I was apprehensive about being alone on this trip. Not alone in the sense that I was by myself – because I wasn’t. At any time I was surrounded by dozens of people, and indeed, I was traveling with my sister. It was more about crossing over an invisible line in the relationship world, from being part of a couple to just being one. It continues to be an ongoing mindset shift, at least for me.
I had traveled on my own in the past, but I never analyzed it in any way, shape or form. I didn’t have to, I was simply going from Point A to Point B and I would call Kevin when I got there. I was part of a couple, just the half that was in transit and, consequently, the state of ‘oneness’ was temporary. For me that provided a sense of confidence, knowing that I had the power of two whenever I needed it. I also knew that when I got back home there would be a meal waiting – Kevin’s way of welcoming me home. Didn’t matter if it was a weekend, a week or a month I was gone; invariably he’d have a roast beef dinner ready to go.
For this vacation, my first hurdle was to vanquish the unsettled state I found myself in, having no immediate support system as close as a call away, and, in fact, not having anyone to call anyway. I traveled along behind my sister feeling a little discombobulated, out of my comfort zone, content to let her lead the way. She did an admirable job; we got through the trip without any glitches and, for me, without any major meltdowns.
The drive home was uneventful; the weather cooperated. As I made my way I was painfully aware that my return home would be like every other one since he died – empty. I wouldn’t be able to tell him about the ridiculous couple I met on the boat, so hung up on trying to impress everyone with how important they were that it became incredibly sad. Kevin loved the stories about people, truly, if there wasn’t one, he’d make one up. I’d of had lots of good fodder for him to work with this time.
It was sad coming through the door after my cruise, but not tear-my-heart-apart sad. It was just sad to realize how different my life is now without him. But I also acknowledge that who I am now is shaped by who he was and what he brought to the relationship and even his illness and subsequent death. These things are now part of me. I am thankful for what I have and what he gave me, but at the same time I know how much I have lost.