Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Break is Over

No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.  ~Elbert Hubbard


I find I am really relating to this quote today.  After being away from home for over two weeks, I've spent the day adjusting to life back at the ranch (home).   Anyone who has been away from home for any length of time knows that it takes a while to adjust to the new time zone, unpack the suitcases, wash the dirty clothes, go through stacks of mail, and go through over 500 e-mails.  I am also way behind on reading the blogs I follow.  So, I spent the day easing back into real life.  I don't want to rush into anything too fast because then I will truly need another vacation!



Jim at our first bed and breakfast
Ithaca, New York

My husband and I spent the past few weeks touring much of New England.  We were a bit ahead of peak time for "leaf peeping" in Upstate New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  I am happy with our decision to go on our trip when we did.  It fit our schedule, and we saw autumn in her beginning stages without being caught up in the crowds.  We beat the tour buses!  While we were gone, we also spent some wonderful days in the Boston area with my youngest son and his family.


This trip was the first extended vacation we have taken since our nearly month long trip to Europe during the early spring of 2010.  As many of you may know, we had only been home two weeks from that trip when my youngest daughter took her life.  Since that time, I have been dealing with the shock and grief that came from this tragic loss.  I wondered if I could ever leave home for any extended length of time again.  


The good news is that I think this trip was extremely beneficial to me.  It was not an easy trip.  I was ill through much of it, but in the end, I felt healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically.  In fact, in many ways, I believe I turned a corner in my journey through grief while we were in new locales.  Being away from home, away from the place where I have attempted to come to grips the greatest shock and devastation of my life, seemed to help me put some of the shock of Julie's death behind me.  By this, I mean that for the first time since her death, I found that I was no longer floundering in disbelief.  


I needed to leave the past few seasons behind.  This past spring and summer have been very hard on me emotionally and physically.  I was dreading the change of another season even while I was very much in need to see this past summer put behind me.  The summer had been so hot, so dry, so hard on me.  I was ready for a change of climate.  My soul needed some replenishment.


Buttermilk Falls
Ithaca, New York
We began our journey in Ithaca, New York.  The damp, cool weather felt wonderful to me.  As we made our way from Ithaca to Cooperstown, somewhere in the Adirondack Mountains, I saw the first splash of fall colors in the landscape.  I asked my husband to stop so I could photograph the first display of fall flowers and pumpkins that I saw along the road.  



The colors of fall seemed to give my heart new life.  Grouped in a simple display next to this a large autumn gold barn, the yellow, red, pink, and rust colored mums were just garden variety potted plants that can be found in front of any grocery store this time of year, but somehow the colors blended together to form a memory of other autumns in my life. 



Fall is my favorite time of year.  I needed to love it again.  I needed to be introduced slowly to its beauty again so I could appreciate its glory.  Small dabs of eye popping splashes of color seemed to be just the right amount of contrast against the green shades of summer to awaken my love for a season I thought I would never fully enjoy again. I needed to be reminded that "for everything there is a season."  I needed to know that grief also has its seasons.  "There is a time for grief," but there is also   "...  a time for rejoicing."  I needed to learn that one's heart is not forever dead to the beauty of life and nature.  


I will remember these past few weeks as a time of healing for my heart.  I have a new appreciation for health, for friends, for the changing of the seasons, for family, and for my husband.  He has been so generous in the way he has provided wonderful opportunities and experiences for me.  He has spared no expense.  His patience has been beyond measure as I battled through illness throughout the trip.  We survived navigating new roads and routes through country we did not know.  


We had a break from everyday life and along the way found that we still had to deal with life and all that it throws at you.  One never knows what one will encounter on any journey, whether it is across country or through life.  This trip served as a reminder that I am blessed with a dear traveling companion.   For that,  I am extremely grateful. 
Near Stowe, Vermont
Jim & Sally 
in the autumn of their lives

20 comments:

gigihawaii said...

Hi, welcome back! Sorry to read about your illness. What a bummer! But you seem healthy now; that's the main thing, isn't it. Love your photos and hope to see more of your trip later.

Cape Cod Kitty said...

I am so happy for you, Sally. Looks like you had a journey of healing and beauty. What every trip should be.
Sorry we could not connect, but someday, I hope. It has been very busy with the company here and a good times being had by all! The next contingent arrives this Sunday. They want lobster, clams and more lobster. LOL!

Dee Ready said...

Dear Sally, It's nice to go to your blog and find again a gentle posting about your life and about the beauty surrounding you.

The sentence in your posting that spoke most deeply to me was the following: "I mean that for the first time since her death, I found that I was no longer floundering in disbelief."

I am happy for you that the seeds of new life and new realization and new possibilities are growing within you.

Peace,

Green Monkey said...

