Context

January 22, 2006

My vacation took me to a context outside of the ones I shared with Michele. Traveling by plane was something we shared, and traveling was something we both appreciated. But going to Massachusetts was not something we ever did as a couple. In fact my trip here is a bit of a bookend, as the last solo vacation I had before marrying Michele was to this very place.

The several days I've been here have made me feel removed from Michele more than usual. She hasn't left my mind, but her memory hasn't been as strong because this context doesn't include her. Tonight, as I prepare to return to Kansas, I am struck by a feeling of sadness and a return of sorrow. Tomorrow I return to the life that included her and is now desolate in her absence. I have needed this break from my routine, and I am ready to return to it now. Being gone has heightened my awareness of my feelings. Being gone has given me a break from the spiral of anger I was wrestling with in the days leading up to this trip. I am curious to see if my anger returns when I once again submerge myself into the routine of my life.

Of course, maybe that is the point. Maybe I should continue to alter my routine to help move me to a new set of the contexts; ones that don't include the triggers for anger. Not a complete, immediate break from the past, but a gradual movement forward. Grief is standing still and allowing the world, life itself, to pass you by. Healing is movement, rejoining the stream and allowing your self to continue its journey unimpeded. I know that I will continue to linger in the backwaters and shallows of grief for a time yet, but through this vacation I have felt the pull of life again, and I know I can choose to rejoin that current when I am ready.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.