Adventures of the Heart

Yesterday my second oldest sister and her heart twin left for another adventure at sea.

These sailors were the ones who scooped me up in Idaho Falls when my own heart twin died. Linda held me and let me fall apart, tempted me with bits of food and things to drink, helped me decide what to wear when I was unable to even look at the clothes Warren and I had bought on vacation.  Chris took on the practical and necessary as well as comforting a broken sister-in-law: dealing with the funeral home, packing the truck, dealing with the hotel. They both made me walk (‘Walking is life’ I hear Warren say), and listened to me talk, and encouraged me to cry when the grief was still so acute.

Sailors are the best people to have around when things go wrong.  Although they always have a plan – I mean, it would be silly to hop on a boat without planning the food and water and route – they are prepared to change direction at any moment.  I guess that’s what happens when you agree to live a life that is based, literally, on where the wind takes you.

I spent a week or so up at the cabin with Linda and Chris, just hanging out and healing.  Although things are getting… better? I have a finite capacity to be sociable – interacting with people is exhausting right now. Linda has a warm and generous heart and let me just be in silence or chatter on when I needed to. Chris, a quiet man, also has a warm and generous heart. He listens to my endless chatter, always with an interesting perspective and often excellent advice: ‘You have a million tears to shed for Warren,’ Chris told me when we were in Idaho Falls, ‘that’s your job right now. You need to get at it’.  And I did.

I arrived to pick them up yesterday around 11:30 and take them to the hotel in Toronto where they would spend their last night as land lubbers before a ridiculously early flight to Quebec. They were zipping around attending to final details at the house, packing and discussing what needed to be done. They were excited and happy to be on their way to their next adventure together and the love they have for each other was clearly evident. It made me think of when Warren and I were waiting impatiently for him to finish his last job so he could come get me and we could head out on our Epic Road Trip.

A brief grief squall – Then gratitude for the memory.

We got on the road and wended our way through the traffic to Toronto. When I dropped them off at the airport we hugged and they told me to be strong and I’d see them in December. Well, Chris said he hoped he WOULDN’T see me in December but he just says that to hide his warm and generous heart. Also he’s a little bit of an ass. But I love that about him too 🙂  As I headed back to Guelph I had another brief grief squall – these sailors bring all kinds of unpredictable emotional weather when they leave.

And now it’s time for my own adventure.  I’m waiting for the results of two job interviews – I may end up in Alberta again, or I might stay in Ontario. One of the gifts I got from Warren was the gift of travel – I can go anywhere now – and I don’t fear anything anymore. So now where I land is less important than where I can go. I do miss those blue eyes and that hand to hold as I travel though.

I got a text from Linda this morning, saying they made it to Gaspé just fine and soon will be reunited with their beloved MonArk.  If you would like to follow their adventures, Linda also has a blog called liveaboard four seasons on a sailboat.  If you follow that link you can watch as she and Chris sail across the sea again.

It’s amazing where life can take us.

 

 

Singing Solo

I’m sitting in the sunshine, feeling the familiar warmth on my skin, and remembering our days in Yuma. I distract myself from the spike of sorrow by wondering what to do with the rest of today.  I have washed the truck and bought dog food – all good responsible Sandy activities.  I also organized the truck inside – didn’t vacuum it but wtf, it’s some progress anyway.  I don’t know what it is that is pushing me today – I feel restless? No. But I want to do something.  Maybe I’ll go into Fergus tonight and watch the live music at the Brew House.  Or maybe not.

I feel like I’m starting to emerge from under the tsunami of grief and sadness that has consumed me for days.  I miss him.  I miss having his hand to hold and his warm smile and his excellent advice. But if I listen to my inner voice he’s there.  He’s still with me.  And as much as that makes me sad and frustrated – I want to see him! – it is also becoming a comfort.  There is a tribe (which tribe? I hear him prompt me – I don’t know Warren, I can’t remember…) that says that no one is really dead until the last day that their name is spoken.

Warren Allen McLeod.

I say his name each morning when I wake up and each night as I fall asleep.  No forgetting on my watch. With that in mind, knowing that he’s still here in one way or another, I feel stronger.  I am starting to pick up the the notes of my life, starting to compose the sound of the each day.  Never more than a day ahead though – I know now that fretting about the future, trying to compose an aria to carry me through – is futile.  We only have the notes for today.  Cherish whatever melody that brings you.

Today I’m composing a solo: my melody is bright and warm with an undertone of melancholy. And  that’s ok.  It fits me right now.

Hopeful

This morning I woke up and realized that I had slept. The whole night, and this morning I feel rested. 

In the month since Warren died, I have gotten maybe 4 hours of sleep in a stretch if I was lucky. My grief  has been making demands. Fussing at the most inconvenient times, and spitting up on my life when I least expected it. Yet I care for this grief – hold it when it needs attention, rock my grief to sleep when it has cried itself out. There are times when I hold my sleeping grief inside me, aware that it is there but dormant, look at its sleeping face – Warren’s face – and my heart fills with a bittersweet love. My grief connects me to him still. 

There have been days recently where I have been able to move forward while my grief was sleeping: I’ve had two job interviews and I’m starting to look forward to having a purpose and a routine again. 

So this morning was a milestone for me: my grief baby slept through the night. I’m hopeful: maybe we’ve gotten to that stage where we are starting to understand each other, this grief and I. 

Guelph ont

I have made it back to Guelph. Tired, heartbroken and sad, I am once again surrounded by family. It was comforting to be hugged so fiercely by my son, cuddled by my sister, hugged by my niece; My suitcase whisked to my room, food consumed, then it was pajama time. A few tears. Lots of stories. A glass of wine.

There is a quote that says that no one is dead so long as someone is saying their name. Tonight Warren was present in every story – he won’t ever be gone. 

I’m keeping this post short because I’m exhausted, but tomorrow when I’ve collected myself I will have a better post. 

I miss you, my Bear. 

S&W

Look over there – that was Fargo …

We got on the road and headed east towards Fargo. Unfortunately, we were past Fargo before we knew it – the highway took us around it and I just didn’t have the heart to go back. So we continued on to Brainerd – a weird little town.  We were trying to find the Paul Bunyan statue and Babe the blue Ox, But since the movie these things have become a tourist trap… so we just continued.  But at least we did go through Brainerd and not around it.

We learned from yesterday’s troubles, and did two smart things today:  we used Roslyn’s phone as our guide – like a person with 2 watches, if we use more than one map we get headed in all directions. The second thing is: we stopped driving before Sandy got too tired. 

We saw the Black Bear Inn and Casino from the highway, and took it as a sign. That’s where we’re bedded down tonight.  I felt sad again when we stopped for the night – this is the time of day I miss Warren so acutely. Evenings were when we just relaxed, ate, walked and talked – a loss I feel so much. Roslyn is a keen observer though and after last night, she made sure I ate supper and then kept me distracted in the casino. 

We decided to play the slot machines but we only played games with bears – figured Warren might be able to help us. 😉 and he did – we won quite a bit and went back to our room in good spirits. 

I’m still missing my Bear. I can’t believe I won’t hear his laugh or see those eyes looking at me with so much love. 

Tomorrow we should cross back into Canada at Sault St Marie. It will be good to be back home, and have this long journey completed. Bittersweet memories. 

I miss you, my Bear. 

Stay tuned,

S&W