We dream, and dream some more, saying to ourselves, “One of these days.” Most of the time, we never get around to seeing it happen. Well, I’ve done a lot of dreaming, too, over the years; but, this time, my “one of these days” came true. I got back home on a long-awaited trip.
If you read my last post, “One of These Days”, I talk about taking a trip back home that I’ve longed for, like this, for many years. The moment came when family circumstances made me decide I had to go for it. It’s been 15 years plus since I’ve been home and I don’t know that I’ll have another 15-20 years like this to go back again. My family typically doesn’t come west to visit – very often – hardly ever.
My aunt, now 92, got sick and depressed this spring with the sudden death of her youngest daughter in January and her health appeared to be going downhill. Something in me said, “It’s time” and I felt that if I didn’t make this trip, I may never see her nor any of my family again. We all aren’t getting any younger and I always wanted to get back, not only to see family, but to pay tribute to loved ones no longer alive who gave me life and purpose – my way of saying goodbye as a type of closure, coming full circle, in paying respect.
So, I answered the call of this particularly strong inner pull to go back home in these pressing family times. This is the beginning of my adventures, reflections and how it all came together – miraculously!
Answering The Call
Hubby and I had always dreamed of taking a road trip from Colorado back to my home, on the east coast of Philadelphia, Maryland (where my aunt lives) and Virginia; taking our time, connecting with family and revisiting places where we first met, fell in love and got married. Over the years, we kept telling my aunt we both were going to make it back some day but it never seemed to happen. I’ve been back a number of times but she hadn’t seen hubby since we first left to go west in 1969 (50 years ago) but the money was never there for us to go.
The same was true this time in that the money wasn’t there but there was an urgency with my aunt’s health. Something in me knew I had to find a way to get back. I wanted to see her as I have for years. She is the only living relative connected to my parents and those of my childhood and I longed to spend one last time with her.
With that intention to find a way, I started looking for jobs online and applied to an opening at our rural post office. I was surprised to get a call for an interview, though in my ‘70’s, and was encouraged that maybe this was the answer to make money for my trip. I had no doubt I could do the job in this small mountain, one-man, non-techy U.S. Post Office operation. I could create and manage e-mails, Excel spreadsheets, service customers, calculate package weights, compute shipping charges on a computer and run a cash register. Hah, how hard could that be—all by myself!? It was a small post office, right?
I don’t think I was a particularly appealing candidate, as I had no long-term employment ambitions, and was also requesting 2 or 3 weeks’ vacation within 6-months. I wanted to be completely transparent with this Federal institution that my main goal was to first make enough money for an important trip with the intention to stay on the job afterwards. If hired, they said the most vacation time they could give me was 2 weeks. I was okay with that with the hope I could make enough for hubby and I to finally make this road trip together.
Little did I know that the universe was intervening and that there would be other ways for money to come. There was never any response on the job after my interview nor from any of my numerous follow-up calls; and, it wasn’t until after my trip that I got an email that the position had been cancelled. Presumably, they hired from within.
Even though I had no response on the job, I still held onto there had to be a way for this trip to happen and, then, the money began to come in – in bits and pieces, over the spring and summer. We got an electric company refund check amounting to more than we had ever received, my daughters and a friend gave me trip money on Mother’s Day and my birthday and I got a large order for the last of my pinecone fire-starters.
It ended up, getting back I would travel solo, again, with just enough money for my flight, rent a car and some extra for expenses. I booked my trip for a week and was waiting for the day when I would finally be launched on my long awaited trip back home, now last month, September, with my return on the 11th, the infamous 9-11.
It wasn’t exactly how I had hoped for over the years, with hubby, on our leisurely road trip back home; but, the universe was pulling and telling me now was the time. I answered the call and sensed there would be more to this trip than I had initially imagined. I was on a type of pilgrimage to the divinity within and, along with connecting with family and paying tribute, I was looking to meet some goals I set for myself. Namely, find my voice, face some fears, come full circle with love and gratitude and meet my transformed self.
I had changed over the years, since I last spent some significant time with my family; of course, there are the physical changes, but spiritually, mentally, philosophically and politically as well. I wasn’t quite sure how that would be received and perceived and was curious as to how much they had changed, too.
Isn’t it curious how friends, even only acquaintances, seem to know us more than our own blood relatives? I suppose it’s because they’re the ones that are there when we have those goofy, unpredictable moments.
I think we all grow in mind and spirit, as life edges us along, and I was looking forward to spending some quality time and learning, in depth, what had been going on in their lives. More than idle chitchat, drapery talk and the weather, I felt the need to be open to whatever events unfolded, late-night talks with heart-to-heart love and kindness, whenever – however.
