B and I just returned from nine days in Montana, where much of T's extended family lives. I am very fortunate that B is such a great traveler, because I like nothing more than planning a trip, throwing a few things in a suitcase, and heading off to new adventures. This was a great trip, and I am very glad to be able to continue building our relationships with T's aunt, cousins, and their families. In some small way, I think I was responsible for the family reunion that occurred on a beautiful Montana lake last week, where 24 people ranging in age from 76 years to 3 weeks, all related by blood or marriage, spent time enjoying each other's company. It sometimes takes an outsider as catalyst to bring the blood relatives together. (Photo credit: Robin Spielberg)
While on the trip, I had a small but nice reminder of how far I've come on this grief journey. Sure I had moments of deep sadness when I reflected on T's absence, my loneliness, or the challenges of sole parenting, especially while traveling. But in the parking lot of our hotel early in our visit, there was a truck (this is Montana, after all) with "Just Married" messages decorating the windows. "How sweet", I thought. And went about my day. Later in the week, another Just Married vehicle appeared in the parking lot, and it was then that I realized I didn't get that zinger of pain, that visceral reminder of my widowed state. I'm not a fresh bruise, sensitive to everything. The wound is mostly healed, and I'm so thankful to have arrived at this state.