When you read this, I will be somewhere in Europe. I will have already traveled to Paris. And, trust me, it is not lost on me that both Notre Dame and myself are under reconstruction. It is no coincidence.
When I lay my eyes on the Cathedral Notre Dame it will be actively undergoing reconstruction - just like me. And, like with any rebuild it will not go smoothly. I know this. There will be things that don't go according to plan. Best laid plans will need to be changed as they go. Accommodations will be made. Things will be changed and rearranged. Careful attention will be paid to keeping the integrity of the building. And, similarly, I am conscious that I should maintain a lot of the woman I was when Mike was alive. She was built solid. There is a lot of me that is salvageable. Just like Notre Dame, I am not altogether lost. I have survived the firestorm that is Mike's death. I am still standing just like the iconic Cathedral.
In both rebuilds, there will be improvements to the original. And , I expect there will be things lost too. It is what it is.
I always imagined going to Europe with Mike. I thought we had years of travel ahead of us. I thought we had both ordinary and extraordinary days ahead. But, then Mike died suddenly and unexpectedly. When he died all our hope and dreams died with him. But, here is the thing, Mike died, I did not. I have spent the last 2.8 years trying to make sense of this. There is no sense to be made.
I have tried to figure out what to do with my life as I live forward without him. And, I don't have all the answers. In truth, I have more questions than answers at this point. But, maybe when I return from my trip abroad I will have more clarity. It is likely I will arrive home with not just memories, but more questions and with more revisions to my life plan.
My future is nothing like I imagined it would be. And, I hazard to guess that your future is nothing like you imagined either. So, what do we do with this alternate life we have been forced to live? What are we meant to do? What are we supposed to do? I don't think there is are any hard fast rules here. We were hurled into widowhood with nothing but our instincts to guide us. We have been forced to make roughshod attempts at recreating our lives. We are taking stabs in the dark as we attempt to recreate ourselves. But, the important thing is that we are doing it.
I do not think that the answers I seek are necessarily found in Europe. But, they might be. The answers I seek might be found in a bistro in Paris. They may be in my coffee. Or for that matter, the answers I seek may be hiding at High Tea in London. Maybe the things I need to know will whisper to me as as I stand alone under the Eiffel Tower. Maybe the peace I seek will find me in Galway. Perhaps, a sense of contentment will find me in Dublin as I sit in a pub with new friends. Or, maybe the answers will come to me in the breeze that blows on my back as I stand in the Highlands of Scotland. I don't know. And, I have come to learn that, in life, it is best to not know what lies ahead.
I just have to continue to move forward strong on Mike's love. I have to reenter life again and this trip might just propel me toward something unexpected. Maybe I will become off kilter and when out of my comfort zone maybe life will rock me steady again. That is my hope.