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Born in the 50s

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Comment by chef (John) on June 12, 2019 at 12:15pm

@Ultra: Panic is natural--especially for something as major as a trip to London.

Suzan is right: Sandi is always with you. The "firsts" are always hard...and you will be OK. If you're worried about packing, you can always go to The Great Google and type in something like "how to pack for a flight", "what not to pack in your carry-on" or something along those lines. You may or may not want to get a converter to recharge your camera or cell/smartphone. (And yes, take a camera along.) Check the weather websites to get an idea of what to expect when you get there--and what to pack. Be sure to have your passport handy.You can do this, and I will add my good vibes for you to Suzan's. 

@Bergen: Attending the wedding turned out to be a good thing--although I had my own misgivings after I had accepted the invitation and then went on to have my own panic attack the morning my flight was leaving Cleveland. The members of the bride's extended family were quite impressed that twelve Americans flew from the US to Africa to attend the wedding of their son/brother/godson/ cousin/friend. Following the European model, there were two ceremonies: the secular/"official" one at the government office and the church ceremony the next day. I attended both--and broke down during the "..'til death do us part..." segments on both days. [Of course, I had been a widower for only a year at that point.] I am still in touch with several people whom I met there some seven years ago. I agree that you made the right choice in handling you husband's ashes.

@Melissa: You're welcome.

Comment by Melissa on June 12, 2019 at 11:44am

I get it, Ultra. Just keep reminding yourself that you're going to see your son. That will be wonderful. London is so beautiful in early summer. You'll be good once you get there.

My passport expired last November; a year after Gilbert's death. I've had a current passport since I was 18 years old and it feels really odd not having one now. 

Comment by Barzan on June 12, 2019 at 6:54am

Dear Ultra,

I can relate to traveling alone for the 1st time without our mate.  Although I traveled stateside often with work, never abroad alone.  My family is in Budapest and I had to go as my cousin was very ill with cancer.  I was so on edge and panicky the whole time leading up to the travel and until I set foot off the plane.  I thought about him constantly because he was so good at navigating foreign countries and I was not.  It was one of the hardest things I did without him.  It also was a hurdle I had to jump on my own.  I missed him the entire time but was proud of myself for achieving something I didn't think I could.  

Sandi is always with you.  You will be okay.  The firsts are always the hardest.  I will be sending good vibes your way and a virtual hug.  Please keep us posted.


Comment by Ultra2015 on June 12, 2019 at 6:34am

Woke up this morning in a panic.  Don't know why, I slept ok most of the night.  But then this morning I was just overwhelmed.  I began reading some of the latest posts about traveling.  I am leaving next week for London to visit my son and his wife.  They are having a wonderful time living and working there and I am very excited to see them.  The problem is this will be the first trip I have taken without Sandi.  We had many travel plans, in the US on our Harley and abroad.  We made it to Ireland after I retired in 2010.  We did make several touring trips on the bike and trips to see the kids around the country.  But a major trip like this, alone is making me so very anxious.  Sandi was a packing planner.  She would have started weeks ago deciding what outfits to take, what the weather would be like and helping me with everything from my underwear to sweaters and such.  It is just such a lonely time, these weeks leading up to a trip that is so important to me and yet one that I dread because I have to go it alone.  No partner to share the joys of seeing the kids and their life, or to reminisce with upon our return.  I just miss her presence so much.  I am glad to hear how people are handling such situation here, it is very helpful.  As many of you say, no one but this group really understands how difficult it is to lose the love of your life and know that it is forever, and not the forever you were planning for.  Thank you all for listening.  

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on June 12, 2019 at 2:39am

@John:  I'm glad you were able to get to South Africa.  It's funny how we are all different.  My husband had always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, and we'd planned to go on the spring after all his treatments and brain surgeries were over, but of course he didn't make it till spring.  When after five years I became ready to set his ashes free, it was either go to the Grand Canyon. where he never got to, or Jamaica, where we'd been 18 times and where he was really happy every time.  I was not overly interested in the Grand Canyon (yes, I know it's supposed to be beautiful), and to me (of course your experience was right for you), it just seemed sad to take a pile of ashes to the Grand Canyon.  It's not like he would actually see it and to me it was just a symbol of dreams dashed.  So I took them to Jamaica.  For me it was the right choice.  I met some wonderful people who helped me with the logistics of getting the transit permit and another who set up the boat for me, my experience allowed me to help someone else who wanted to do the same thing, and when I see photos of the beach and know he is there it is a comfort. It's really all about what feels right to the individual.

