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Traveling Alone


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I have taken many trips alone in my life before Bill and I were together and several during our marriage. This is my first (with one small exception) since he died. I am journaling as I go. I opted to stay in Madison tonight near the airport rather than get up before dawn tomorrow... so here I am alone in a motel for the first time since Bill died. It is like an ongoing ambush....a river of little things that trip off the pain of his absence. Just small things like getting the luggage in alone, checking in alone, silly reminders...etc. Using those plastic keys which I always struggle with and he seemed to use in a flash. They all seem to make his absence all the more real, as if it is not real enough already. I tend to live in the moment a lot these days (as I choose to be in this dark place) and that means feeling every little and big feeling I have. I am heading to Denver in the morning to visit two friends...both of whom have lost their husbands in the last 4 years....so I will be in "good" company that "gets me" and I them. There will be shared tears and story telling and catching up in the case of one friend of 38 years...who is actually 94 years old and said, "We shall sit up to the wee hours and catch up..." She is sharp as a tack...we email and Skype. I found myself being anxious yesterday, pacing at one point, until I got in touch with the reality that I am leaving my nest and my dog and neither feel great in spite of looking forward to seeing my friends. I knew this would be sad and lonely but I also feel that it is a step on MY "new" path, a path I never ever wanted to be on. I think the bottom line is this trip is making Bill's absence so so real...and I thought I had that in my head and heart and soul.

I had to go into his closet to get my suitcase yesterday which was on the floor beneath all his clothes from the hospital (he did die at home) which I have not touched. I found myself talking out loud...."Mary, no matter how many clothes you see here...he will never be back to wear any of them. Why not take them to the Hospice resale shop and let someone use these lovely things"....suits, sports jackets, at least 9 blue shirts with two pockets-casual hiking shirts, a dozen pair of khakis and jeans, shoes, ties he wore to funerals and weddings, and on and on. I will-when I am ready...not one minute or year before. After the flood gates opened I closed the closet and started to pack. Bentley gets really sad when he sees the suitcase come out. He followed me all over the house from yesterday afternoon until I dropped him at the kennel today. I am his lifeline...and frankly he is mine...the only living creature on this entire planet now that has me first in his life. How I miss being first in someone's life...that is one of the biggest things that make me sad these days besides just plain missing my luv and the loneliness....Some friends called/emailed to say good-bye and one insisted I stop by her tea house for a hug en route to this motel. As I drove along I realized how good it felt that someone cared that I was gone. A friend has house keys and directions about who to call if I never return...another thing I never thought of doing in the past. Funny, right now the only thing that makes me want to return is Bentley, our Golden. He will have to be enough. I am pretty sad right now.

Thanks for reading all this....crying in a motel room is not a great way to spend an evening. Peace, Mary

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Mary,

My heart aches for you having to go through this rough time. Even though we have to take steps down that new path of being alone, doesn't make them any easier. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you move forward on this new path and journey in your life, Bentley is lucky to have you! I'm sorry you had to be alone last night, but hope you gain peace and comfort when you are with your friends and return home.

amw

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Thank you, amw and Marty,

I am being pretty hard on myself (oh, really, Mary....something new!) :)

I guess I thought I would just pack my bags and travel like I always traveled. I knew it would be lonely but had not let that knowing really reach my heart/soul until I started packing and got underway. Then the sadness surfaced... Thanks for checking in...both of you....it feels so comforting.

amw....thank you for reaching out of your own tough tough time. My trip is nothing, truly, compared to what you are dealing with these days. You are in my heart and I am thinking about what you are going through. I do know how difficult these days are. I will never ever forget. We are all here for/with you as all of you are here with/for me.

Peace and gratitude,

Mary mfh

PS This motel does not have MSNBC. How am I supposed to see Ed and Rachel? This is NOT good news. :)

A little humor in the midst of the tears....

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I have myself mostly centered again...thank you for the support. I just spent some time reading about secondary losses...a topic that seems to get lost to me on my journey....but which I refreshed tonight by finding some good resources on line. There are so many secondary losses in our grief and many are so unique to each person. I have been being pretty hard on myself today and yesterday...I lost the little bit of footing I had and chose self talk that consisted of criticism for not being stronger or further along or for being whiny or dramatic...or perfect. It has been two years and I would tell ANYone else that it has ONLY been two years and you are still raw and that is OK...two years since my entire life was turned inside out; since I went through a major amputation (lost part of my heart, lungs, and more); and since a four year traumatic and exhausting care giving chapter ended....I would tell ANYone else to be patient, consider 3-5 years as a time frame IF I must put a time frame on this at all. I totally forgot all I have done ...which is a LOT. I guess it took an out of the ordinary event like this trip to get my attention and then to get back on my horse which I think I am doing. I believe out of ordinary things can trigger many feelings and responses and reactions. I need to get off my own case, get centered again and back into my time out from life, so to speak. I have been pretty content in my cave though struggling, digging, pondering, journaling etc. I really am hard on myself. I am supposed to do this journey "perfectly" and when I fail to do that like tonight...well...guess who gets criticized.

