I'll be home before you know it!
My trip is wrapping up today. I just have one more vendor meeting in Hong Kong this afternoon and then I’m on a red-eye flight back home. I think you would be so proud of me on this trip. This was a short trip, but it spanned across three cities and three different hotels, so it’s hard to remember my room number from day to day since it changes literally daily. I was leaving the hotel on my first day and grabbed the hotel key with the jacket that has the room info on it and thought to myself, “S would not approve of this. What if I lost my key, and someone picked it up? They would know what hotel and which room this key opens and can enter my room (especially if I didn't realize I lost my key--something that you know would be so me!😂😂).” So, I removed the hotel key jacket and forced myself to remember the room number each day. Ironically, I was in the elevator with my coworker, going back to our rooms after breakfast today, and he takes out his key with the jacket that had his room number on it. I said something only you would say, “You know, if you lost your key someone would know what room number the key is for.” And his response was a very classic SY response also, “If I don’t take the hotel key jacket with the key, I won’t remember which room I’m in.” I just thought it was funny how I channelled you in that moment! If it was any other day, I wouldn’t even noticed that would be a security risk. I guess now that I’m alone, I need to think of all these things that you normally do to keep me safe and secure wherever I am in the world.
This has been an interesting trip so far on the grief side of things. My therapist was right again. She said that going on this work trip will be good for me. I probably wouldn’t be on an emotional roller coaster and the grief process won’t hit as hard (if at all) since I’ll be in a place that I’m used to going on my own with no memory of you that would trigger any bad emotions or meltdowns. And that’s exactly what happened--I went about my normal China travel routine like it was any other trip. I was rarely sad, I didn’t have any emotional meltdowns, there were no triggers, and I rarely thought of you dying or that you left me here all alone to fend this world by myself except for the part where my friend in China (the one who gave you the Beats headset with the Chicago Cubs logo on it--I think it was the Chicago cubs if I remember correctly from what you told me, but you know me and sports logo!!) and we sat and cried for over an hour talking about you in the hotel room. So, this was a little different since it was a full-blown discussion about you, but even after that discussion, I was perfectly fine the next day and the rest of the trip. She was shocked, angry that she will never get to meet you, and sad for me that I had to even deal with this. We sat and cried and cursed the universe together--no clique comments or trying to make me feel better! It was great to just have a normal conversation and talk about how we felt. For someone who has never met you, she seems to know you very well (maybe from all the stories I’ve shared with her about you over the years). And there was one thing she said that really struck a chord. She said, “Just keeping doing whatever you guys planned. S would never want you to stop doing what you guys had planned on doing just because he died.” And you know what Babe?! She’s right! I need to keep doing whatever it is that we planned to do even if you aren’t here with me anymore. I should never stop doing anything that we once enjoyed doing together or planned for in life just because you are not here anymore--because I know that is not what you would want for me, and if the role was reversed, I would never want that for you either.
This conversation reminded me of a revelation I had sometime late last year after watching our family mourn and grieve over Aunt GC and your step-mom. Even after a year and half later, it was still very hard for everybody. I know it was hard on you, especially after Mama C passed. Watching you go through the grief process and mourn Mama C was rough on me, but I didn’t know how to help you. I knew nothing about grief at that time. I just let you be, so you could work through it yourself, and just stayed close if you ever needed me. I didn’t know Mama C very well or intimately, but her death also affected me, and I thought about her all the time (so I could only imagine what you were going through). We never talked about it, but I always thought about her and it always amazed me how the world just continued to move on like nothing happened after she passed. Now that I’m knee deep in the grief process, it’s even more amazing that I can even continue to move with the world after such a devastating loss. But the revelation that I wanted to share with you as a result of your aunt GC’s and Mama C’s death and watching my grandmother’s health rapidly deteriorate before my eyes over the course of the last year and half (but I never had the opportunity to share this revelation with you since you passed before I could share it with you) was that if I died before you, I would want you to celebrate my life and the person I am and was, and not only mourn my death. I mean, I get that you would be sad and have to go through the grief process, but never let my death consume you to the point where you can’t live life fully or ever be able to find happiness again. I would never want that for you nor anybody else in my life. I would want my life to be celebrated and cherished. I want to be remembered for all the things that I brought into the world and for the lives I've touched. I don’t want my death or grief to be the only memory that people hold on to. I want to be celebrated and not mourned, and that’s what I’m trying to do for you. It’s hard on most days, but I will continue to find the strength to celebrate your life, our memories, and how you’ve touched my life and all the lives of the people around you. I will try to put more focus on that and less on my grief. This will be a new goal for me as well. Looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me.
I have to go Babe. I need to pack, check out, and eat lunch before the vendor comes and pick me up for our afternoon meeting. I’ll be home before you know it. I love you so much and I can’t wait to see you when I get home (this is what I usually say to you after being away for awhile).
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.