My heart sinks as I walk out of my childhood home and get into the rental car taking me, Carl’s ashes, Adyn and our friend Pat back to Denver. San Antonio. I will never think of you the same way again. You will be the place I saw the clouds break when I was holding Carl in my arms and I burst into tears so loud I thought my head would burst open.
You were warm and muggy with mosquitos biting me as I walked outside the Hospice Facility to drown out the inevitable. You were the warm arms that embraced me the minute I stepped outside after Carl died.
Now I am heading back to Denver where a rental home waits for me with un packed furniture and pictures to hang to make the house into a home. A home where Carl was supposed to come back from Tijuana to heal and remain with me through his Cancer recovery. A home where we would live.
But now my heart aches because I am leaving my son in San Antonio to tie up loose ends and then drive up with the dogs so we can all be together in this mindless time.
I am heartbroken on so many levels that tears flow so easily now and the ache in my chest does not seem to go away. Adyn, her friend Pat and myself take off in the rental car, and wave goodbye to Nathan. I can’t help but feel crushed and then I think of Nathan and how he must feel not being able to come with us. The drive is good. Pat talks about everything he can to keep our minds busy. He plays music then podcasts and all the while he keeps the conversation lively and fresh. He is our compass in this dark time. He knows how to entertain us and takes a lot of pictures to memorialize our time together. He is by all means the best distraction we could ask for as we make the 1000 mile drive to get to Denver.
We stop frequently and I can’t help but feel physically strange. Something is not right. It is not until later I realize that sitting in the backseat takes me right back to the plane ride with Carl. I wonder if it will always be this way?
We stop in a small Texas town and Adyn and I decide we should eat Whataburger one last time before crossing into New Mexico. We want to get one last Whataburger before leaving Texas. Pat decides to be THAT customer and order a neapolitan milkshake, ummm there is no neapolitan so guess what, they give him Strawberry. I crack up. Don’t Mess with Texas, Pat!
We drive on into New Mexico and the land becomes less flat and more mountainous. Our drive into Santa Fe is beautiful, one of Carl and my favorite destinations. I am still trying to figure out this “life without Carl thing.” I am wondering if I will ever go anywhere and not think about Carl?
We settle into our hotel rooms, and Adyn jumps into bed with me. We warm our bodies next to each other almost to remind ourselves it is just us two. We get some rest and then wake early in the morning to continue our journey.
We decide to eat at a recommended restaurant, which ends up being way better than anyone wrote about. It was delicious. And get back into our car, gas up, and head into Colorado. Another 6 hours and we are back in Denver. Here we come. Ready or not.