My favorite part:

I will remember these past few weeks as a time of healing for my heart. I have a new appreciation for health, for friends, for the changing of the seasons, for family, and for my husband. He has been so generous in the way he has provided wonderful opportunities and experiences for me. He has spared no expense. His patience has been beyond measure as I battled through illness throughout the trip. We survived navigating new roads and routes through country we did not know.

and even more important... my personal bible outlining what good man does for good woman.

......

I keep hearing about Ithaca. YOU have convinced me that its time I visit.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Glad you pointed this out... I wouldn't have seen it. Great post--and I am SO SO SO glad you took this trip... You (both of you) needed it SO much...

You all are retired... Start taking more trips--even little ones!!!! Getting away just warms the soul.

Hugs,
Betsy

Lynilu said...

It's good to have you back. And it's good you took the trip! It sounds as if it was just what you needed in many ways. I remember the day I noticed my grief was no longer the main object in my life, and it felt so good. Since then, I've felt free to enjoy the good memories more and more every day. :) Hope it's the same for you.

Olga said...

I am so very glad to hear that this trip was a firm step into the healing process for you. I hope, as Lynilu said, you are free to enjoy the good memories more and more--even make more and more good memories with your loving family. Jim is a gem.

Jeanie said...

Even with being ill while you were gone, it sounds like this trip was very, very good for you. It was very good to read the ways this trip helped in your healing. Welcome home!

DJan said...

I read it now, although it didn't show up in my Reader. I'm so glad that you are past the hardest part and will now be able to move on. I know with my son (it's been nine years now) that every once in awhile something will hit me and I'll experience a huge sadness and cry, but every year it's a little easier than the one before.

LittleSilkDress said...

Welcome back! Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos. I'm glad you and your husband were able to take this break together.

Friko said...

What can I say except that to read about you recovering life and finding the road back to a stronger self is wonderful. A tremendous shock like the one you have had is not easily overcome and if this journey helped you along the healing route, it was the very best thing you could do.

Thisisme. said...

Welcome back Sally. I am sorry that you were poorly whilst you were away but, overall, I think this post is a positive one from you, and I am so pleased that you find yourself being able to appreciate the beauty of this new season once again. A 'dear travelling companion' is a blessing indeed. Sending warmest wishes to you.

Barb said...

We had a vacation house in VT for many years while are kids were still at home. The falls there were memorable. Your trip sound like a turning point for you, Sally. Glad you and Jim could take the journey together and feel positive about moving forward. Welcome home to CO! It's snowing today at my house (but so far not staying on the ground).

Sandi said...

Hi Sally,

I'm so glad you had a much needed time away from home and found healing despite illness.

As someone who has also had a child take his own life, I fully resonated with these words, "I needed to learn that one's heart is not forever dead to the beauty of life and nature."

Our hearts do come back from the dead, but the season for grieving and the season for rejoicing are often intertwined.

It's been almost six years for me, and reading your post tonight brought fresh tears, of remembrance, and in compassion for you and others who have suffered this indescribable loss.

Welcome home!

Jeanie said...

This is a beautiful post, Sally. I'm so glad that the break was truly that -- a step away and a new start in its way. Those things have to come at their own time, and it looks as though you chose your time just right. And New England is such a delightful place for a holiday. I hope (and it sounds like) it was healing for you. Welcome back to the world, my friend. One step at a time.

Linda Myers said...

Sounds like you had a memorable, healing vacation. I'm so glad.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

This is a beautiful post and I'm glad you pointed it out because I'd missed it. It sounds like this trip was a really significant part of the healing process. I'm so glad you were able to find the beauty in this season, which seems to symbolize both the vividness of life and the transition to something quieter.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Sally,

Welcome home. I was really touched by your post. I'm glad that you enjoyed your time away. I can't help but wonder if your illness during the trip was somehow part of your healing process. I don't know how to explain what I mean by that though.

Keep taking care of yourself and that wonderful husband of yours.

God bless,

Kathy M.

John Paul McKinney said...

"...fully enjoy again...."
"...to give my heart new life."
"...new appreciation...."

Wow, was this satisfying to read. Having lived in New England for a few years (Northampton, MA) I could see the colors as you described them. I'm glad you had this trip and especially glad you shared it with us. I enjoy your writing. Thank you.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

So happy to see you back, Sally, in so many ways. Your trip sounds like a wonderful chance to heal and to find the beauty of life and of the cycle of the seasons once again. The pain of Julie's passing will always be with you, but feeling that you are once again able to see beauty, to re-engage with your love of autumn and to appreciate anew your wonderful partner in life shows huge progress toward healing. I'm so glad you were able to make this trip! (And I so understand the concept of needing a vacation from the vacation! Bob and I just returned from a two week trip to Maui and I've been very lazy about blogging the last week or so!)