  I listened to their rippling splash on the water.  I collected them under my fingernails.  I watched them gather on my shoes, my coat.  I liked the bigger pieces more than the fine powder; there was more to hold.

I poured a pile onto the ground.  I traced a heart in the thick dust.

I talked to him.  I told him how I am, how the boys are. I told him what I needed him to know.  I told him things I’ll never again say out loud, because one of the great beauties of marriage is the treasury of secrets between  the husband and wife.

When I finished, I dusted my hands.  I brushed off my jeans.  I got in the car, and I blew a kiss to the lake.

“It was beautiful, babe.  It was real, and it was great.”  I started the car.  I rolled down the windows, and I said one more goodbye.  “I love you.  And now I’ve got to live.”

I drove down the mountain with the windows down, the music loud, and a most vibrant, freeing, soaring collection of music.  A whole new playlist.

There is a newness in me.  There is fullness in my smile, a sparkle in my eyes.  Every time my mom looked at me, she started to cry.  She began to see a girl she once knew.

I believe I will forever, for all of my days, remember this weekend.  After two years of winter, the sun is shining again.

I have laid down the heaviest burden of my life, and in doing so, I have found room in my heart and my mind.  I can think again.  I can breathe.  And I do believe I will love, when the time and the person and the season is right.

I am ready for the next chapter.

Bring it.

* * *

If you feel like dancing
in the middle of the street,
breaking into song,
or singing out of key.
And if you fall in love,
go on and kiss that girl or boy.
And if you like your music loud,
make a little noise.
When you let it go, what they say is true:
When you let it go, it’ll come right back to you.
When you let it go, there is freedom when you do.
When you let it go, it’ll come right back to you.
Every time.

~ Tyrone Wells, Freedom

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