Going Back Home

Ripping off the biggest bandaid

Photo by Ozzie Stern on Unsplash

Ten days from now I am heading to the Chicago area. Home. The place where the vast majority of my most treasured moments occurred.

This is it. The BIG BANDAID I need to rip off. I have never been so conflicted in my life. I’m looking forward to seeing many loved ones. I also know I will be surrounded by Nancy’s presence everywhere I go. I will see her in the faces of my children. My daughter is her mini-me.

This may surprise some of you. At my advanced age, I have never been on a road trip alone. Prior to meeting my wife I traveled cross country with friends. She and I had hit the road ten times. I have no pretenses this is going to be easy.

It will be one of the hardest things I have done in my life.

I also know it is something I have to do in this venture of self-discovery. I’ve already learned that grief does fade in time. It is replaced by its cousin, emptiness. The sense of loss. How do you replace such a large part of the person you’ve become? I have no clue.

I do know that my family and friends will be supportive and understanding if and when things get tough. I am intentionally going to make it get tough. To visit all the trigger spots in an attempt to have great memories overshadow the loss I will be simultaneously feeling.

Ripping off that bandaid.

As I write this I wonder if I am ready for this. Or if I’ll ever be ready for this. And I just got my answer…no. So I might as well get it over with. Take one more step into a most uncertain future. I look at it this way. I have a good chance I will be laughing more than crying. That is certainly an upgrade.

Thanks to all who have been following me on Medium for being my sounding board over this past year. My gratitude is boundless.

Note: This trip will likely keep me from spending much time on Medium. Again. Don’t give up on me. I have already promised myself to get back to serious writing and reading after this trip. Wish me luck.

© 2022 Joe Merkle All rights reserved

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