August 6, 2017
This past July, part of me was left in Ontario, Canada. I look at my photographs from this very important family trip almost every day, but writing more about it and sharing here will take an extra toll on my emotions. There is so much to say about this trip though, it challenged me in unexpected ways, and it changed me. Today I woke up having had just a few short hours of sleep. Some days don’t want to end for me, and putting my head down on the pillow and closing my eyes feels like I’m giving in to the turning off of my reality. To remind you, my reality is that my husband died from cancer exactly ten months ago as of today. That one-year anniversary is coming up fast. Next month, September 6, is our wedding anniversary and it would have been a celebration of our 20th. Now it’s also going to be a date marking eleven months since he died. I’m on a space-time continuum journey every day in my mind, and the fractal of my life itself continues to curl and uncurl in its patterns. I’m trying to keep up with all of it.
In my moment of calm in the present, I’m looking at the first group of pictures that start the beginning of my trip to Canada. Here they are now, captions will do for the writing. ~P.
Sunset – To Chicago We Go
My daughter is driving. This sunset is pulling us out of Michigan, a guiding star of sorts to begin our journey. The road construction never seems to end, no matter the season. There were endless trips to and from Chicago for his chemo treatments. Every bump in the road reminds me of this, and each one causes me to tense my muscles, trying to brace for the next one. There’s no going around them, only through.
There are few states that take their weather so seriously, Minnesota is near the top of that list. Beautiful wooden beams, taxidermy on display, and weather radar at a glance have brought back a wave of memories. We were all seated at a large round table here. It is difficult for me to swallow my food, my emotional state did not allow it, my napkin is scrunched up in my hand, at the ready for those tears that continue to spill out.
Rainy River – Border Crossing
I brought my husband’s death certificate and our marriage license in case there was any question of my traveling as a single parent. My children are constant reminders that my life with him was real, they are the “living proof” of it.
Dock – Lake of the Woods
I am here. I am smiling, only on the outside. Just keep moving, I tell myself. The car has been unloaded, the boat has been loaded. We will soon depart for our final island destination.
Ontario, Canada – Kenora Thistles
I found this scene at the dock where I parked my car. Somehow this trailer looks more like a tombstone to me. I had never heard of the Thistles, so I took this picture for later research. The Kenora Thistles were an amateur team who won the Stanley Cup in 1907 verses the Montreal Wanderers. Kenora was the smallest town of a mere 4,000 people in 1907 to ever claim the Stanley Cup. It seems their legacy is in part now located at a boat dock in between a blue wooden trailer building and the beginnings of a scrap heap.