“And so,” my friend asked, “was it all you wanted?”
I love questions like that!
Yes. It was. The trip was all I knew I needed. Did it have some downsides? Of course. It did not erase all of the PTSD Memories. Those still come at me like old movies, rich in detail, shadows and light, with a plot I can hardly remember. I find myself opening the door to them, wanting to see the experience of cancer and chemo and transplant and CMV– not to mention relapse and CAR T-cells, with the twin cytokine storms and allow them to exist within my heart.
But for this time, we traveled like we were young, as no one else I know travels, guided by an ambitious nose for beautiful, remote places and a great appetite for real people and serendipity.
We came back with a sinus infection that first plagued me, then Steve. This led me, finally, to antibiotics. So, it was not a soft landing. Glad to be home, to be still—at the same time—stunned by the shortness of the days and the sudden absence of movement. And, this time of year… this is the anniversary of last year’s relapse. I try to measure the vigor of my being against the possibility, maybe even the probability, of my DNA once more twisting into something life threatening. It is nearly impossible.
But the trip, the trip… it was a lot of travel. At times, we thought, this is too much. But then we would get lost in the day and meeting all it had to offer. And it always went beyond our reckoning. The Universe gave us more than we deserved or even asked for. It was (mostly) just the two of us, intensely experiencing each day. The last time that happened, it was during cancer. So, these memories… of the fairie glades and castles, highlands and waterfalls, pubs and cliffs and valleys…these memories now represent our fierce life on this beautiful earth. They do not erase the remembrance of cancer but they crowd it with their own vigorous power; of the two of us, walking on narrow trails and driving on roads scarcely bigger, alive with the breath of wind, washed by rain showers, and lit with the sudden wonder of sun breaks. Yes, it was all we wanted.
Scotland, the magnificent…
Ireland, the hospitable…
Iceland, the austere…
THANK YOU. YOu gave us joy and beauty, adventure and old friends.
You called me, in the midst of sickness. And I came to you.