Going Back Home

Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
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Sunday, November 7, 2004

Pain, joy, frustration, grief, pride, fear, happiness, emptiness, hope.........these are only a few of the emotions that have enveloped us over the past eight weeks.

Pain and frustration, but also hope. I very calmly and confidently walked into the Eye Institute for my eye surgery two weeks ago, fully expecting it to be a fairly painless and routine operation. Fifteen minutes into the surgery, it seemed that the specialist was hacking away at my eyeball with a dull, serrated breadknife. A little later, upon questioning he confirmed my worst fears - he WAS actually sewing me back up and I was able to feel every stitch. The pain that followed as he pressed firmly with a Q-tip, was only the beginning of a seemingly long and somewhat frightening road to recovery, especially as I had expected to be back on my feet in a day or two. I now understand that I have to be patient for another four to six weeks before the pain will totally subside and my vision equalises. As I left the surgeon's office on my final visit, he smiled and said "see you next summer". Only time will tell whether I will be willing to subject a second eye to the same treatment. - perhaps an extra dose of anaesthetic would be in order!!

Grief and emptiness, but also pride. Last week on a sunny, fall morning, we visited the Herb Garden and again spread some of Mike's ashes in a few special spots - beside the pond where he used to skate and where his dog Jem is buried; under the infamous tree-house that he and his friend Russ built; and on a hill overlooking the beautiful gardens and the lawn that he spent many hours mowing. We had hoped that a small plane might fly overhead as we scattered the ashes. This didn't happen, but just after leaving the farm a jet appeared in the clear blue sky, with its white contrails visible for miles. Another crossed the first, and we pulled off the road to watch in awe as a total of ten jets crossed the sky leaving their perfectly formed contrails in what appeared to be a final pilots' salute. Our tears flowed like rivers.

Yes, the past two months have been a roller coaster of emotions, but we are left with the comfort that our multitudinous circles of families and friends will continue to help us through any difficult times ahead - after all, we are only an e-mail away. We have thoroughly appreciated all the offers of places to stay, cars to use, dinner, lunch and tea invitations. But now it's time for us to return home - to our little camper van that has given us so much pleasure. It's time for us to be alone and to try to build a new life without Mike, although his spirit will be with us always. We will be in Lima, Peru tonight, and are scheduled to fly to Cuzco to pick up our van tomorrow afternoon. The trip will not be the same as it might have been, and our TravelPod entries will no doubt be a bit subdued for awhile, but we thank you all for your patience, your support and your love.

Here is another beautiful poem to honour Mike. It was written by Debbie Luce, a friend and herb colleague in Manotick, Ontario:

In His Flight Path

A young life
so vibrant
promising
taken
in a second
We ask why?

Does not seem
fair, how could
this happen?
So much love,
hope,
a bright destiny
was his
we thought.

His flight path
may seem like
it has ended
but has it just
begun?
If we see his time
with us in all its
glory.

We can look
skyward
and see his star
shining back
for us to learn
from, admire
and take
comfort in.

Mike you
flew high,
were the best
pilot we knew
Dedicated,
meticulous.

You followed
your dreams
made them real
showed us all
it can be done.
You believed and
our beliefs
are stronger
for knowing you.
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