Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Going into Nature: Yosemite

Journal entry 14

Six weeks after Evelyn’s sudden death, people aren’t stopping by to talk as often and the quietness of home is getting to me. Feeling the need for a change of pace, I head for nature.

Driving through Pleasanton, I pass Amador Clinic on the left where Evelyn collapsed and Valleycare Hospital on the right where she died, not looking at either but staring straight ahead. On the outskirts of Livermore, a single tree grows at the base of the mountain pass that goes over into the hot Central Valley. We had a running joke about it. Every time we passed it on the way to Yosemite we would say, “A cowboy died under that tree,” figuring that any cowboy who made it this far through the desolate, sun-baked countryside would look up at this huge mountain, decide he’d had enough, sit under this tree and just die.

There is no laughter today.

Yosemite has always been a place of refuge for me, a place where I could hike through the mountains and work my way through my jumble of thoughts and feelings. Every trip I would find clarity to my problems and see a new way for dealing with whatever conflict was befuddling me.

As soon as I arrive, I know I’ve made a mistake. All I can think about are the happy experiences I had with Evelyn in the valley. Memories are everywhere, and rather than bring me comfort, they burn. I seriously consider turning around and going home, but I stay, hoping that Yosemite will overwhelm me with wonder and pull me out of my preoccupation with grief.

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