I returned home today from a road trip to visit a friend. A short vacation with a lot of time spent on the road. Many of the same roads that I had driven on just a little over a year ago on a trip with Don. I have gotten used to the roads near our home here in New Jersey and our home in Upstate NY. The painful memories of road trips close to home have faded a bit, but this trip was different. This trip duplicated a vacation Don and I took together during our Winter Break last year. The same highways, the same rest areas, the same scenery, the same landmarks, but a very different trip. All alone in the car without my traveling partner, at times missing him more with each passing mile. There was no hand to hold when traffic allowed me to drive with one hand. There was no one to laugh with at the corny roadside signs. There was no one to have a quick bite to eat with or no one to make stopping for a real meal enjoyable and relaxing. There was no one to turn in for the night with at the roadside hotel and no one to wake up with this morning in the strange town still seven hours away from home.
Grief is like an ocean and sometimes the waves rush over you without stopping to take a break. Sometimes you get caught up in the undertow and have no idea which way is up or down and you feel like you are gasping for air. Sometimes the waves lap at your feet as you walk along the seashore and you can dip your toes in and take them back out again. There is noting linear about grief. It does not follow any predetermined pattern of healing. You heal from grief and then the wound is opened up again, only to scar over again waiting for the next memory or wave to rip it open once again.
I am glad I went on this trip. The time spent with my friend was good and healing. The next time I drive on those roads it wont be as painful, I have learned that now from experience. Grief is a great teacher, there is none like it for sure. I wouldn’t wish these lessons on anyone. Someday the lessons I am learning will help me to help someone else, for today I am grateful to be home and that is progress.by