The Real Reason For Everything

The Real Reason For Everything

So….I may not have been completely honest with you guys over the last few years. I wouldn’t say that I was lying, but I was withholding some truth about myself. I wasn’t sharing the real reason why I went on my round the world trip almost 5 years ago. 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 of 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. I remember feeling like I was floating, almost weightless. Every sound became muffled. My brain stopped functioning. I had no attention span. I became more accident-prone. I felt like everything inside of me had been vacuumed out and I became a shell of myself…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.

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.

Meet Eric

Eric November 4

My everything. The love of my life. My partner in crime. My best friend. My husband.

Eric November 4

We were supposed to weather through the storms together forever

Today would have been our 8th anniversary. 8 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 remember searching furiously online for things about widows. 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. I became internet and in real life friends with women who were young like me and had lost their husbands/partners.

I was so grateful to have found that group because when these women talked, it was how I felt. I finally found people who were like me. I finally 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 maybe by sharing my story today about my loss; I could perhaps 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, after 6 years and add in the recent passing of my Pops, and I’m still here. Standing. Breathing. Somehow surviving. Of course I wouldn’t have made it this far without the help of my brother and his family. I wouldn’t have made it without the support of some of my friends (warning: you’ll lose a bunch – sorry, I have to be honest). And lastly, travel. It has been there for me in so many different ways. It has been my form of anti-depressant. It 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. I just needed to share my truth. I was afraid of people and how cruel they can be. I had blogged in the past but I wasn’t committed to blogging. Travel was finally the one thing I loved writing about. I didn’t want my blog to be a sad place. I wanted to share relevant travel tips and information about places I had visited and been to. I wanted people to have better travel experiences and travel more.

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. I didn’t want pity. I didn’t want to be looked at like some car accident. 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 6 years, I would have said I hope not. I have some how survived losing my husband, traveling around the world, losing my mom to cancer, changing careers, traveling more, and now losing my father. I’m still here. I’m still kicking. I’m 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.

Eric November 4

 Dearest Eric, I love and miss you every second of every single day. Happy anniversary!

Arnette

Round The World Girl is a blog by Arnette, a solo female traveler, lover of adventure, coffee, tropical islands, and unforgettable meals. She shares a retrospective of her 19 month, 19 country round the world trip, adventures both near and far, destination guides, helpful tips and tricks for travel, as well as tips and reviews of her favorite things.

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