Your trip sounds awesome, though the experience of doing this while attending a wedding must have been strange.

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on June 12, 2019 at 2:32am

@Lensan: Can you please send me a PM and tell me the tour company you used?  A solo widow who had a good time with what they set up as a good recommendation!  Thanks.

Comment by Melissa on June 11, 2019 at 6:13pm

John, I just want to tell you that going to South Africa and scattering Judith's ashes is one of the most moving things I've ever heard. For some reason, it gives me hope and courage.

I thank you for that.

Comment by KJPE on June 11, 2019 at 5:09pm

Hello dear ones,  I am not in my second year yet - Greg died exactly 8 months ago tomorrow (Wednesday, June 12).  However, I am with you in that I've seen little change in my grieving over these months.  I still confront reminders every day, cry every day, and feel the hopelessness of yearning for a past that is gone & never to return....however, as the months go by, I have more good times, and experiences during which I don't cry at all.  They last for hours, not days, but seem like a sign that I could feel better eventually.  Maybe the trick is:  every hour without pain & tears is a gift and we must remind ourselves of that every day... don't know if this could possibly help but it seems to help me.  that said, in the first few months after Greg died, this would not have worked for me.  

Comment by chef (John) on June 11, 2019 at 12:52pm

Bergen: As a fellow INFJ, I get most of what you're saying. I have dated on-and-off, am not dating at the moment, and am likely to finish the ride alone. I had to have my gallbladder out in January (emergency surgery), so I was alone for all of that, since we had no children and my family lives 375 miles east of Cleveland. The experience was unnerving, but I survived.

Athena: I did something similar. Judith and I had planned a trip to South Africa, but never got there. A friend who was in the Peace Corps invited me to his wedding--which took place in Malawi. He was stationed in Zambia, so I got to go there, to Zimbabwe, Malawi and then went over to Cape Town after the wedding. Judith's ashes were discreetly placed on the Zomba Plateau, Victoria Falls (both sides--Zimbabwe and Zambia) and I even scattered some on top of Table Mountain and at the Cape of Good Hope. And I agree with you that the single supplement is a real PITA.

Comment by Athena53 on June 11, 2019 at 11:51am

I haven't been on in awhile but still get updates on this thread.  It's been 2.5 years since I lost Ron and I can identify with what Bergen, especially, said.  There are moments that really drive home the point that you're alone-  being afraid to get up on a ladder and change a light bulb because there's no one to call 911 if I fall, not wanting to take long bike rides because what if I get a flat 10 miles from home?   I have an Uber account but it's not the same as when Ron could show up with the car and the bike rack.

Ron and I traveled- a LOT.  I continue to travel and have now left bits of his ashes in 8 foreign countries (mostly in violation of local laws but I was discreet about it) and 3 places in the US.  It's what I'd told him I'd do and he liked the idea.  The rest of them repose in a beautiful wood box my brother made for them on the chest of drawers in the bedroom.  I'm dating nice guy and he's very laid-back about the fact that I'm widowed and occasionally Ron comes up in the conversation, but I'd not sure how he'd feel about Ron's ashes being so close to us at certain times!  It's a comfortable relationship- monogamous but no urgent wishes to marry or cohabitate on either end.  I'm grateful for that.  

Yes, single supplements are a PITA.  I travel solo in some places such as Europe and just rent an Airbnb, so no real additional cost of being alone. Overseas Adventure Travel doesn't charge a single supplement but they're pricy to begin with- I took them to India/Nepal and will be taking them to the Galapagos in March.  No way I'd want to be assigned a roommate- I've gotten used to doing things my own way!


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