Tomorrow I am flying home (my Nashville home, that is). When traveling back to the States to visit family and friends I always refer to it as flying home, but when I leave I say that I am flying home to England. I have learned from years of living abroad that home is much more people than places. Terry was my home here in England and my family are my home in the States.
The school year ended last Friday and whereas in previous years there is a childlike giddiness associated with six long weeks of summer, this year I’ve felt a bit flat since that last school bell sounded. Even with my lovely summer plans, I am not excited this summer as it is the first of many without Terry. Summer in the past has been full of lie-ins and lazy mornings spent in front of the TV with a cup of coffee; often Terry would come home from work to find me still in my PJs. DIY projects that I didn’t have time to undertake during the school year were relegated to the summer where I would present them to Terry when he came home from work. Since the school year ended I have spent time with friends going to beer festivals, local parks and out for lunch; I have completed three three mile runs as I continue to train for my half marathon and yet I do all of this without Terry and it feels a bit hollow. It feels very hollow, like some sort of mock summer. It looks like summer but I can’t make myself feel like summer. It’s sad to think of how happy my previous summers have been and to realise that this summer, like so much of this past year, is about survival and little else.
Tomorrow morning I will get a taxi to the town centre where I will catch a bus to London Heathrow for my flight at a stupid hour of the morning because Terry isn’t here to drive me to the airport as he always did. Then I will arrive at Heathrow for the first time ever without my gorgeous husband; our airport – the one that saw us through five years of international dating. The one that Terry always complained about the ongoing construction because it made his eyes water. I really should write them a letter, he would say as he wiped his eyes with his sleeve and sent me on my way to wherever I was off to on that adventure. I would smile and wave him goodbye, counting the days until I would see him again. Tomorrow I will not wave him goodbye, nor will I count down the days until I will see his beautiful smile again when he picks me up. When I was younger, airports meant adventure, jetting off to exciting new places. As I grew older, airports became an important aspect of Terry and my relationship as the place where we would say goodbye for a period of time and also where we would be reunited. Now airports are just buildings fully of happy memories that make me sad.
Nonetheless, tomorrow I will brave Heathrow airport for the first time since Terry died to fly from one of my homes to another. I will travel internationally for the first time since that awful day in September to spend five weeks in the states with family and friends. How exciting! everyone at work told me, when I mentioned my summer plans and on paper they are exciting, but I approach them with a heavy heart. I am lucky to get to spend five weeks in the States this summer and lucky to have such loving family and friends to spend time with. I am lucky in a lot of ways, but this trip will be difficult in ways that I may not even anticipate.
I am undecided as to whether or not I will post on this blog while in Nashville. If I don’t, you will hear from me when I return at the end of August, ready for a new school year to begin.