Good morning. I’m back from a weekend getaway. It was my first since Peter died. So many firsts in these past eleven weeks. This one was harder than some though. I left the house for period time, knowing I could not run to it and close out the world when my emotions stabbed at me. But I did it and after I cringed from the band-aid being ripped off, it wasn’t so bad. Stung at times, but in general, not so bad at all.
I used the luggage from Peter and my last trip together – a North Carolina week jaunt to see the wedding of Peter’s best friend’s daughter. There were some things still in the toiletry bag left from this North Carolina trip. There was a tube of lotion from the hotel. Peter had a habit of sticking things in my bag, or his, from hotels. There was a toothpaste tube we bought at a drug store because I forgot mine. And there was sunscreen in a bag, dusted in gravel because it fell to the ground after I used it. The objects brought back the memories of our last trip, our forever last trip and they pressed on my heart so hard, it hurt to breathe.
Peter and I traveled a lot together. He liked to travel. We did go to Canada twice and Paris, once, but all our other travels were in the United States. Peter said there was no need to travel outside the United States when there was so much in it to explore, and he wanted to explore all of it. He was an adventurer who lived all of life, anywhere it was, fully.
Our children saw more of the US than most. And when they became adults with interests on their owns, Peer and I began to travel, just the two of us. There was so much more we wanted to visit and experience. We even batted around the idea of buying an RV in our retirement years, perhaps retiring in a different state altogether, one close to the water for Peter to sail. I didn’t care about the wheres or hows of traveling, as long as I was with the man I loved.
To be honest, I am more of a homebody than Peter was and traveling has never been in my comfort zone. It causes me more angst than pleasure. I am a crabby traveler sometimes. But, like so many things in my marriage, I sacrificed to be with the one person who was everything to me. Oh, I don’t want to come across as a martyr. Not only did I adored being with my husband, but we stayed at hotels. I do love me my hotels. Plus, in all of this, I had a decision, and I chose Peter. And, now, well, now there will never be Peter, ever. I know. That reality pill hurts like a rock to swallow.
So Thursday, I headed out with a great friend of mine, one of my sisters by choice. I pulled myself together to pack, load the car and head on down the highways. I didn’t need to go for a weekend getaway. I could have waited. (Yeah, I know. Waiting is a patient activity and so not my thing.) But I wanted to go. I wanted to go to see how traveling feels without Peter. I wanted to go to get away from the house I keep myself locked in on weekends with memories…and a longing so deep, I drown in it. And I wanted to prove to myself, like everything else in my life now, I can be a solo act. It’s hurtful. Not one I wanted nor asked to have a part in. But it’s my reality. I needed, for me and my own grief timeline, to face this actuality.
It was a very nice and relaxing getaway. We didn’t do much of anything besides some shopping, eating, talking, and going on a riverboat cruise. The last, the being on the water, really tested me as I am afraid of water, can’t swim and get motion sickness. One of the reasons I never sailed with Peter. This time though, I was okay. Yes, it was a huge boat and so there’s security in that, but there was a sense of peace. It could have been seeing the vastness ahead of me as we rolled into the lake. Perhaps a metaphor to the possibilities still there is my lie. Or it could have been the hawk flying overhead as the boat steamed its way on the river and into the lake. Since Peter’s death, I see a lot of hawks and I see them as an animal spirit of Peter. It’s just a feeling. We saw so many hawks on our getaway, almost like Peter was telling me he was with me on this trip after all. Or maybe it was both – the rolling into my hopes of tomorrows, with Peter as my guide.
NOTE: I tried to get a photo of a hawk in the sky when we were on the boat, but he vanished the moment I tried to capture it. I’m thinking, like Peter, he hated his picture taken.