So, I have a travel blog. You may have noticed this, since you’re currently reading it. The thing is, right now I’m not travelling. I’m sure that I will be again soon enough, but for the time being, I’m grounded here in Port Alberni, with no pending trips on the horizon (scary – let’s not dwell on that).
So, what to do with this here blog? Many people have encouraged me to keep writing – I get a lot of really great feedback from other travellers, and I’m so thrilled that it’s actually being used as a resource – but if I were to keep writing, what would I write about? I’m just… here. Living my boring Canadian life. I’ve made a post here and there about Ebola, some pretty pictures of the island, and my brief visit to Mexico, but nothing that really lives up to the excitement and allure of the Iron Ore train in Mauritania, or endless struggles with culture and language in Francophone West Africa. And posting non-travel stuff on a travel blog just seems sorta… wrong?
But as it turns out, despite all that… I still really like this outlet for my life. And while I don’t really have a focus (because my life doesn’t really have a focus), I might just keep posting about what speaks to me. My plans aren’t working out, and I’m trying to figure out what to do next, but it’s still really nice to have a space for me to write. It might not be very exciting, or immediately useful, but I hope that anybody who has been keeping up doesn’t mind if I begin to digress into more mundane things, like vegan food, yoga, and… more Ebola (it’s inevitable). Also, a shameless plug: if you do happen to be on-board for that, here’s a reminder to please sign up for email notifications when I post… 😀 (“They” tell me that email subscriptions are the key to traffic, and traffic is the key to “success”, so maybe one day I can be “successful” ;))
And with that out of the way, I’m about to get personal. It’s on my mind, and writing has always been one of my top ways of processing emotions. So, here we go.
Normally, I am not a TV-watching kind of person. The only show I’ve ever actually “watched” was the 2 seasons of Flight of the Conchords (long after it was off-air). Since 2005, I’ve only spent a couple brief periods of time where I actually had a TV (mostly just when I move home with my dad, such as now). But I love movies, and while I was away, I really missed watching stuff.. Western stuff. I did see that one film in French and didn’t understand a thing, so that didn’t really satisfy the craving. And then I got the idea that when I got home, I would start watching the show ER, from the beginning.
Why ER, you ask? Well, it reminds me of my mom. It was the show that she watched. Thursday nights at 10pm, I still remember. Yes, that’s late for a 10 year old, but eventually, I was allowed to stay up late enough to watch it, and I did manage to follow a few seasons with her.
So, I’ve been watching. It’s a great show! I remember characters here and there, and get totally sucked in to all the twists and turns. I’m in tears at least every other episode. So I 100% get why she loved it; she was a nurse, after all. But I just passed the point where she would have last watched. Next I’ll be in Fall of 2001 and it’s just me. She’ll never know what happened to Abby and Carter.
So maybe that’s been on my mind. Or maybe it’s just that I think of her when I’m stuck in life and need some guidance. Or maybe I’m turning 27 tomorrow and it’s just another year where she’s not here with me.
Either way, it occurs to me that in a few months, I will have officially spent half of my life with my mother, and half of it without her. And that makes me excruciatingly and inexpressibly sad. It makes me feel as if someone is standing on my chest, and I can’t breathe. I’ve gone through periods where I’ve been fine, and other periods where I’ve been not. And right now, I can’t think about it without risking a breakdown (so yes, I’m risking it as we speak). I have to stop writing once in a while, because I can no longer see the screen.
But it’s a fact. It’s 13.5 years on either side of the equation. Essentially, it’s the entirety of my adult life. And increasingly, I realize that I never really knew her, and there’s no way that I ever really will. And that each significant life event will be one that passes without this woman, my mom, who should be my lighthouse, my lifeboat, and the oars that give me strength to keep moving, no matter the weather.
But she’s not. She’s in my memories, as faded as the few photographs I have, and that’s all that I have today.
Pause. Deep breaths.
Yet I am thankful. I am very lucky, and so very grateful for the strong and amazing women I do have in my life, who act as those beacons for me; those familiar faces, voices, and embraces that I have grown to love.
As I grow older, I am able to appreciate them fully, realizing just how great an impact these women have had on my life. They may not even realize it, and sometimes neither do I, until I am dropped into a family and realize I’m a little part of it. With people who don’t have to ask questions, they just know who I am. These mothers, who gave me their love when I needed it the most, by just being there, doing their mom-things, and letting me be there, too. And for that I am so thankful.