Okay, I took a big leap off this healing journey that I am on and left the country for the holidays, or Christmas, whatever sentiment makes you happy. I was looking for some time off, some downtime to figure out what happened in 2005, try to figure out what's in store for 2006. I *know* I'll never be able to make sense out of what happened in 2004, but that is not anything I can change. Ken's never coming home and I miss him ALOT!
Mexico in late December is definitely a place to go to try to forget about your troubles and think warm thoughts. I am grateful for the friends in my life. And that includes friends I have not met (I know you are out there) I am grateful that I live in the good old U S of A, but thanks to this administration, it is hasn't been too easy to be proud of what our country stands for these days. It's kind of like a recalcitrant child. You love them because they are your child, but sometimes you sure don't like them very much.
I was in a part of Mexico where the shoreline is not really meant for strolling, but the pounding of the surf and watching the waves is kind of comforting in a mindless way. I find when I am at home, that going to the beach and yelling at the waves, at God, at the sky, or whoever and whatever will listen to my pain sometimes helps. No one can really hear me, but I know God can. I don't know the answer to "Why?" and I'm not likely to find out, at least not in this lifetime. In Mexico, those waves beckoned for me. I wanted to scream and cry at the shoreline just like at home, but it was too foreboding this time. I knew if I ventured near the waves that I just might not stop....crying.... or I just might not stop. It was fear that kept the sorrow inside this time. No worries for me, I know the sorrow is there just waiting and maybe someday, I will feel safe enough to let it out. Or maybe it's a control issue. Sorrow so close to the surface is toxic, I think.
Palm trees swaying in the breeze, the sound of mariachis in the distance, blue-blue skies without a cloud in sight, the blazing sun and a midnight sky full of stars and a full moon...it all sounds idyllic. I was able to clear my mind, do some reading and get lots of sleep.
Christmas will never be the same. The thing is Christmas was the last time I saw Ken back in 2002. I remember the excitement of that homecoming. We knew that a deployment to Iraq was likely. He was about ready to graduate from Officers Advanced Basic and then head off to Germany and his first post as a young Lt. I knew that Germany was Army code for "one step closer to the desert". I *knew* Ken was going to Iraq and to war, but we didn't talk about it. We just spent time together as a family; Ken's cousins, aunts, grandparents and me. We gambled in Reno, we relived all the family traditions we have gathered through the years. We opened our Christmas stockings and our gifts. If only I knew it was the last time we would have together. There are so many memories of that Christmas and then the next one from Iraq when Ken sent me a photo of him in a Santa cap. In photos from Iraq, Ken generally had a smile on his face. He always seemed to make the best of things, regardless. So many smiles, so many memories.
I found that it's easy to run away from home for the holidays but it isn't that easy to get away from this new normal that is my life.