The Real Reason For Everything
So I may not have been completely honest with you guys over the last few years. Not that I would say that I was lying but I was withholding some truth about myself. I had been holding back on the real reason for my travels, my adventures, behavior, everything.
I don’t even know how to start, to be honest. My story is not a happy one and it is really difficult for me to share. I would often think about sharing my story but I was never ready. What happened changed my life forever. It was the catalyst for my round the world trip and everything that has happened to me since.
I guess the best way to start, is to go back to this day:
September 23, 2009 – The day that will have forever changed me
It was a warm, sunny day in northern San Diego, where I was living at the time. I had gone in to work at the fashion company I was working for. My day consisted of emails, phone calls, writing press releases, checking out websites, bloggers, etc. A typical day as a public relations manager.
Just after lunch, my phone rings. It’s my friend “D” on the phone. She sounds choked up, she can barely even speak. I ask her if everything is okay. I ask her if her son is okay. She starts bawling. I then ask her if her husband is okay. She then blurts out,
“Eric is dead.“
Everything after those words faded to black. For a very long time, I couldn’t remember what happened. Every sound became muffled. My brain stopped functioning. I remember feeling like I was floating, almost weightless. My attention span became short. I was even more accident-prone than normal. Everything inside of me had been vacuumed out and I became a shell of a human. If you have ever had anxiety attacks or felt sick before a work presentation or public speaking, that’s how I felt for a couple of years.
Who is Eric?
You’re probably wondering who Eric is. Eric was my husband. In the past, I may have mentioned him as my best friend, which he was/is. I just left out the fact that we were married. He was a part of my life for 8 years before he died and we were almost married for 2 years.
Which leads us to November 4, 2007.
My everything. The love of my life. My husband.
We were supposed to weather through the storms together forever
Today would have been our 11th anniversary. 11 years ago, we ran away to Hawaii and eloped. Well…we didn’t run away. Our families knew we were getting married. We just wanted to get married without all of the fuss and stress of planning a wedding. In the end, I’m so happy we chose elopement because it’s the one major thing I have of Eric that is just mine. The best day ever, for real.
You may be wondering….why today? Why share this story now?
I’ve wanted to share my story for some time but I couldn’t find the right time to tell it. I wasn’t ready to bare everything in the past. I was still dealing with a lot. Still dealing with losing him plus the added losses of my Mom and Pops too. I was suffering from grief, then depression, then grief, then depression and now again grief.
What changed? Recently I remember thinking about a day shortly after Eric died. I remember needing something. I was missing something…besides him of course. It must have been about three months out and the fog was lifting a bit and the reality of being a widow slapped me in the face. I remember looking at my phone and thinking who could I talk to about this shit? None of my thirty-something friends were widows. None of their friends were widows either. The only widows I knew were some of my friends’ mothers or grandmothers. No one was like me.
I recall searching furiously online for things about widows and I swear I must have visited every damn fucking page. Again…mostly white-haired old ladies. Not little Asians who hung out with skateboarders, could snowboard and loved shopping at Barney’s for designer clothes. Widows didn’t look like me or had a life similar to mine. After a while, I did find solace in a private online support group for young widows. Connecting with women (online and in real life) who were young like me and who had lost their husbands/partners.
I was so grateful to have found that group because when these women talked, it was how I felt. Finally, I had found people who were like me and found a community to connect with. It was a pretty fucking sad group of people, but they were my people. Everyone had really horribly devastating stories. We commiserated together. We held each other up when we needed it.
I thought by sharing my story today about my loss perhaps I could be a beacon of hope for someone else suffering from a huge loss. I honestly didn’t think that I would survive Eric’s death. Then I didn’t think that I would survive Eric and my Mom’s death. Yet somehow, and add in the passing of my Pops, I am still here. Standing. Breathing. Somehow surviving.
I wouldn’t have made it this far without the help of my brother Primo and his wife Melissa. Also am so grateful for the support of some of his and my friends (warning: you’ll lose a bunch – sorry, I have to be honest).
And lastly, travel. Travel has been there for me in so many different ways. It has been my form of anti-depressant and has brought new wonderful people into my life. There’s a lot I can say about travel and how it has helped me over the years but that is another million other posts.
You may leave after reading this, and you may never come back to my blog again. That is fine. But I don’t plan on changing this site to be about grief and loss. This was just a way for me to share my truth. People can be cruel and I was afraid hurtful comments. I had a blog in the past but I never committed to it. Travel was something I enjoyed writing about. This wasn’t my journal or a place for me to be sad. My blog was where I wanted to share travel tips and things I loved about places. I wanted others to have better travel experiences and fall in love with places like I did.
If you look at me without knowing anything, you would have just thought I was like any other traveler. At first, that is what I wanted. I wanted to be like every other traveler who had a blog. The last thing I wanted was pity. Now as time has passed and things have evolved, I feel like sharing a more personal side of my life and travels.
If you asked me back then if I’d still be here after 9 years, I would have said I hope not. I have somehow survived losing my husband, traveling around the world, losing my mom to cancer, changing careers, traveling more, and now losing my father to cancer also. I’m still here alive and kicking, still pushing forward. Now I hope that I can help others else wading through his or her grief or problems, someone who thinks it’s not possible.
The last little while my blog has felt like it was lacking something. I couldn’t for the life of me think what it was. Now I know…it was missing Eric.
Dearest Eric, I love and miss you every second of every single day. Happy anniversary!