As part of my research for the Defining Moments series, I poked through my ancestry online. My DNA revealed all those Irish & Welsh ancestors added up to 67%, while the expected Russian came in at less than 25% (explain that to the 100% Russian great-grandparents!) So it seemed only fitting to make one more trek o’er the pond to see this glorious land from which they emigrated.
We booked our Ireland adventure last summer and decided on a Road Scholar program since we have had so many interesting trips with them stateside and in Canada. We booked Ireland at a Slower Pace, which several days in, became apparent was a misnomer! We walked nearly 42 miles in 14 days, in London and Ireland.
The timing could not have been more perfect. The spring death of my Defining Moments project partner, Marion Coleman, preceded by the 15 months battle for her life had left me exhausted, defeated, and grieving with a wounded muse. So many said to me, and I agreed, that there could not have been better timing for a change of scenery.
The trip was fantastic in every way. Great people, great hotels, fabulous food, interesting programs and texture galore. (some of which you see here). The first few days Marion stayed on my mind, but slowly I began to enjoy being in the moment. I came back physically exhausted, but rejuvenated by the change of scenery and pace; and a renewed connection to my ancestors.
Before I left I noted on my calendar to begin preparation of my Defining Moments quilts to ship to Visions Art Museum in San Diego for its inaugural exhibit. I did not want to attempt it until I felt my brain had arrived back in California. So yesterday I hauled all the quilts out and today began preparation, pressing, rolling, packaging, etc.
All of a sudden, I felt a HUGE rush of excitement for this upcoming show, with a big sense of accomplishment; that all my efforts these past five years are at last coming to fruition. Such joy, and then BAM, immediate sorrow.
Listening to music, tears welled up in me as my grief returned. How sad that Marion is not here to celebrate our exhibition together. I soon realized that this opening, could be for me a really sad event. My job for the coming month, to get myself to a place where I can celebrate my own sense of accomplishment as well as celebrate who she was, as she lives on through her work. She would not want it any other way.
The trip to Ireland was exactly what I needed, but also a reminder that grieving cannot be tamped down. It may be set aside temporarily, but the healthy thing is to ride it out. So my buddy, the muse and I are doing just that.
Footnote: I posted a lot of images on Instagram, rather than FB while traveling. You may see them (with permission!) here.
Judith D Block says
I am so glad you had this vacation and to such a wonderful place. It is my dream, to some day, visit Ireland. Grief does have a way of popping up just when we least expect it. My baby sister passed away last September after a 10 month battle with cancer – her birthday is Tuesday. She loved celebrating her birthday so we are having a party with cake! Celebrate this exhibition! Celebrate who it was created with – Marion! Celebrate Marion who enriched your heart and soul! And, yes, grieve.
Thank you Judith!
Gerrie Congdon says
I have tears in my eye as I understand your grief, but this is what I need to say to you: Marion would want you to go to this opening and enjoy the moment for both of you and to be gloriously happy for what you accomplished together. I so wish I could see the exhibit. It is going to be awesome.
Thank you Gerrie! I am still going and packing as much living as I can into that window of time! I so appreciate your kind words, however. I just finished packing up the work, and now feel excited for what a spectacular exhibit it is going to be!
Gerrie Congdon says
Yay!! I know it will be spectacular.
Franki Kohler says
Bravo Carol! You have a clear path forward and the right attitude. Revel in it and respect the feelings along the way. I will be with you in spirit at Visions. It will be GRAND.
Thank you, Franki! xo