Last night Chelsea beat Benfico 2-1 in the UEFA Europa League Final. I watched it from a hotel room in Utrecht and the game was played just a short train ride away in Amsterdam Arena, where just 10 months ago Mack and I watched Ajax beat the Celtics 4-0.
Needless to say, I got choked up, quite a bit. Not because I was rooting for Chelsea to win (I was, Torres scored the first goal and I know that Mack would have worn his Torres Chelsea kit to school today were he still with us). Traveling and being away from family is never easy, but being alone when you are grieving makes things even worse. Most of the time business trips are just that, business and they keep you busy. This trip has been no exception. It is when you are back in the hotel room that the loneliness of it all comes crashing down.
Mack was and always will be a part of me (and of each and every family member and friend). I am a bit soppy anyway and even before he died I would miss E and the kids terribly when I traveled. Now travel just exacerbates the pain of being apart from him. I think the times I have felt his absence most keenly is in gift shops. I would always get each child something from a trip, for Mack it was always a keychain and for Izzy usually a snow-globe (now it is hoodies). My first few trips this new year I could almost forget our loss. Then I would stand there looking at the rows and rows of keychains and think of which Mack would like…and then realize I don’t need to get him one (and then I would get one anyway).
If you are still reading this, thank you. If you are still reading, it means that you either care for us or are hurting yourself. I have tried not to put too much of my grieving on this site, on the other hand so many have expressed their gratitude for this sharing and at times I need to get out what I cannot keep in. I hope it is helpful to you, I know it is for me, so thank. But I try and have a point to my sharing as well.
In this case (and I feel this to be true most of the time) I am merely stating the obvious, but when we are apart from one we love, we need to also remember that they remain a part of us, no matter whether the distance is geographic or temporal. It is this painful paradox of mourning that I need to remember Mack, holding him, calling him to dinner, reading stories to him in bed, and this brings me so many tears, yet it also brings me closer to him, keeps him a part of me.