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EDDD 21: Travels To Alaska Home, Tangled In Ribbons

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“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” ― Rumi

It’s funny, but I think that you like the truth better than any tale I could weave, and I can weave some fanciful ones. But, surely it is the real heart and real emotion that we need the most…

Whether it’s, “Oh, my gosh, I never knew!”

or, “That’s just how I feel too!”

The best and worse of me, resounds in you. P.H. 2013

I just wrote that for you:>)

Traveling home is very different, on many levels, to each of us. It also changes with the reasons that we go home. Since 2007, there has been a different reason each time that I traveled home. My late husband, Paul, came up with the money for a ticket, and then insisted that I go that first time. The visit was initially to see my dad, who had a health scare, but then, also to make up with a family that I had distanced myself from for too many years. That was good. And hard. And it lightened my heart to have my reading, gardening, rolling- with- laughter mom back in my life.

Another visit to the north was a casual one, almost a vacation. Fishing in Homer with #1, a sister who took me everywhere when I was little, says I was HER baby! A long-time friend of hers verified the news. I made up with a sister that I hadn’t seen or spoken to in at least eight years, and made headway with another. I helped dad with his yard sales and listened raptly to tales from his childhood in Kentucky. I loved the way his faded southern accent peeked in and out of his reminiscing. Of course, mom and I reveled in working the garden together, and I, in watching her dance in front of the green house in her jammies, to the loud music coming from within. Joy.

In 2012, my visit was filled with pain and heart-ripping sorrow. My direct sorrow was laced with regret. The sister I had reunited with just eight months earlier, the sister who had been sending care packages of craft ideas and love ever since, the sister I’d been sharing texts and long-missed phone calls with, was gone. The gratefulness that we DID connect, didn’t come until much later. My secondary sorrow was the torture of witnessing how the loss hit my parents; the death of one of their seven, a crushing blow.

Then, too, the twin to my lost sister, their birthday is tomorrow, lost her literal other half. There are just no words for the pain I felt she must be suffering. Still suffers. Another sister was a close business and personal buddy with our lost one. Another sister was out of the country. The brothers stood by, strong shoulders for our tears. My heart tore in painful strips of crumpled, tear-stained ribbon. I tried to capture and identify my pain and soothe it, but the ribbons flew in all directions; my parents, our twin, each sibling, even dear friends who fed and flowered us so well. A tattered ribbon of pain from my husband’s death flew in, and tangled with the rest.

Our (now) single twin flew home, soon after the beautiful memorial, into the loving and healing arms of her husband and son in Arizona. When I flew back to my beach a few weeks later, the ribbons of pain flew behind the jet and tangled between my feet as I disembarked. They knotted in my hair as I walked the beach, searching for my lost loved ones. A little over a month later, a phone call; my mother is in the hospital, and so, I packed my ribbons of pain for another flight to Alaska.

The ribbons of pain were no longer filling every space in my parents home. But as I cared for mom, cooked, cleaned and organized, the ribbons fell from every drawer, cupboard and closet; still there, but moved aside to make room for daily living. The ribbons filled pillows that we rested our heads on each night. We used them to wipe away the tears that flowed, unbidden, from our eyes. I was there for over 4 months, which allowed special time with the four siblings who live near.

Eight months after the return to my Washington beach, I lost my 3 year-old grandson and the fresh ribbons of pain, added to the others, almost smothered me. My mother’s sister died October 1st, adding still another tangle of ribbons. I feel them right now. Those ribbons of pain make it hard to open Maggie’s door; my little RV cave is packed with them. I am safe, as long as I keep them away from my nose and mouth. I’ve accidentally swallowed a few and they almost choked me.

Mom is having hip surgery January 3rd, and a brother is having a potpourri of surgeries in the next few months. I fly out on the 2nd and spend the day in Juneau, the capital city that I have never been to. I look forward to walking up to the huge Mendenhall Glacier, that presents its blueish glory, just a few miles from the airport. There are other wonders close by that I hope to explore. Are you excited to see the photos? I am too! If you have a friend in Juneau who can give me a quick tour between 2 and 6 that day, please let me know.

I’ll be back to my beach in mid-May and I’ve promised to visit Mrs. M soon after. She’s doing well, by the way, and is doing outpatient PT now. I also have a long list of family and friends to visit on my return. Those ribbons that I’ve been writing about? They have been keeping me inside the sorrow of those lost loved ones, and not allowing me room to be with the loved ones who are alive. I know that. I’ve decided to drop them out the airplane on my way back from Alaska:>)

“Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.”
― Charles Dickens

Here’s a beach sunset from a few days ago. Enjoy, please:>)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Peace Out,

Patti

Every Damn Day? Who’s idea was this anyway? The culprit can be found here: Every Damn Day December at http://treatmentofvisions.com/2013/11/26/evdadadec/

Author: Patti Hall

Writer, daughter, sister, mom, niece, grani, and friend. Works-in-progress; 3 children's books, some poetry and a memoir series, "Souvenirs from My Heart." Pursuits of happiness include gardening, walking the beach, reading, writing, photography, traveling and genealogy. I am a widow (2009), lost my sis in 2012, my aunt and a precious grandson in 2013.

