I see you. Smiling faces peering over ship railings. Eyes squinting in the brilliant Italian sun. Bodies sleek in scuba gear in the Galapagos. One more happy Facebook vacation picture — and the computer gets it.
Okay, I feel better now.
Somewhere among those Facebook pictures of a river cruise and toes in the sand, I ran dry. Don’t get me wrong. I’m more than happy for friends’ ability to get outta Dodge and realize their travel dreams, just as they’d be for me. When you’re livin’ the hard-earned dream, it’s only natural to share it – with everyone. Glimpsing a buddy trekking through the Grand Canyon can be an actual public service, right? (I’m kidding) Poring over gorgeous Instagram shots might be the only way I’ll ever get to see those magical sites. (Those pics also incite my inner wannabe fabulous photographer)
It’s a big world. We all want to press ESC and see all we can before the curtain closes. Travel is what we save for, and dream of. It jazzes us to check off each destination box, especially when it comes equipped with memories to relive again and again. I know. I have pictures to prove it.
These days though, not so much. Maybe that’s one reason the rolling visual travelogues on my Facebook timeline triggers me; but not for the reasons you might think. At first, even I thought the cheerful travel odysseys were a sneaky bazinga of all the places I may never see. But slowly I realized that’s only one piece of the missing. Maybe those barefoot in the sand toe shots, or glistening views of the Eiffel tower point up the sedentary chiaroscuro of a shadow life. Yet, hey, I’m not exactly STUCK to that couch; my life is pretty damn full. In fact, the only thing that needs changing is the empty space next to me, but that ship sailed when my husband left. So why the stupid pity party? Why, when I click those ‘hearts’ and ‘likes’ on friends’ vaca pics to parts known and unknown, do I sometimes feel so empty? And what’s with the wanderenvy? Continue reading
I live by lists. I’m not at all apologetic since actually, I’ve never been quite comfortable without one. In fact, my lists — have lists. Filing systems for the mind, mine can be found on random index cards, scraps of paper or, if I’m really conscienious, my handy phone list app. Whatever works.
I’m pretty sure, that at least once, you’ve raced into a store just to realize you left that scribbled note of ‘things to get’ at home. And even though we would never be so un-cool as to write things down before we went into the garage, none of us wants to admit just how many times we came back inside empty handed. Whether it’s years catching up or just having too much on our minds, the fact remains, lists are handy creatures.
“What’s on my to-do list today? Oh, right – everything“.
My husband no longer holds my power of Attorney. In fact, since he’s no longer on terra firma, his only power is on my heart where he still has a firm grip. Still, it felt like nails on a blackboard to remove his name from those legal papers. It kinda went in the same bag with all the ‘hard’ things I had to do since he died and this deletion was yet another painful pause. This was one of the last items on the legal to-do list to be erased, but I felt no happy about this clean slate. My list was as empty as I felt.
As days went on I began to think there should be another list. This one would not be for groceries, Christmas, or household fixits, though there’s always running lists for each. No, this list would be a total leap of faith. Continue reading
No, I didn’t go on vacation. I didn’t fall in love. And I didn’t go to find anything I was looking for – the love of my life already left the building. But, what I almost lost in the city by the bay was precious and would have broken my heart – again.
The jaunt to California was actually a business trip for a travel client as background for a snazzy review I will need to write. While going anywhere that smacks of fun and enjoyment doesn’t quite feel right to recent widows, as they said in The Godfather (one of my all-time faves) ‘It’s not personal; it’s business’. So I sucked it up, and forced myself to go to the Golden State. (I know, it’s rough to be in sunny California but someone has to do it, right? lol) Ready or not, I was booked on a tour, packed for the trip and grabbed a dear, sweet friend, who was gracious enough to be my travel bud for some California dreamin’.
With the first stop San Francisco, I was hesitantly optimistic. Yes, I was somewhere I had never been before but compared to the traumatic uncharted territory of widowhood, this would be a piece of cake! Ha! Said cake fell flat my first night in the city ‑ and I can’t help but think my guy had a hand in it. Continue reading