The first year after Tom died, I took as many trips as my work schedule and bank account would allow. I found getting out of my house and being somewhere with people was a respite from grieving, at least, for awhile.
The first (two weeks after the funeral) trip was a resort in Northern Michigan with my daughter. We tried to make the best of it, doing some cross country skiing and indulging in salon services. But at the end of the weekend, the two of us were bereft. We headed home miserable. I realized later we took that trip too soon.
Next, a couple months later, my daughter and I headed to Key West to visit my sister and brother-in-law. This was before I started working full time, and it was a great escape. My in-laws were gracious and generous, giving us just the right amount of space. We spent the majority of time riding bikes, eating, drinking and having a few laughs. We didn’t dwell on the death of Tom. It was a healing trip.
The rest of the year included New York City with a long-time girlfriend, a weekend at a friend’s lake house, and the Bahamas for my birthday in the fall – another escape – and a very interesting exploration of Nassau. My girlfriends and I had talks, laughs; it was a comfort. The kids and I ended the year with a trip to Buffalo to visit another set of in-laws for the Thanksgiving weekend. So roughly I had six getaways in one year – not too shabby.
After the first anniversary of Tom’s death, not wasting much time, I scheduled a 10-day trip to London with my college friend. We had backpacked through Europe 35 years ago, and she was game to accompany me. I am lucky to have a friend who lives there with her husband and daughters, so we had a place to stay. London was cold and damp in late February, although there were daffodils blooming around the city. I saw a lot of the city and its surrounding countryside, but even better, I had a variety of people to hang out with. I came back home ready to tackle the second year of my widow’s life.
During the course of the second year, I took additional trips, but not as many as the first. I realized I can’t run away from my new reality. I need to try and embrace it.