Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Learning to navigate

I was out on Vinal Haven Island this past weekend visiting a friend from, what feels like, another life. We knew each other when we both lived in Rhode Island, each married to the love of our lives, we were coupled friends. She is widowed now thanks to a grade four cancer that hit John five years ago. She still lives in Rhode Island but they've owned the little cottage on VH since well before John's illness.

It was wonderful being out there with her. We took walks along the shoreline with my dog Ella; I had lots of hammock time curled up in a comforter with my book but spent most of the time starring up into the gigantic Blue Spruce trees that swayed with the strong West wind off the water; lots of good food and wine and conversations. As Jackson Browne once wrote "I'm just a few years and a couple of changes behind you .... ", which is how I feel with Tina.

At one point I stopped in the trail we were walking on and said "Tina, how can this possibly be? How can you and I be widowed when we're still so young and the men we married were so incredibly vibrant, bigger then life kind of guys? How is this possible?" Of course there really is no answer to this. Like so many of my questions posed to the Universe these days. Tina said "it is what it is". An expression I use a lot for myself as well ... it just is ... what it is .... and it sucks.

It was important for me to hear that it is possible to learn how to do things alone, not only to lie in a bed that is too big and still fall asleep but to also navigate so much of the world. Both Tina and I married pretty young in our lives so the roles got defined early. Although they shifted and changed for Jim and I there were definitely things that he took care of ... and they're all mine now. Even driving up there I felt the loss of his presence so strongly ... he loved to drive and I loved to day dream. It sounds so small and so easy but it's the little things that can feel so huge and overwhelming at times.

It was a wonderful mini vacation and I promised her I would try to get out there again later in the summer. I have other adventures planned for many of the up coming weekends and I've got a lot of weekends not planned - allowing for some spontaneity in my summer months. A good balance I hope. Too much time on the couch being unable to move is, well, just too much time unable to move.

It's good to practice ... pointing my compass and navigating my way.



  1. Mary, I had actually gone to the friends page to look for another piece of information, and found this.
    Indeed it is a practice, finding our way once again...
    all love Rosemary

  2. Dear Mary,

    I found your blog through Hannah Holmes's website. I did not know that Jim had died; I'm so very, very sorry. I went back through your posts and found them so moving, so beautifully written, so full of life and love. Thank you for sharing your painful journey with such beauty and honesty. I've bookmarked SOLO on my "favorites" bar, and look forward to future posts. Love, Monica Wood

  3. Rosemary, so glad you found it! Welcome.

    Monica, welcome also! And thank you for your kind words.