I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post for a couple of weeks, but it’s been a flurry of distracting activity as I wrapped up work obligations before a long flight over the Atlantic.
I’m going “home” for the first time in six years. I am anxious. My fingers are sore from the chewing I’ve inflicted on my cuticles. I have had disrupted sleep and digestive issues. Although I’m visiting people I love who also love me, I’m deeply unsettled by one thing: mom won’t be there. Mom is dead. The last time I was in Janesville was to care for her as she died.
I was starting to heal. Maybe I don’t give myself enough credit- I don’t really write to her anymore in my Letters to Mom blog section, and I don’t think about her as frequently I used to. I don’t torture myself mentally and emotionally anymore over the end-of-life care we were faced with in autumn 2010. And I finally managed to get the memory book I wrote after her death printed, which includes photographs I took during those whirlwind couple of months we had together. I’ll be time travelling back to emotions I was just starting to accept, but I’m not the only one- I’m staying with Aaron, and he was involved in it all too. Seeing each other will be great, but it will bring with it some tough stuff we’ll be helpless to avoid.
Originally, I was trying to get back to the US for the fortieth birthday of one of the best people on the planet: Jodi. However, September is an expensive time of year to travel, so we postponed till I could get flights that didn’t cost an arm, leg, and kidney. I’m flying out tomorrow. In the middle of the trip, I have a mini-trip to North Carolina to see family I haven’t seen in person since 1985. In fact, we only reconnected a few years ago through Facebook. I’ve had a few different surnames which makes me harder to Google, but I have two brothers (by my adoption), and so the Parrish children are about to be reunited. It’s going to be weird and wonderful.
That’s not to say this whole American mini tour won’t be weird and wonderful- it will be that and more, I know it. I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends, cooking for them, going to Target, small town bars, and laughing in the same room instead of through computer screens. I know it’s going to be a good time, and I hate that my brain is tainting it all with anxiety. Although I’ve done lots of solo travel and long flights alone too, I wish I could take Pete with me. A little piece of what has become my “normal” life would be comforting, and he’d love meeting Jodi and Aaron in person. Sadly, no money for it this time, but maybe going this alone is what I need anyway to work on my closure of certain emotions. I’ll have plenty of thinking time on planes and coaches, that’s for sure.
So, to those I’m seeing soon in America: I love you, and I’m looking forward to seeing you. I’m just not looking forward to the dark stuff I’m facing and I know you understand. See you soon. There will be hugs.