I will always strive to “keep it real” in my daily life, in my heart, thoughts, speaking, actions – and that includes my writing.
Tomorrow is the 16th of August, one of the worst days in my life and the life of my family. It is the day on which Katie passed away, five years ago. There is no way to sugarcoat that memory, and no reason to do so. It just is.
It is hard.
It is searing.
It is a tearing-away memory.
It is not easy to watch the images flashing across the screen of my mind, however gently Katie passed – and she did pass gently, by Grace. She still stopped breathing, and her spirit left her body, inert and lifeless, lying on her bed in her own room, while we sat beside her. Just.stopped.breathing.
I asked Gregg and David what they were thinking about the approaching date. They were both quietly aware, both reflective. David mentioned going somewhere that Katie loved, but is scheduled to work that day, so he can’t. Gregg said very little, and will go to work as usual. This is typical for the two of them.
We were on vacation last week in one of my favorite places on earth. I noticed there that I was clinging to David when he did anything that seemed even remotely dangerous. We did a lot of hiking, and he did some rock climbing. If he was standing near the edge of a steep cliff, or on the edge of a long drop-off in a high wind, I had to look away. I begged him to play it safe. This is not normal for me, but I felt the trauma of letting Katie go stealing my own breath away whenever I looked at David on the edge of something that could take his life.
I do not want to keep him tied in any way. But I cannot bear the thought of watching him die. This is reality, and it probably makes his life a bit difficult, but there it is. I have come a long way in five years, but I have a long way to go, one step at a time.
I always miss Katie powerfully when we do things that she loved. Here she is, picking up treasures.
And here we are on that beach without her, seven years after the photos above were taken, and five years after her passing:
We had a wonderful time on our vacation. This is the place to which we retreated immediately after Katie’s Celebration of Life, so it has mixed memories for me. It is a place of happy family memories, solace, of peace, of emotion and of joy in the incredible vastness of creation. It’s on the open ocean (Pacific), and you cannot help but feel small and in your place in the great food chain when you stand next to old-growth trees and peer at the unending horizon, read about many shipwrecks on that wild coastline, and see a whale surfacing in its summer feeding ground. I felt frequent, overflowing gratitude for the privilege of being there.
When I went to sleep last night, at home for the first time in nearly a week, Katie came to me in my dreams. I don’t recall the dream, but I certainly felt her sweet presence.
Travel is a great conduit for joy for us (yet there is no place like home). Shortly after Katie’s passing, it was difficult for me to move off of our comfy yellow couch, but now I like to get out more.
How about you? Does travel help, or hurt you after a catastrophe?
Has this changed over time?