I have been around the world and back…and I did it all while wearing Mom’s shoes.
When I starting writing this post it read like a minute by minute travel log. It mentioned amazing things we did and the beautiful things we saw but it lacked the emotions and feelings that went along with every moment. Every second was filled with contradicting feelings. The incredible feeling when you see such stunning sights always accompanied by the paralysing realization that nothing will ever feel the way it should. Because, nothing is as it should be. Experiences will still be amazing, views will still be impeccable, food will still taste delicious, jokes will still lead to laughter but, none of it will ever be the same without our Moms. Yes, Moms. This journey was for both of our Moms and we found way to honor both of them. We visited (and spread ashes) places that my Mom loved and that Thomas’ Mom dreamed of one day visiting. It was surreal carrying their physical remains across the world. But, it was also somehow refreshing to see these two women who never let the world box them in finally set free.
Before we left for Europe Beth and I braved the task of going through Mom’s closet. Anyone who spent much time with our family knew Mom’s closet was our closet, a place my sisters and I could always go to find something just right to wear (well, post hippie skirt years that is). It is strange how entering a place where I had spent so much time and always felt so comfortable could feel so much like trespassing. Touching her clothes, smelling her clothes, trying on her clothes, taking her clothes. Through tears and laughter we made our way through her closet. Every piece of clothing, every pair of shoes (the BOOTS), every hat, every scarf had a story to tell. A memory. I find myself clinging to memories but also terrified of them. I fear the feelings that go along with memories. I fear that somehow making new memories will push out the old ones. I fear that making these memories is somehow betraying our Moms. The rational part of me knows this is not the case both Moms would want us to experience and live and see all that the world has to offer. Seriously, just look at Mom’s Travel Pins. I used to be very good at living in the moment… now I just live in constant limbo of what I should be feeling.
With this trip we did see, we did experience, we did live. We made new memories and we honored the memories of the past.
This journey made me long for the past but also left me hopeful for the future.
So, for now I take it one step at a time.