As I move forward without Megan, I can’t help but think about things we did and trips we took together. I want to be able to share those memories, and relive some of those places with Shelby, and Sarah as well. Just because Megan and I enjoyed going to a particular place together doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t also share that with someone else.
The trip I just took though was something entirely different. I’ve created a new memory with Sarah, without Megan, of someplace that was so obvious that it almost gives me a sense of guilt. I’m unsure how to reconcile that guilt...that feeling that I really should have done this with Megan. Not that I COULD have been there with Megan at the time, but that I SHOULD have done this with her before she died.
I had the opportunity to attend my second Camp Widow, in Toronto this past weekend. It was just as valuable as my first, back in February in Tampa. Perhaps there was much less anxiety about it, but I still gained new insights and met some really good people over the weekend, while being able to offer a bit of my own thoughts in a much more open manner than last time.
With that said, on Sunday, Kelley, Sarah and I travelled to a small park on the Northeast fringes of downtown Toronto together, took a walk to a rainbow bridge, and met some really interesting locals, I’ll let Kelley tell that story, because it's a good one in and of itself, and it's hers to tell. After we dropped her back at the hotel, Sarah and I hit the road and drove to Niagara Falls.
We had decided we would spend a night there in order to be a little closer to home, and to spend some time together for ourselves. We booked the hotel a few weeks ago, and came up with a few plans such as doing the Journey Behind the Falls and taking the Maid of the Mist to the base of the falls., It was going to be an easy 24 hours or so to just relax after the long weekend.
Niagara Falls is only about 3 hours from my home in Ohio. I’d been there a few times when I was young, but I hadn’t been there since I’ve been an adult. It was great to have Sarah there with me to share it with. We had a wonderful dinner on the rooftop of one of the large hotel towers on Sunday evening, and then went back to our room on the 43rd floor to marvel at the view of the falls.
What crept in over those few hours Sunday evening was a thought I didn’t expect. I started to feel a slight guilt that I had never brought Megan here. It wasn’t incredibly expensive, being outside of the main tourist season. It isn’t a far drive...we could have done this on a day trip even. It’s beautiful, and entertaining, and romantic, and just plain fun to be there.
I never took Megan. Over 12 years together, and not once did I say “Hey, let’s jump in the car this morning and go see the falls.”
Make no mistake, I didn’t want to be there with anyone other than Sarah at those moments, but just the same, I wished that I had been there with Megan in the past. I chose the picture of Sarah looking at the falls because you know what? Megan deserved to have that same picture taken at least once. We just got home a bit ago, and I’m still going over this in my head. It’s not grief, and it’s not a longing for Megan to be here right now.
I regret that something that would likely have been a minor weekend trip that we both would have enjoyed immensely wasn’t taken. We took the big vacations...California, Maine, Gatlinburg, etc., but we didn’t take this trip. Why? Even though it wouldn’t have kept her alive any longer, or made her less sick, it would have added one more happy memory to our time. I could have gotten to see the wonder in her eyes that I saw in Sarah's.
I enjoyed being there with Sarah so much that I felt guilty that I didn’t enjoy it with Megan at least once. We’ve already made plans to go back soon, taking Shelby this time, because it’s so obvious a place to go.
I guess I’m still learning that as many things as Megan and I did together, sickness be damned, that there were indeed a few easy things we forgot to scratch off of our lists. And you know what? I guess I just have to be OK with that. I’ll do my best to make sure to use Megan’s example of living life to the fullest when you can and where you can, and not sweating the small stuff.
Regret is kind of a useless emotion if you don’t turn it into future action.