Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pilgrimage - it begins

It is good to have an end to journey toward;
But it is the journey that matters, in the end.
~ Ernest Hemingway

I am enroute to Chicago, my hometown (the greater metro-area that is), and the place where Boomer and I moved from just two years ago.  This trip has a few objectives aligned with it, as part of these Winds of Change.  A major element of this trip will be my personal pilgrimage to special places of significance to Boomer and me.  It's an important layer in my grieving cycle, because it's the first time I've been back since we moved, and now, Boomer is gone.  I wasn't expecting to be coming back to visit as a widow; this pilgrimage is essential for me to go through for my life to move forward -- a different way of having completion over our lives together here, in Illinois, where 90% of our relationship took place. 
2011 - two days before we moved; the truck had just departed
The day before I leave, there's a calm, relaxed, peaceful air around me throughout the day - - I am ready to go.  It's an eery feeling.  Mostly because I haven't felt Boomer's presence much the last couple of days (read Winds); then I remember hearing him say to me, "...I'll meet you in Chicago."   I've looked over my list - - checked and re-checked - - he's right, I'm good to go.    This a wonderful progressive step in my ever-evolving journey through bereavement.  Everything is taken care of.  Friends check-in with calls and texts of support and good wishes.  I am grateful for their support and encouragement.  To have this level of calm, confidence, knowing I'll be away for 2 1/2 weeks is fantastic.  SMO sighs relief. 

I'm on the red-eye from RSW Airport, and have a driver taking me there;  there's no way I'm going to even consider asking one of my generous friends in Florida to shuttle me at 4:00 a.m.   That's just cruel.  I feel quite certain I'm in capable hands of the shuttle service.  Excellent hands at that,  if the driver's name is any indication - - Angel.  A very nice man taking great care in getting me to RSW with my heavy luggage - - I have Boomer's urn in tow.

Once checked in, I head toward security and pass the chipper dolphin sculpture with waterfall backdrop and say hello to Boomer.  Dolphins are Boomer's favorite animal/mammal, and make periodic appearances in my life since he's gone.  As I reach security, I'm greeted by a TSA agent saying,  "Good Morning, my you look radiant at this early hour."  I'm thinking, this trip has Boomer's watchful eye all over it, that's totally something he would say.  I'm in good hands. 

We reach our flying level of 36,000 feet just as the dawn of morning begins to break, the sunrise on the horizon is blossoming like a lotus flower - - it's clear, crisp and strikingly beautiful like a painter's sweeping broad strokes blending shades of pink, blue, orange.  I press my nose against the window with child-like wonder, and just watch this morning open up.  Soon I see the soft bed of clouds below and the full moon still present in the distance like a fading shadow.  While Brian McKnight's Anytime plays on my iPod, tears begin to fill my eyes and roll down my cheek, I am awe-struck at the beauty of the heavens I see.  It is in these few private moments I sense Boomer's strong presence and feel closer to him more than ever.   I guess he couldn't wait 'till Chicago.  I like knowing that. 

Who better than to greet this grieving widow at Chicago O'Hare?  Who else?   Dad.   For the rest of this first day of my pilgrimage, I'm comforted by the attentive care of both my guys (read He'sOne of Us).  First stop - - breakfast. 

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