On Life,  Wander, Wonder, Write

Unfocused: Secretly Sad

Daniel and I have been traveling again since early August. From the Netherlands to Portugal (Sintra, Lisbon, Porto) and from there to Brittany, the Cycladic islands, Athens, Ireland, and Sicily, where we are now. 

I‘ve written fragments on Facebook and Instagram about what we saw and did, but never found enough breath to sit down for a blog. Having postponed everything that required my focus for months, there was too much to catch up on. And more importantly: Writing required an honesty I couldn’t muster. 

My mother’s illness and death have left me dangling. After we buried her in July, my life went on, yet I felt paused. Grief consumed my energy and emotions overwhelmed me when least expected. I had lived in fearful denial for a while and now the results showed. Between the happy moments and peaceful days there were weeping hours of despair. Hours of lying awake at night thinking of all the things I should have done better. Hours of emptiness, of being strangely quiet, having nothing to say or ask. Hours of worrying about the stupidest details, bus times, grocery expenses, grease stains. 

I’m still kind of a mess. The pictures may show I’m living a fabulous life—and I am—but, I’m also a mess, grieving and feeling lost, unfocused.

Traveling feels like an escape instead of an adventure. Everything is metaphoric. I’m going downhill. I’m looking for new perspectives. I’m crossing bridges. I’m taking a step up, a step down. I’m braving the wind. I’m walking toward my future. 

In Portugal, the salty cod tasted like the tears of the sea and the pastéis de nata were as sweet as life.

I long for the time when I will leap out of bed again each morning, feeling strong and ready to meet challenges. It will happen. Until that time, I’m secretly sad in beautiful environments, grateful to be with the man I love. 

Photograph: a broken butterfly wing on a salt hill in Trapani, Sicily, October 2021.