Sunday, June 15, 2014

All the Way Back

I'm Back. This year's annual migration was more difficult because there was a death at the centre of it. If you've read previous posts, you know my brother passed away after a long struggle with Alzheimers. So back this year took on a whole new meaning with re-entry struggles on both sides of the pond.

Back in the US I once again picked up the roles/titles that had at one time seemed such a burden--an assault on my independence. I became again 'Mike's sister.' It hurt and it felt too big for me, which was more of my own personal metaphor than the role, but I picked it up with the heartfelt wish that some part of my brother lived on in me.

And then I picked up the mantle of 'Kate's mom'. I have always been proud of that one, but now that she is past her own need for self-assertion, we can both be happy with it. And there is such pleasure in having your daughter grow up and be like you and different in interesting ways and to have the luxury of good time together.

It was as hard to leave First Home this time as it has ever been, and the flight to Second Home seems longer and harder each time.

This year I came back North step wise. A lesson learned years ago when a steep ski slope threatened to send me into a panic attack and used again just the other day on a steep slope with poles but no skis. Once I knew I had successfully made my last connection with the train at Perth, I fell asleep on the train. Last year I had spent the night in Glasgow before coming North, which was even lonelier because I was between homes and all alone. The year before I fell asleep too soon and missed my last connection. Like Goldilocks, this year I got it right. My husband was there at Inverness and he had booked a hotel with tartan carpeting and a big old fashioned bath tub. This time, I fell asleep in the tub, but woke when the water cooled down.

The next day we took the long way home: instead of the A9 (aka Killer) Highway that the government proposes to 'fix' by installing average speed cameras, we came over the struie. The struie, the former main road before the world outgrew it, provided a welcome return. Whatever faults this country has, the scenery is the balm in Gilead.