33 thoughts on “EDDD 21: Travels To Alaska Home, Tangled In Ribbons

  1. Those are a lot of losses in a pretty short time. Too many and I can only imagine how painful it must be for you. My deepest sympathies for all your travails.

  2. So sorry to hear of the losses you have suffered. May your memories keep you warm even through the coldest of winters. Thinking of you.

  3. I really feel for you Patti. So many devastating losses. I’m so sorry.
    I think those ribbons are really just memories that are getting tangled. If you can bear it, smooth them out, even iron them ( that’s like a swear word to me) and then fold them gently away to bring out when the raw emotion is over. I hope they will provide continuity of wonderful memories for you, internal pictures of loved one for you to enjoy without tripping you up.
    xxx I send Huge Hugs. Have a Wonderful Christmas if you can xxx

    • Thank you, David. You’ve had your own very recent devastating loss and my thoughts are with you during these hard holidays.
      I don’t even know what that 4-letter word means!!!! :>)
      I love the way you merged the ribbon analogy into one of healing.
      Warm hugs,
      Patti

  4. Beautiful sunset over the sea pics.
    Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place.”
    ― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever
    Sorry for your losses.

  5. Your pictures are lovely. As you suffer so many losses, do try and remember the good things about all of those people – keep them in your heart and their memories will live on. Hugs

    • Thank you, Pamela. Remembering them and the good things, is infused in most of my life and shared in many of my posts.
      I’m glad that you stopped in and hope that your holiday season is full of love and family and making memories:>)
      Hugs back,
      p

  6. What a wonderful metaphor. You have been through the refiners fire and are coming out a beautiful work of humanity. Enjoy your time in Alaska. Love you.

  7. You’re standing, dear Patti, and building a life on the inner knowledge brought by those losses. You know in your heart and gut how fleeting this world is and you also know its beauty made more precious by constant change (I think of this as I watch your slide show). I hope you have great internet connections in Alaska. I look forward to photos and reflections.

    • Yes, good AK internet, although they are having winter storm and have been without electricity all day today. Won’t be posting Every Damn Day, but hope to do a couple a week. And lots of snow photos!

  8. This is such a moving post Patti, weaving grief into a pattern of colour and beauty and love. I adore ribbons, the way they shine, their softness and radiant colours, the way they can be used to tie up a simple gift and make it look like a million dollars. Your losses are beyond anything I am able to imagine, so I can not claim to understand, but what I can reflect back from reading this post is how strong the current of love is that flows through this piece…all the coming together, the visiting, the supporting, the ‘feeding and flowering’ by friends (I just LOVE that expression!) And I admire and bless your wish to loosen, even release those ribbons, in order to delves into the gifts of the relationships with those who remain…and enjoy sunsets:-) Much love and blessings of the season to you, courageous talented friend.

    • Thank you Harula, my generous friend! You received so much of what I was sending through this post. While writing it I remembered that I had used ribbon as a metaphor in a friendship post also. It still fits; I so love to think of our connections as colorful, waving things. That is the image in my mind.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughtful, caring words. Warm hugs,
      P

  9. Oh my, Patti, so many losses. I love how you write…we can feel your raw pain and you are generous in sharing with us. Sending you warm tight Quebecois hugs for the holidays, Oliana xx

  10. Hey, you. I love your symbology of ribbons. It’s beautiful. It describes so well how we carry pain within us, and how the ribbons can choke us if we’re not careful. I’m glad you will release them on your trip to Alaska. You do need to make room for the living; they need you too. Much love to you and many, many hugs.

    • Thank you, Marie. You always make me smile with your caring and practical comments. Thanks for the hugs this morn, they are met with more for you. xo P

      • That was sneaky, turning comments off on the awards…but I have my ways:>) Thank you for your friendship these long months since I hopped on this WP journey, and there you were. I am very grateful for our WP bonds, and hope someday we can step out of the screen and meet in Real Life:>) I have a dream of doing a WP U.S. tour this summer, but we’ll see how Alaska goes…
        Also, I loved loved loved the way that you presented your awards…the photos, starting in your youth and moving to the beautiful crone was hilarious and brilliant. I was proud to be on that list of Marie’s WP family:>)
        Love & Hugs & Happy Holidays,
        Patti

      • Thank you so much, Patti! My apologies for the comments being disabled. I don’t know how that happened since I didn’t intentionally disabled them. Thanks so much for mentioning it since I’ve since corrected the error. Anyhooo, I’m so glad to call you friend and do hope that we get to meet face-to-face one of these days. In the meantime, have a great trip in Alaska. Hugs, Love, and Happy Holidays to you!

      • back at you, friend:>)
        Thought the comments off must have been a mistake…
        glad you fixed it. I’m sure others would like to thank you with more than a “like.” xo P

  11. Patti, God Bless you for being such a compassionate soul and for all your heart has endured! May the holiday season bring you new joys and happiness, Merry Christmas! xo

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