Pressing Play

Tomorrow I am pressing hard on the play button of my life – I’ve been on pause for too long. It is an exciting, terrifying thing to face a Last Day of Work, especially when it means leaving the family business and especially when it means starting your own.

I just had to reach into the blogging world tonight and gather up all of your good karma.

I feel like I am doing her proud.

Virtual Hugs

A dear, dear friend of mine said goodbye to her mom a few nights ago – holding her hand as she breathed her last. It crushes me. Even though I’ve been there, I don’t have the words.

To my dearest; to anyone who has just walked away from that bedside; to anyone who is counting down the minutes until “goodbye”; to anyone who is missing someone; to anyone who is looking into the dark: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

Sometimes their are no words.

But I love you.

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A most incredibly sincere amazed and blown away thank you.

WordPress has informed me that it is Afterwards’ second birthday!

It took me a long time to start this blog. Before I lost my mom I had spent much time writing opinions and sending them out into the internet abyss. And though it took courage, it did not require the amount of mental and emotional energy that this blog would ask of me. Especially that first post.

With her, I lost a very precious source of confidence. Somebody to read my words and tell me they were good. Somebody to tell me that I was good, no matter what. The process of opening myself up here has tested this drying well; but then, it has filled it up.

Sometimes I write regularly, sometimes I don’t have the words to say, sometimes my energy lets me down. I have been blown away by the support I have received anyway; by the trust you show me when you take my words to heart and when you share your own stories with me. Thank you for caring about my words; thank you for considering them to have weight; thank you for being kind and vulnerable enough to let me into your world. Thank you people from 95 countries who have crossed spacial barriers to connect with me from across the planet. It is more than I can understand.

I hope you know how much you help me to heal – your eyes and hearts are profoundly changing my life. Thanks for the adventure.

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A Post-Travel Reflection

My husband Adam and I spent a month making our way around Italy, Ireland and Japan, returning home last week to face reality, and an incredible hit of jet lag. Photos and words describing our trip are here (sans the last week, when busyness overtook typing).

I cannot tell you how this trip opened me back up to myself again. I was changed by a great multitude of tiny experiences that lent themselves to a slow, subtle opening up of my mind and heart – only fully realized when reflecting on it all.

Three things: The first, that I love traveling more than anything in the world besides the relationships in my life. As I previously shared with you, my last big trip had me return home only a few weeks before my mom was unexpectedly taken from us. I had traveled India, a place that left me so enriched it was almost overwhelming to deal with. And, due to the immediate experience of mom’s death, I didn’t deal with it. I barely showed anyone my photos. I lost the emotional capacity to reflect on or absorb the powerful experiences I’d had. It was all stuck inside of me and melded into the mix of grief emotions that I faced. This stuff has been scrambling around in my brain and body for almost four years.

The second, is that I had planned on returning home from India only to turn around and head to London, where I would be living. My belongings had previously been shipped across the ocean and were waiting for my arrival. However, I decided after mom died that I wanted to stay nearer to my family for a time. Stuff was shipped back. I stayed.

I didn’t realize how much of a hold these two things placed on my life. It wasn’t that I was hung up on moving overseas or that I was dying to put together a slide show of India, but it came down to an overarching sense that life as I truly desired it was over. That the things I’d previously experienced were in another life – the before – and that they weren’t accessible anymore.

A huge amount of reconciliation happened for me this last month. I stepped foot on new soil. I gained new experiences. I turned the page. I saw my passion still alive. I put the details of India to rest in a healthy way and refilled my mind with fresh scenery. I landed in London and it was still there.

The world is still here. Life is still here.

The third, is that my husband and I had to face each other for the first time in a long time on many levels; without wedding plans, without moving and job-hunting, without house-building, without a specific home at all… This was beautiful madness; just two humans trying to get around and make decisions and survive the day, and each other. It was intense – an intensity that shaped us and pushed us.

There were many times on our trip that I was tempted by or dragged back to “the dark side”; the shadowy place that tells you not to trust life or joy or adventure. Sometimes I went there. But to intimately experience the vitality of the world again dripped something into my blood which made the light want to fight harder. And the light will win. Image

 

 

Up, Up and Away!

Travel is my greatest passion. Tomorrow I am embarking on my first big trip since I lost my mom. Excitement is an understatement; preparing for this trip has brought me back to life in a huge way.

Afterwards will be on hold for a month, but my travel journal (my very favorite way to write) can be found here, under the “Italy, Ireland, Japan” map and journals section.

Happy May! Ciao! :)