My mother was born to travel. She loved maps—with a passion—she loved history and art. I think above all her passion, she loved traveling with family—teaching, sharing, digging deeper, pointing out the details and savoring all the textures together.
My dad was the driver and the leader of all vertical assents to see the world from the highest vantage point on our travels. All the while he would exclaim, “Das is wunderbar!” or he’d mix English and German to declare, “This is wunderbar!” While my mom pointed out he fine details, my dad would be so overwhelmed with pleasure of being right where we were, with each other, and experiencing it together that he would repeatedly ask, “Isn’t this wonderful?” The answer was always yes.
My childhood memories are steeped heavily in the family experience of travel. So much so that even thinking of a city can bring back the sounds of my mother excitedly teaching the history of the very ground we stood on and I can still feel the energy of my father’s joy.
Sometimes you forget how deeply rooted a memory in your heart until it sneaks up on you out of blue. The sad reality is that even all these years after losing my mom—a memory can still drop me to my knees. There are some places that are so heavily woven with memories that the sheer thought of those streets ignites powerful memories and illuminates the void.
Mourning is a process—a long one with complicated twists and turns. In the early years you expect the void to swallow you up sometimes, but as time passes the void becomes so familiar that it can at times sneak up on you in unexpected ways. The key is to process the fresh experiences of mourning—to acknowledge that it is simply part of the journey. You can’t sit it out—you must walk forward and give yourself the room to cry—even sob if fresh mourning brings your back there anew.