The Adventure Continues…
…and life goes on.
“What advice do I tell my grandson? I listen to him.”
A dear friend shared a memory on his social media thread that, when I read it, caused me to pause, and say, “Yeah… I get that.” He wrote: “While I don’t live each day in grief…”
While I don’t live each day in grief… What a monumental statement. There is an ebb and flow to grief. There are days you’re movin’ along and life goes on. And, then there are days you cannot get out of bed much less function like a productive individual.
On this journey, I witnessed many unpleasant aspects of Self and got to know the beautiful spirit within. A lot shifted and evolved. I healed, or transformed, a lot of my self-beliefs and found the friend within. Actually, I got to know a very nice person who is loving, caring, compassionate, travel-savvy and acknowledge the intelligent woman that resides within.
When the intention that I would have my feet in the ocean on the anniversary of Jeremiah’s passing was set, the determination to drive was intense. I had no desires to wander the tourist attractions between New Mexico and North Carolina. I simply wanted my feet in the ocean and to be with the one person who’s helped me get through this period of transition – my sister.
This was the first location that I stayed in an independently owned campground. All previous campgrounds were either state or national, and not an option if I wanted to be within an hour drive of Chris’ apartment.
My first impression of Cabin Creek Campground was that the campground was home to the majority of the camping folks. I felt save. It was clean. And, the laundry facility was ultra-clean. The campground is on the corner of a main artery to the Marine base and a well-traveled side road. The traffic was always moving. In a conversation with the owner, a day before my departure, I learned that many of the people staying at the campground have been there since last fall’s hurricane. I could feel her pride and heart-full compassion to provide a safe haven to the displaced families and the workers helping to rebuild the community after the devastation.
From the road, all you see are travel trailers in neat rows. I was pleasantly surprised on my first walk around the park to find their tent-camping area. It’s a wooded area with a small pond adorning a covered bridge (for walking only). Towards the back of the acreage, warning signs were posted not to feed or get too close to the natives that live in the marshy area down an embankment. I’m a Michigander, I guess I didn’t realize that alligators live anywhere and everywhere there is water in the south. I feel fortunate that I grew up in an area that if you wanted to go swimming on a hot July afternoon, you simply ran into a nearby lake or river. The only thing in the water to fear was leaches, snapping turtles and the very rare sighting of a water snake. No alligators. No sharks. There was nothing big enough to swallow you whole (or in three bites).
The guys at Chris’ work got to know me as the sister-wife. Most days I hung out at her apartment using her wifi and chillin’ with Maddie (her black lab). Dinner was ready for her when she got home after a long, hard day at the office along with a chilled glass in the refrigerator next to the bottle of wine.
It was good for both of us to spend non-trauma time together. No one was sick. No one died. No drama-trauma. We soaked our pant legs each visit to North Topsail Island Beach on our quest for more shark teeth. Our days together were filled with laughter and conversations. We wandered stores as she shopped for life’s necessities. I sobbed; she listened.
During one of my solitary ventures to the North Topsail Island Beach, it occurred to me how grieving is the most isolating and lonely periods of transition. Grieving is a very personal journey. We may walk similar paths, feel recognizable emotions, share tales that are seemingly familiar, but when it comes right down to it our grieving journey is a very lonely one. This is one of the reasons, I feel, that it’s difficult to console and be consoled.
…and life goes on.
In our moment of devastating heartbreak, life stops. And yet, life goes on for everyone else.
I’ve gotten acclimated to moving locations on a weekly or bi-weekly time table. After two weeks, I could feel my inner guidance nudging me to move along down the highway. Destination: Texas. I experienced a sense of home in Texas. In my heart I know that Michigan is no longer home. It’s where my family is – oh, how I miss my grandsons’ hugs and giggles! But, I don’t belong there.
I set a loosely general target area to travel towards. Cruising down the highway, I decided to change course and head for Stone Mountain State Park. After driving the mountainous back roads (a more casual, less white knuckle drive than New Mexico’s mountainous backroads), I learned they had one campsite for one night. I chose to head west to another state campground. Upon arriving, I could feel I didn’t belong there. The longing to see my grandsons grew so predominately strong that I could not resist the need to surprise them with a visit as physically soon as possible.
I promised myself I would make this a pit stop on my way back west.
The closer I drove to the community I raised the fifth generation of my family, the more I could feel what healing I gained fade. Somewhere in West Virginia, I shed my shirt and pants and left them on a mountain pass. In Ohio I took one sock off and then the other and tossed them out the window. The sign centered in the median between the north and south lanes of Interstate-23 welcomed me to Michigan with my old clothes on a broken hanger.
My past does not fit who I have become and desire to be. Only a few people understand the metaphor while others are insulted by it.
The memories of the past six plus months faded with each mile I drove down the familiar roads that I’ve driven since I was sixteen. It literally feels like it was all a dream and really didn’t happen at all. It’s as if I never left. The reminder that I have to know – without a doubt – that what I experienced happened is when I open my eyes in the morning I wake up in my travel trailer.
Life went on and never skipped a beat while I was living a dream out of state.
Captured moments along the way…
Explore the adventures that got me here…
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