I walked to give myself time to check back into my life, and find a way forward. As I have shared, in the past few years, my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, endured treatment after treatment,surgeries, clinical trials, and died at home, with his beloved Dylan and Margot at his side. Neal was larger than life, brilliant, kind, and so damn fun.
During his illness, and in the 2 years since, our family has pulled together in every possible way to take care of him and each other. Now, when I was young and had so much to learn, I thought of family as my brothers and sisters, maybe a cousin or three. As Neal and I grew our lives, the idea of family changed. He brought his parents, brothers and their kids into our mix, of course. But then, Neal had his other family, the Ladera Boys, friends since kindergarten in Inglewood, California. And Neal and I, along the way made friends that became our family, too. My dear mom/friend Rita , years ago, pulled me aside, and with love and pride, told me how rich our lives were, with the good people we had around us. Rita has been that person, who loves us, and provides counsel, when needed, and support always, and she tends to be right!
This group of family and friends made it possible for our version of the Gorrin family to keep our heads above water, during and after Neal's illness. And, while walking and walking, I have cried my way through grief, through gratitude, and, literally, passed by the homes of so many of these dear friends who cared for us. Which leads back to gratitude always.
So, this walk in the woods! Might I recommend this type of adventure to anyone reading this? Yes, I might! And do.
Pilgrimages, retreats are ancient rituals, and, while for years I would admire those determined people who would go to a 10 day silent retreat in India, or fast for Ramadan, or climb mountains, I was pretty sure that I wasn't built for such a commitment.
I was wrong. I just needed to find the right retreat for me.
And, I was already there, with everything I needed. If ruby red hiking boots were available in my size, I would be clicking my heels together right about now... " There is no place like home"
Buen Camino my friends.