ELIZA'S CROSS CANADA LOVE TOUR
"What would you do if you were suddenly homeless, jobless and mom-less all at the same time?"
This is not a typical travel blog. Or really, it’s not a travel blog at all.
More than likely I won’t mention traveling much, as that is not really what this “love tour” is about.
On January 05th 2019 my mom passed away from uterine cancer. I had spent five months in Manitoba, away from my home in Toronto, to be with her. After she died, I intended to return home to my “normal” life, if that was even possible.
Surprise! It was not possible.
On the morning of January 22nd, 2019 there was a fire next to my apartment. I woke up to a bunch of text messages from people who thought I was home when the fire broke out. I was not. I was safe in Manitoba at a friend’s house, set to fly home that evening. There was also a frantic phone message from my boss, you see, my apartment was located right on top of where I worked. By the time I returned home it became clear that my apartment and the store where I worked had been so badly smoke damaged that it would be many months, if not longer, before either would be safe to live/work in again.
Everything had gone up in smoke. Literally.
I just lost my mom and now I had no job and no place to live. The fire felt like an outward representation of how I felt on the inside: Altered, damaged and entirely unrecognizable to myself.
It was the crappy cherry on top of a horrific year, but if I’m being honest, a tiny part of me felt relieved. I wasn’t ready to fit myself back into the life that had been waiting for me. My former life felt like a beautiful dream, a perfect intangible place slipping away in the harsh light of morning. A place that I was no longer able to inhabit even if I wanted to.
I didn’t have room in my heart for the fire to devastate me, but I was completely lost, and had no clue what to do now. So, like the mediocre millennial I am, I posted on Facebook:
“What would you do if you were suddenly homeless, jobless and mom-less all at the same time? Looking for actual plans as well as humorous suggestions as either would brighten my day.”
Aside from the recommendations to adopt a pet ferret or purchase a monocle, almost everyone told me to come and visit them.
When my mom was in the hospital, she often felt guilty for having to turn down people’s requests to come and visit her. She was exhausted and unable to predict how she might feel on any given day. In an effort to calm her worries I would tell her she didn’t have to spend any energy worrying about whether she could say yes to every visit because if things “went south” I would go on a “farewell tour” and visit everyone to thank them for the love in person. It was slightly morbid, but dark humour becomes a comfort when every day feels like a mini horror movie, and I do believe it comforted her slightly too.
“I’ll visit everyone.” I promised.
Now a few months later it seemed like I might actually have the opportunity to “visit everyone” and travel across Canada to see all the people I love and the people that loved my mom. I knew this is exactly what she would have wanted for me, an adventure. It’s the kind of adventure that we would have done together if she were alive.
This is usually where someone might mention making lemonade out of lemons, and sure, you could say that. However, I prefer to see it as taking my lemon on a road trip. The lemon in this metaphor is grief (in case you were confused) and It’s not going anywhere. I can’t smash it or squeeze it or add sugar to its juices to make it any less bitter or more palatable, but I can bring it along as a passenger. I can let my lemon propel me forward or at the very least, not hold me back.
Lemons aside, it has only been a few months since I lost my mom and I am still right in the thick of it. My mom was my best friend and I miss her constantly with every fibre of my being. This trip will be a journey through grief as much as it is one across Canada, likely more so. There may be a travel anecdote here or there, but mostly, I plan for this to be a place to share my thoughts, feelings and musings about life and loss and my mom. Then again if I have learned anything so far, it’s that plans change, so who knows what this blog will become.
Either way, you are invited to join me and follow my “Love Tour” as I travel both across Canada and the treacherous waters of my grieving heart.
Love to you,