They say you can never go back home – it will never be like you imagined
There’s a lot of truth to that. Things can never be like we remembered and I understood that from the beginning. Plus, pushing 20 years is a long time since I was back and my old homestead had been sold years before, bulldozed and rebuilt to someone else’s new beautiful home. Highways had been rerouted, old landmarks changed and new businesses replaced old ones; but, nevertheless, I wanted to see how memory would serve me and what still held energies of the past. I was alone on this adventure and open to whatever unfolded.
From Philly airport before heading onto my sister’s, I wanted to check in on an old classmate, Bill, remembering where he lived, just a short jaunt from my old neighborhood where I grew up as a child. His wife, Julie – also a classmate, had died a number of years ago and he lived alone in their home. We had kept in touch on Facebook and I tried to contact him about my trip to let him know I was coming back, along with calling an old number. But, I never heard back. I even tried one of his Facebook relatives but never heard back from them either. So, next best thing was to pop in and try to see him in person.
It’s pretty daunting in this stage of my life and, especially at the beginning of a memorable trip, to find out from neighbors that Bill had died a year ago. I lost a few childhood friends and classmates over the years, Viet Nam, accidents, health; but, it never gets any easier when you hear those words that someone you love had died and I’m standing in front of their old, empty house.
So many memories we had, as friends growing up, especially middle school and high school. Julie and Bill were always destined to be together. They were never apart. I remember one year, when I came back for a visit, they both took me to our old middle school that had been turned into an Administration Building.
We were allowed to go through the old halls and downstairs, in that creaky old building, with them trying to get me to remember this classroom, that teacher (when we staged a sit-down protest in the hall in front of the Biology lab because of the smell), the tunnel through the boiler room to the cafeteria and onto the girls and boys locker rooms recapturing those moments of long ago.
I could remember most things, especially when they said names and told old stories. We were laughing and joking, just like old times, and it felt good to remember old memories with them, right down to the mural on the wall, at the entrance, that Bill said our class painted and is hung there to this day. I never knew about that and he was pretty proud of it. It was a special time back then reliving those times with them.
I love them . . . and now I missed him and whispered a special prayer to him hoping he’s happy back with his beloved Julie. Somehow, while standing there I felt them together again and in love, as they always had been. I said my goodbyes, got in my car and left to take the short ride over to see if I remembered how to get to my old homestead. I was on to see what this trip holds for me next. If this is just the beginning, what else awaits. My heart is full.
There is much more to share with you in the days and months to come as the stories of my trip take shape and come to life. My sister and I did get to see my aunt and spend the night with her after getting lost a number of times. We couldn’t stay longer as Hurricane Dorian was moving up the coast. I visited with nieces, paid tribute at the gravesite of my surrogate grandfather, had a moving and gripping discussion with family and reunited with a cousin I hadn’t seen for more than 55 years, since I was a kid.
And finally, topping it off, with it ending on a return trip, not soon to be forgotten, where I’m sandwiched between two fellow passengers and engaged in talks with them on a 4-hour flight home to Denver on 9-11. Here is a 51-year old successful businessman, I’ve just met, choking up with tears giving me his personal account on 9-11 at ground level telling me, “He doesn’t know what is happening to him . . . he doesn’t do emotions”. You can’t make this stuff up.
One thing I’m reminded of, however, is that there is a greater intelligence in charge no matter how chaotic the world seems and that this greater intelligence has a sweet presence that resides in me and in you.
It’s eye is not only on the sparrow, it knows the number of hairs on our head, the laughter, the pain and our deepest feelings and desires. We carry it around within us and when we connect and align with it for one seemingly unimportant, simple trip (that was much desired by me), it hears and miracles happen and materialize. That’s the wonder and nature of living this beautiful life. It couldn’t have been said any better than by Patanjali, an author of Yoga Sutras from India, many centuries ago:
“When you are inspired by some great
purpose, some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bonds;
Your mind transcends limitations,
your consciousness expands in every direction,
and you find yourself in a new, great
and wonderful world.
Dormant forces, faculties and talents
become alive, and you discover yourself
to be a greater person by far
than you ever dreamed
yourself to be.”
Pat from the ‘ol kitchen tableCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019 Pat Ruppel
I liked this post, just so you know
Thank you, Joanne, for always stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Means a lot to me . . . just so you know, my friend. 🙂
I was hoping Jim would have been able to go with you.
Very glad you were able to.
Thanks Bob. We were hoping, too, but didn’t work out that way this time. Maybe we’ll still get back there and revisit those places where we first met. Still holding out for miracles and unfinished business. Love and hugs, my friend.
Thanks very much, Pat, for this beautiful story! It reminded me of my own family back East and how much they mean to me — especially since I, like you and your husband, live far from them out here in the Far West.
God bless you!
Thank you, John, for sharing that. I like that I think we can relate on how hard it is to get back and, if haven’t kept that close with family, how hard it is to reconnect sometimes. It’s beautiful when it happens, though, and I’m still processing a lot of what happened. There are no mistakes and it’s wonderful to see how beautifully things unfold and intricately orchestrated. God bless you, too, my friend. I know you’re on the same wavelength. Hugs.
