I started a week ago driving from Detroit to Meghan’s cottage in Tobermory, Ontario. Its without a doubt not getting any easier the further I get from Meghan. The cottage is absolutely her favorite place on earth. It’s where she went to recoup and relax, to sort things out and to spend time with family. We spent every one of her birthdays there as long as I knew her and I’m fairly certain, every single one before I knew her. It was also where we were going to have our big wedding ceremony and reception. I knew what I was getting myself in to by going up there, but I also knew the pain would be slightly buffered by having our close friends with her family and mine this past week. None of this is getting any easier.
We spent the weekend doing things Meghan would’ve wanted to, playing board games, canoeing, drinking and talking. Saturday was the hardest. That was supposed to be the day of our ceremony. I spent as much energy as I could trying to keep my mind occupied and not think about it. I can’t decide what hurts more, to avoid thinking about something you know is there or to fully accept it for what it’s supposed to be. To pretend that everything is normal and that Saturday didn’t mean anything because it’s just another Saturday, or to take it head on. Go and sit under the tree where Meghan kept her hammock and where the ceremony was going to be. Let my imagination go and think about how she would’ve looked or how the day would’ve gone. I chose the former although im not convinced it was the wisest choice.
We went into town and wandered around for a bit, took pictures and in general tried to enjoy ourselves. We went to the lighthouse and saw a couple taking wedding pictures with all of their friends dressed up and milling around. That was pretty hard to see. Being jealous of people’s happiness is a strange thing to go through. It felt unfair. It still feels unfair that Meghan never got to be that girl having her picture taken in her amazing dress. I hate that I couldn’t make that happen for her somehow.
For me the trip took a nose-dive after that. It was so much fun and so great to have our friends there, but I couldn’t get over why we were there and what that week was supposed to mean. Everything hurt. Everything I do reminds me of, or makes me think about Meghan. I miss her so much. I want so badly to feel her next to me or just to hold my hand. I would give an appendage or any possession just to know and feel that she is still here in some capacity with me. So many friends and family have these experiences where they’re convinced the animal or butterfly or star is Meghan signaling to them that she’s still here, still a part of all of this. I would literally give anything for that. Just to feel and know in my heart that tie isn’t broken because
she isn’t physically here anymore. Anything. I don’t want to lose her or forget the small things about her that no one else knows. I want to stay attached. I want a deer to walk out of the woods and put something in my hand or for once in my life have a dream that I remember or one that has meaning where Meghan tells me something important. I’d love to believe in any and all of this. I’ve looked for reasons to believe this, but nothing happens ever. I still sleep poorly. I don’t have dreams that I remember. I don’t have amazing encounters with wildlife or nature or people. Everything continues as it was. I waiver between being depressed and trying to pretend that I’m fine and don’t feel anything.
All of the friends left late Sunday and I spent the rest of my time doing things alone. I went for a really great hike that I did two years before with Meghan and her family to a secluded swimming spot. It was definitely refreshing mentally and not altogether sad. Its hard coming to terms with being alone. Its like these things we used to do are somewhat nice but don’t really bring me any closure or closer. I have to move forward and move on to come to any sort of
rationalization of everything that happened. If I stay where I am, or where I was, Ill never be able to deal with it all.
I left the day before Meghan’s birthday mostly because I was scared to be at the cottage for it. I knew I couldn’t handle her not being there, not waking me up in the morning to play scrabble with her or giving her presents or having her grandmother sing her happy birthday. That’s been the hardest part, the things that should be. The big and the small that Meghan should still be here for. We spent her birthday doing things that she liked to do around St. Catharine's; exercising, drinking gin 'n tonics, hiking, Japanese food, her favorite pub and then going to bed early. It was somehow easier to not be sad there. The place was still full of memories of and with her, but this was easier than the cottage. I'm not entirely sure what the difference is.
I left the following morning to drive to New Jersey to pick up a friend and then head down to my home in DC. I felt like a character in a Kerouac book. A seemingly random long list of events and people that blur together and never lose speed. It just keeps going. This is endless. The world keeps going. It never slows down because of how sad you are or how awful something that happened to you is. You don’t get breaks. You can’t rest. Fighting the current only makes you want to give up, it makes it all seem hopeless and worthless. You have jump in headfirst and without a paddle. I think Meghan understood this and that’s what kept her going. She knew slowing down, stopping, or wallowing in despair would only wear her out and keep her from her
goals. She didn’t stop because she knew going against the grain was worthless in this respect. It's important to embrace these seemingly impossible things in life. It's important to set your sights well beyond what you think you’re capable of accomplishing. Achieve a goal and make the next step twice as big as the first. Don’t save any energy for the return trip. There might not be one.