Not that there’s a chance in hell I will truly “heal” during this week–but I had always told L and everyone else that once he died I would go off on my own for awhile. The reactions to this were mixed–L was in full support of the idea and we spent some time considering where I might take this little retreat. Others were stunned–“A whole week?” “By yourself?” Others were “helpful”–“Maybe I could come with you.” “You should call ____ as long as you’re there–have lunch, see a movie.”
A number of options for location came to mind–I had always told L that if the timing was right I would return to Nantucket where I spent several days (yes, alone) one autumn researching a novel. But it’s June–high season on the island so not a good choice. New York came to min d for both L and me because he knew how I love it there and the truth is that I will be going to NYC later this summer–perhaps that will be phase 2 of this whole healing thing.
In the end I settled on Madison and the University by the lake. I woke up one morning thinking about a writers’ retreat I had always thought of attending–one L had encouraged me to attend. It fills up fast and I was a latecomer to the party but I decided that if there was a spot for me plus a room at my favorite place to stay in Madison it was meant to be. The answer was YES to both and here I am.
I arrived late this afternoon, got settled in and then took a walk on State Street. Our favorite restaurant has closed and that made me a little sad as I recalled the times L and I sat at a little bistro table on the sidewalk eating our lunch or supper and enjoying the passing parade. I also checked out the performing arts center half hoping for a play but nothing is scheduled–L and I always attended a play when we made our annual trek to Madison each summer. There are other theatres and I will check them out as well. I stopped at a shop that does ‘readings’ and scheduled a tarot reading for Thursday–more on that later in the week. I came back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then headed to the Memorial Union for supper.
The Rathskeller has changed for the better–instead of pre-packaged salads and sandwiches plus a grill, etc. they now have a limited menu. You order get a pager and pick up your food when the pager beeps–much more efficient!! I ate on the terrace with a great view of the lake. IKt was hot and humid but no bugs and eventually it cooled down. I made some calls and did some prep work for the class tomorrow and then got an ice cream–chocolate peanut butter (L’s favorite) and walked back to hotel. And all I wanted to do next was to call L and tell him all that I had seen and done today as I did any time I traveled without him.
And that is the hardest part of any day–that moment when I have to face all over again the fact that he is not there…that I cannot call…that while I have friends who are incredible and a family that is there for me, I do not have HIM.
Was this a mistake? Not sure. All I knolw right now is that it is much harder than I thought it would be…and I still have to walk the lake path and scatter his ashes….more tomorrow.