I’ve been absent for awhile, as you may or may not have noticed. I suppose that depends on how (un) interested you may be in this blog. In any case, the road trip with the girls was fun, as long as I pretended that Ben was back at home with Zak having a Boys Vacay. A “Big Hairy Guy Weekend” as Ben always called them when Zak was young. When I thought too hard about the fact that Zak was actually going to work every day (and also a bit lonely it seemed, from his messages) and that Ben was never coming home again, it got a bit too much to bear.
We arrived home after 16 days(ish) on the road feeling not too shabby, but when I walked back in our home I felt like my world collapsed around me all over again. I was transported right back into the shit storm of pain I have been somehow tolerating since the day Ben cried out “I have cancer.” (April 10, 2015 around 5:20 pm, to be exact.) I’m not exactly sure why that happened to me. Maybe because the renos that were supposed to be completed were not done, or maybe just because Ben did not greet me at the door. I don’t know. But in that split second that I walked through the door I truly felt like I just couldn’t stand the thought of trying to get through another moment on my own. The pain was raw and fresh and agonizing and unbearable. I saw this and thought that it pretty much summed up how I felt:
(As an aside, and since this was brought up recently, let me be very clear for all who read this blog that I write these posts when the mood hits me. That mood is usually sad because (a) my husband died and (b) quite frankly there aren’t a lot of moments in my life where I feel like jumping for joy right now. I hardly think that is a surprise. This blog is my outlet for my grief, not a contemplation of my own death and most certainly not by my own hand. If you choose to read it, please keep your imagination in check. I am still reasonably sane, I’m just sad. Really, really fucking sad. I’m also really, really fucking strong.)
For the last eleven days I have just been trying to cope and trying to keep on keepin’ on. Which brings me to today, and I have decided show the world (or my twelve readers) a little bit of what took place on our Peace-Pilgrimage-That-Didn’t-Bring-Ben-Back. I’ll do most of it in pictures which will allow me to not have to be witty or clever (have I ever been witty or clever in this blog?) and which will ensure you don’t have to read endless amounts of my drivel.
One of the things we did was leave Ben’s mark wherever we went. I want Ben to be remembered and I feel like anyone who didn’t know him would wish they did. So I “shouted” out his name at every opportunity. This is what that looked like:
If you click on each picture you can see where it was taken. Not long after we arrived home, someone (I won’t say who) sent me this:
I love that. Thank you.
We tried to have as much fun as we could while we driving from place to place, so we stopped randomly and did things like this:
We stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory for a tour (who doesn’t want to tour a cheese factory?) and the girls convinced me that Ben would have bought them some fudge if he was there. They were right, so we ate fudge.
We drove a bit further and found ourselves discombobulated when we saw a sign telling us that we were right back home. We pulled over and took a picture:
From there we went on to the Sea Lion Caves (the pictures down below in the caves didn’t turn out) and then onward to take a wild ride in the sand dunes. I thought we may die out in mountains of sand, but luckily we made it back safely. The three of us were washing sand out of unmentionable places for days:
Sometimes we just pulled over to look at the scenery as we drove south…
And then finally we arrived …
We saw the Redwood Forest (we opted out of actually driving through the tree ourselves because there was a 30 minute wait) and drove on to San Francisco where we hit all the local tourist traps including Lombard Street (most crooked street in the world) where Jaime took a time lapse video as we drove down. Unfortunately I can’t quite figure out how to post it, but you can see it on my Facebook page. We did have a bit of a scene at the top of the street when some street security tried to make me drive down it without Jaime. Seriously? That didn’t end up well …. for them. Jaime ended up back in the car and on we went. Click on each picture for details on where we were …
While we were in San Francisco we found ourselves driving behind none other than the Titan himself. Look closely, bottom left …
We also discovered the wonderful world of Uber drivers because I absolutely hated driving in that city. I was pretty pleased with myself for using Uber, actually. That isn’t something I would have ever done before without Ben.
I’m going to end this post here and finish the trip off in a second post at a later date. I’m exhausted and today we brought this fella on the left to his forever home with us:
His name is Marley. Not directly named after the movie per se, but we did name him after Bob Marley. Ben would have loved that.
Before I sign off I want to skip ahead and show you this one thing:
The picture on the left is Ben and I on the Santa Monica Pier, Sept 24, 2015. Our 21st anniversary. The picture on the right is the girls and I standing in the exact same spot. It was strange to think of all that has transpired in such a short time.
And then there was this:
I took the picture on the left when I was standing beside Ben last year, and I remember thinking at the time how ironic the sign was because the end of our trail was approaching rapidly, and I knew it. When I saw the girls standing beside the same sign 11 months later I realized that in fact it was not the end of the entire trail, just the end of part of it.
Ben sat in that chair last year. This year we left it empty.