Well…so much for THAT idea – of blogging while on the roadtrip to California! Ter and I were far too busy seeing the sights, having a hoot, eating copious amounts of food and driving, driving, driving to actually sit down and write very much
We are now back in Washington and will be heading towards Port Angeles today to catch the ferry to Victoria.
Here are a few highlights from the past 2 weeks:
- Spent the 10th anniversary of John’s death – Wed Sept 29th – quite literally sitting on top of a sand dune in Honeyman State Park, near Florence, Oregon. The day was hot and sunny and the hike to the top of the dune was so steep at times that I had to crawl on my hands and knees. Soda was huffing and puffing behind me…but we made it! I felt FABULOUS…strong, happy, at peace, free and very appreciative of having had so many great times with John – and so many other people, too. My sister-in-law, Tracy, was right all those years ago…the time does come when memories can sustain.
- Went to San Francisco and met up with Katie and Erica for dinner in Salsalito. Ter and I met Katie and Erica 9 years ago while traveling in Morocco, when the four of us took the overnight train to Marakkesh! So it was great fun meeting up again and getting all caught up on our lives. Ter and I also met up with Cory, a friend of mine from Calgary, and had yet another delicious meal by the sea. Ter loved seeing the Haight-Ashbury district – home of the hippies and vintage clothing shops.
- Ate a delicious dinner in Carmel and then drove south to San Simeon where Hearst Castle is. Wow!! The castle is stunning and HUGE…and we only saw about 25% of what there is to see. The two pools were definitely the highlight for me.
- Drank our way through Napa Valley, including a winding trek to the out-of-the-way Pope Valley Winery because when in Rome…and we were rewarded by meeting a delightful antelope (guy in gazelle-speak) there by the name of David. I bought 3 bottles
- Returned to Newport, Oregon as both Ter and I absolutely LOVE the place! We’ll for sure return to Newport in the not too distant future to actually get some writing done…hahahahha
- On a final note, Sable and Soda are not only still alive, they are actually doing very well and seem to be thoroughly enjoying all the new sniffs. I find Sable to be rather extraordinary, truth be told, because not only is she blind and pretty much deaf, she also turned 13 on the trip. I hope I’m that easygoing when I hit my nineties!
Maryanne, Sable, Soda and Ter
September 29th, 2010 – Newport, Oregon
Well, hello and a happy Wednesday to you!
Today’s THE day…the 10th anniversary of John’s death. I guess I must have done something right over the past decade because instead of sorrow, loss or regret, what I mostly feel this morning is…gratitude.
If someone had told me on Sept 29th, 2000, that ten years from now, I would be this damn happy, would I have believed them? Yes, I would have, actually. Because I knew that, even in the depths of that initial agony, things would, one day, get better again. I was going to make damn sure of that.
What I didn’t know, thankfully, was just how difficult that journey would be at times…and also that things were going to get a heck of a lot worse before they started getting better – in terms of the hurt, I mean.
But that part of the journey is over.
At the moment, I am in Newport, Oregon, listening to the pounding surf outside our hotel window. Ter and I went for dinner last night at Georgie’s restaurant just down the road. I mention this because my mom and I ate at this restaurant about eight years ago and I remember vividly two things about that night: 1) the crab! and 2) the sunset…it was so spectacular that, I kid you not, once the sun finally dropped down past the horizon, the entire restaurant broke out into applause!
This morning, Terri, Sable and Soda and I are getting ready to hit the road again. Today we’re headed to Florence, Oregon to see the sand dunes. In particular, we’re going to seek out the Honeyman Campground and hopefully access the dunes from there. I have a great picture of John standing on top of one of those massive sand dunes. He’s leaning into the wind, arms wide open…an image of freedom if I ever saw one. I think that shot was taken on a roadtrip we took down here when we were living in Abbotsford – before we were married.
Speaking of freedom, that’s another feeling I am experiencing today. But that’s connected to the gratitude.
I am grateful both for the gifts and lessons John’s life gave me – love/tough love, perseverance, dedication, commitment, passion – as well as the many gifts and lessons his death gave me, which includes financial freedom. Because of the person he was, the relationship we had and what he did for a living, it ended up that his death gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream of writing…which gave me new life.
That’s pretty powerful stuff in the love department – and I am eternally grateful
Gotta run…the road is waiting!
Maryanne, Sable, Soda & Ter
Well, these next 10 days are gonna be interesting! I will do my best to blog fairly regularly about the road trip I’m about to embark upon…but the blogs won’t be the usual somewhat-articulate articles that I try to write (by spending hours on!). Instead, this will be writing that’s more on the fly because I’ll be on the road…writing as I go!
Here’s the scoop:
My friend Terri and I – and my dogs, Sable and Soda – are heading south, driving down the west coast of the States. We’ll be starting in White Rock, BC and then crossing the border into Washington, then driving down the Oregon Coast and into Northern California. Our ultimate destination is the Hearst Castle at San Simeon.
In 1996, John and I did a trip similar to this for our honeymoon. We had a riot! We made it as far as Big Sur, south of San Francisco, before we ran out time and had to turn back.
We were both big fans of Citizen Kane, the famous film by Orson Welles. The film “examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a character based upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Welles’ own life” (Wikipedia).
So John and I wanted to see the famous Hearst Castle (in San Simeon) on that trip because there are some pretty classic scenes in Citizen Kane that were based on that castle (the film wasn’t actually shot at Hearst Castle – in fact William Randall Hearst was, apparently, none too impressed with the reference to his life!).
Anyway, John and I were oh so close to San Simeon but didn’t quite make it…so Terri and I are now completing that journey thirteen years later!
Also, both John and I – and my mom – LOVED the Oregon Coast (not that my mom, John and I were ever there together…oh no, no!) so I think that, if all goes well, Terri and I will be on a sand dune somewhere near Florence, Oregon on Wed Sept 29th – the 10th anniversary of John’s death.Very cool!
Another bit of Maryanne-history for you: Terri and I met back in 1992 while traveling in Indonesia. We traveled again together to Morocco in 2001…she’s the one I went to the Sahara Desert with. In June. When it was fifty flippin’ degrees celsius! That didn’t end well…but I digress.
For THIS roadtrip, as our guide I will be referring to Cameron Tuttle’s classic, The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road. It’s oh so cheeky!
For the record, Terri and I will not be using Eat, Pray, Love as our guidebook…more on this later
However, before embarking on the vacation part of the journey, I am first making a pit stop in Vancouver to do a speaking gig at the BC Lower Mainland Victim Services Conference.
My presentation is called Behind the Scenes; A Grief Deconstructed. It’s one the more difficult presentations for me to give (but not THE most difficult…more on THAT later, too!) because I am so damn candid about the psychological, emotional and impacts John’s death had on me.
The purpose of this presentation is to give those amazing people working in victims services a powerful ‘insider’ look at how I responded to a tragic event. Everyone handles shock, grief, denial, loss, tragedy etc in different ways, of course, but the anguish, hurt and vulnerability are very basic human responses when forced to accept the unacceptable – whatever that might be.
At any rate, I will do my best to keep in touch over the coming days with snippets from the road…till then, take care!