Thanks for being there.

Mary

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Mary,

Half the battle is being able to keep a sense of humor, through the tough times. I know the first trip I have to take with out Jim I would be having the same reaction. They some how infuse themselves into our heart and soul, and nothing is ever the same after that, because they become a part of us, just as we become a part of them. Go easy on yourself, when we do things for the first time or so after lossing a spouse it's as if we have lost them all over again.

Your in my thoughts

amw

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Mary, these secondary losses are triggers that take us back in time to that moment and sometimes feels as if we're reliving it and feeling the loss afresh. In persevering, we help our brain to write new script and create new grooves that aid our coping in the future. I remember moments that stand out to me of having to face things I didn't want to...the first time I went to the hospital George died in, tears poured down my cheeks, but I visited my friend in spite of my memories and how difficult it was. Today it is better than that first time. I remember the first time I got groceries on my own after George died...this is something we did together, we traveled 50 miles to the next town to get groceries, and it was something we enjoyed together...for a time after his death, my daughter bought groceries for me. My sister even took me in. But there came a time I had to face it on my own. It was hard, but now I do it without thinking much about it...except for every now and then.

Today you are traveling, and it is hard because Bill is not there to go with you...I pray it goes better than you anticipated, and that each trip you take becomes a little easier. I also pray Bentley will do okay and you will enjoy your reunion when you get home. I am also one of those people who likes to be home with my dog and feel anxiety at leaving him. I have to do so in July and I know my heart will be concerned about him the entire time I am gone. (He gets separation anxiety and nearly died when I left him a couple of years ago for four days with my son in our home). Some people travel and leave their pets w/o a backward glance...I am not one of them, so I can really empathize.

I hope you enjoy your time with your friends, you will be back home before you know it!

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Well it took me an hour to get my rental even though it was paid ahead, then it took longer to get from there to my friend's house than from Wisconsin to Denver....I am so glad i live in a small town. Denver traffic is abominable....construction and 2 accidents and a 30 minute drive took 2.5 hours...trapped on 70 West. Lots of time to look at the Rockies in the distance....first glance resulted in a bucket of tears...how we loved living in the middle of the Rockies....Bill could not get enough of them...we hiked them frequently and they were out our window each day when we lived in Ouray (I am not going over there on this trip-too much). Today I am spending the afternoon with a friend. The one I am staying with is a great host and we talked from 1pm to 7pm when I finally crashed and got 9 hours sleep. Being with two people who have lost their husbands recently (in the last 4 years) and who are healed by talking about it is very healing....she talks, I listen, we cry. I talk, she listens, we cry. The gal I am staying with was 56 when we met. She is now 94, sharp as a tack, well read, etc. and I wanted so to see her before she joins her husband on the other side of the veil. Her husband was a judge and married Bill and me. So much history here. She also lost a 14 year old son years ago and I walked through that with them. She brought out things I had written for them way back then....things I do not even remember...but she saved them. When her husband died, she found one of my notes folded in his wallet...so many tears together. We are also laughing a lot as she imitates Mike, an Irish guy with a great sense of humor. So, I am ok and thank you all for reaching out when I crashed Thursday. This is hard in so many ways but I have learned in two years that I survive what is hard. I am also looking forward to being home on Tuesday and picking up Bentley...our Golden. Peace, Mary

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It sounds as if you're having a very poignant time, I'm glad. I wouldn't want that traffic for anything! I thought Portland was bad enough! I live outside a small town with one traffic light...when it works. :)

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Thank you, Marty. Love seeing those hearts. :) Thank you, Kay. Traffic was easier today. I live in a town with one traffic light also, Kay, and I have a growing appreciation for that. Word has it that there were perhaps a lot of accidents yesterday because of some protests and arrests combined with some drug highs in the area....something over Earth Day...not worth my investigation.

Today I had a wonderful afternoon with a fairly new friend...will be pondering our sharing for a long while. And know she will also.

I am getting a bit worn out from all the talking as I am not used to this and I really wear down easily from talk, talk talk - even when it is uplifting which this afternoon was. So after I do email I am taking a solitude break before we go out to eat...and talk and listen and interact. I realize how un-used I am to this much interaction. Monday I will take a long long solitude break and re-visit some of Bill's and my haunts when we used to come over the mountains to Denver (from Ouray) for a civilization break..i.e. symphonies, big book stores, restaurants.

Thanks for being out there. Always comforting to me. Always.

Peace, Mary

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