We had the privilege during our life together to travel much of the world. Oh my, the adventures we had! Our experiences were funny and scary and intimate and priceless. The stories we were able to tell were so memorable. But, none of it would have been as special had I not been able to do them with you.
You took care of it all. “Just pack and be ready to go” was generally what you told me. I packed and you took care of the rest. You took such good care of this that I realized, after you had gone, that I had not made an airline reservation for myself in over 20 years.
Towers and arcs. Battlegrounds and tombs. Kangaroos and Great Barrier Reefs. Onion domes and wooden shoes. Gondolas and chopsticks. Mountains and beaches. Castles and Eagles Nest. Schnitzel and croque monsieur. Wine and vodka. The Pope and gyros. Thwarting a robbery in Rome. I could go on and on. How blessed were we to be able to share these experiences together? I miss my travel buddy and my dependable travel agent.
When you were in the hospital, we had the opportunity to talk for hours. You pulled me to your side and whispered in my ear, “Please, go. Please do not stop traveling. Plan trips and continue to scratch places off of our bucket list”. You told me that our loving and compassionate travel companions had already promised you that they would take me along with them on future trips. There were so may places we still wanted to visit! We had finally talked you into going back to Vietnam, but this was going to have to wait. How can I do this without you, and do I really want to? The most fulfilling part was going with you.
Since you have been gone, I have ventured out cautiously with the safety and security of loving friends. The experience is always bittersweet because you are not sitting next to me and I can always guide the conversation to how you would love or hate a particular destination or dinner or entertainment. My companions are generous is sharing memories of you, laughing and crying together and all just missing your presence.
Now I am taking a really big step. I think you would be proud of me. I planned it all, invited someone very special to join me and soon we depart. There are parts of me that are excited to share this with a person who has always had my heart, but parts of me are terrified. I am in fear of doing this without your supervision of the journey, but more just sad that you can’t go with us. I will journey without my protector. I will take on this experience like a flight without a parachute. You will not be there for me to rest my head on your shoulder or wrestle my bags from the overhead compartment. You will not say at 6:00 AM “Of course we will have a Mimosa. It’s cocktail time someplace!”. You will not be there to protect my heart from being broken by your absence. I will miss you so badly every step of the way. I will wear your bracelet and you Airborne Wings so in those ways you will be with me. And you will be in me heart as you always are.
I hear you, my love. “Please, go”. I am going because you wanted me to. It will, however, be bittersweet because you are gone.
I love you so much and miss you so badly that it physically hurts.