Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Journey of Coming Home

“It was like coming home…”

We’ve all heard the expression. We associate that “coming home” feeling with memories and familiarity. Sometimes it has to do with food or smells. For me it means people.

Five years ago, just after Breathing on Her Own was released, Tom and I packed up our things in Florida and along with my mom we headed home to Ohio. The trip home was to include a jaunt to the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina. We’ve spent many vacations there with family and friends. Two dear friends, Toni and Lowell live there year round, unlike the rest of us retirees who were splitting our time between cold and warm climates. Our visit was to include time with them. 
Five Years Ago the Book Club at "The Farm" Gave Me a Gracious Welcome

Toni suggested Breathing on Her Own to the book club in the community where she lives. As a result, one of my first book signings and speaking engagements was with an incredible group of women from “The Farm.”

I remember that event well. I read the first chapter of the book, autographed copies and enjoyed the beautiful spread of food the women had prepared. Tom was by my side. He rushed about setting up the small television so everyone could see the book trailer my daughter Allison had made. He carried books in for me and even checked my hair to make sure my curls (which pop up in crazy ways in humid conditions) were minding. 

Later that year, Tom died, making my memories of the event all the sweeter to cling to since my life was turned upside down. As many of my readers know, I stopped writing my books. I managed to keep the blog going, but I felt as if the ink had run out of my pen. My strongest advocate was gone. 

Healing comes. But it comes slowly and in unexpected ways. Eventually, I polished a book I had written before Tom died. While still living in Kosovo, I submitted it to Ambassador International. Libby’s Cuppa Joe was released this past March. I know that would make Tom happy. 

My Dear Friend, Toni
This week, I had the opportunity to meet up once again with my friend Toni and some of those same precious women who have continued to support my writing efforts. Toni asked others to join us. There were twenty-seven of us in all. I tried to prepare. You see, the trip to Myrtle Beach was emotional. It can be hard to walk about…in and out of the dreams you shared with the man you loved and no longer have at your side. I wondered how I would fare standing in front of these women and telling them of my life experiences. 

Speaking about my journey…the journey so many of us face yet never fully expect. The journey of life and death. The journey of reclaiming your life piece by piece when more than half of you is torn away. The journey of moving out of a home you shared into a new one and then moving halfway around the world. The journey of finding your voice again through your pen when you are too choked up to speak. 

The journey of “coming home.”

Sweet Tea...Becasue in the South They Know How to Do It Right!
And that’s what happened. We gathered for dinner; People I met five years ago and new friends of the “Ladies Night Out” crew. We chatted and joked. We laughed and we cried. I shared my journey…and we laughed and cried some more. I don’t live in Myrtle Beach, but gathering with these women in this place was, well…like coming home.

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