I’m glad that the universe came together to help you on your way Pat and I look forward to hearing some of those stories.
Thank you, Andrea, and know you understand and have experienced some of those universe happenings. It’s been over a month since my trip and I’m still processing it — at least, where I can get it from my heart to words. It’s like it changes and flows and I keep changing. I’m glad you enjoyed this and look forward to sharing more as I’m led.
Oh Pat, it is such an emotional journey returning to your roots and yet we can do so in our mind’s eye in just a blink can’t we? Something, somewhere is certainly guiding us though. Do you know, I was thinking of you only yesterday and wondered how you were getting on. best wishes Diana
Aw, thank you, Diana, makes me feel good that you were just thinking of me yesterday. You’re right that it’s an emotional journey to go back home and return to our roots. Seems like all the stars were in line for this one; namely, it was 50 years since we left back there to go west, I was returning to come home on this trip on 9-11, around the same time I was last back, and September was when my surrogate grandfather died over 50 years ago.
We can return in our mind’s eye and I’ve done that many times, remotely, but it seemed, for me, this time in order to complete all the work I had done spiritually and mentally over the years, my heart needed to come full circle and get back physically to my roots. It’s hard to explain what all transpired — more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve transformed and I’m still learning about what that’s all about.
Something for sure is guiding each of us on our journeys and I’m glad you stopped by to share this one with me. Love and hugs, my friend.
A big hug to you, my friend across the pond!
Thank you, Diana, and sending you a big hug too. Appreciate your kind words and love, my friend, across the many miles. I feel it and it means a lot.💖
I still can’t believe you were so close and I didn’t get to see you. Next time, for sure.
Aw, Peggy, it’s so good to see you over here and, yes, we were so close. How long has it been? Too long, I know that, for sure. Not giving up though. Hopefully, Jim will be with me next time on a road trip and will have more time and won’t be facing down a hurricane. Thank you. I’m glad you stopped by for the read, my friend. I love you . . . miss you.💖
What a beautiful story! And I love the quote–it fits exactly what I have been experiencing. I am glad you were able to make the trip, and you reminded me that we are overdue for a trip back home.
Oh Bethany, what a nice surprise! It’s so good to see you back again and I’m happy you enjoyed the story and were inspired to make a trip to go back home. There were so many things that happened on my trip that I’m still processing them. The timing was perfect and it all worked together, so synchronistically, much more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you again – you made my day, my friend. It’s been awhile and hope you all are well. Love and hugs! 💖
My dear Pat, I am choked up reading this. First, because you got to go back ‘home’ after all those years and second, because I know exactly how it is to ‘go back’. And it is true, going back is never easy and incredibly emotive, but sometimes, when the pull is as strong as yours was, you have no choice, compelled to go for so many reasons. Some we don’t even know at the time, and can take a long time to process long after the visit. I returned to California after ten years. I lived there for twenty years, raising my children there, as you know, and moved back to the UK in 2003. That trip back ten years later was so right. I got to see my ex brother-in-law who I loved like a brother, he always called me ‘Sis’, and the childrens’ great uncle. I didn’t know that day I hugged my brother-in-law, five years younger than me, would be the last time. He died last year at 54. I still can’t believe I won’t ever see him again. Tears pricked at my eyes reading about your dear friends Bill and Julie, I am so sorry you didn’t have the chance to see him again. What an adventure though for you with so many memories come to life and I look forward to reading more when you are able to write about it. Thank goodness you were safe through the hurricane and I am so glad you saw your dear aunt. It is so important you answered the call, Pat. Life is short and we never know what is around the next corner. I really hope and pray that next time you can go with your hubby and it won’t be anything like the long gap. We come full circle, don’t we? Thank you for sharing your heart with us my dear friend. God bless you and be with you and your hubby and family at this Christmas season full of love, joy and peace in your heart always. Love and hugs always from across the Shining Sea…your friend, Sherri 🙂 <3 xxx
Sherri – thank you, thank you, my dear friend from across the pond. I know you can truly understand from the heart about this trip and take from it the similarities of your trip. Those experiences and pulls are unique and individual and so hard to express in ways others might connect. I’m happy you were able to go there with me and share the experience. It means a lot to me and your comments warm my heart. We do indeed come full circle and though we may want to do something so bad, it’s not until we’re really ready that it’s then the universe gives us that big nudge and the timing is perfect. It was that way for me.
Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas and God bless you. Love and hugs!💖
Hi Pat…I hope you my last comment came through…it’s disappeared but hopefully you can see it! <3
It came through, Sherri. Thank you again, my friend, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts from the heart.💖
Always, my friend, always… <3 <3 <3