Grace

51. Take that trip

My grief coaching clients always remind me about what matters most in life. Loss has a way of putting into sharp focus what’s important. Everything else falls away. These are some of the gifts that the grief brings you.

I had a full schedule from morning until

evening with widows and orphans. The message, again and again that echoed through “Migi’s Room” today : “I’m so glad we took that vacation…” or “I’m so grateful we decided to go on that trip.” For most of my clients the vacation that was planned on the spur of the moment, or the dream getaway that took years to come into fruition, would be, their last trip as a couple, or a final trip with a beloved parent.

I’ve learned, that if your pocket can afford it (but sometimes your rational mind will tell you to hold off ), and your heart tells you to go, you better go. Don’t wait. Don’t postpone. It’s better to say “I’m grateful we had that time together,” rather than say, “I wish we hadn’t put off that trip, now it can never be.”

In the summer of 1997, my son was three years old. He had just had surgery the year before to put a stent so that his little heart would beat better. We had contemplated on whether he was strong enough to manage the trip to see Sea World, and Universal Studios. He did. And so we went, and had the most wonderful

time of our lives. My son was three, his sister was six. Two weeks later we came home with suitcases bursting with enough memories to last us a lifetime. I’m so grateful that we took that trip. The following June, our little four year old was gone.

To this day, I have the photographs and the memories of that trip to keep me warm when I miss him. I close my eyes and recall these moments at will. There he is, gaping in awe at the sea lions he loved; or tiptoeing through the dancing fountains of Universal; or sitting quietly on the jungle ride with his Davy Crocket hat. His sister has them too. So does his father. We have no regrets, only hearts warmed by these images of him.

Don’t put things off. Hop on that plane, or that bus. Take that road trip. Invest in memories. When you do, you’ll discover that the returns are endless, and carried on from one generation to another, earning interest where it matters — in the hearts of those you love, and made the time to be with.

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