So this year so far has been a tough one. There can be no denying that. I still have my moments when I think I'm going to wake up and find out it's all been some really horrible dream.
When I think that yesterday was 7 months since Dad left us so suddenly, it shakes me to the core. How can life have just kept going on as usual for so long when he's not here any longer? But I have to confess that the good moments are slowly starting to outweigh the bad. And the bad moments are often touched by a kind of happiness.
This last week I've been escaping from everything. Myself and the other half took a camping trip up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (which is quite possibly one of the most beautiful places I've been). We found ourselves in a beautiful campground, miles from anything, with no internet and no phones. It was a kind of heaven.
But when he disappeared off to get firewood from a little store down the road I had one of the bad moments. Camping was and still is something I associate with Dad. He loved to camp. He was a Scout leader for many years and there were a number of Scout camps he took us kids along on.
So sitting there in that stunning campground, with only really the sounds of the wind in the trees and the river running along the back of our site, I couldn't help but think of Dad. I couldn't help but think that I was in a place he would have loved, doing something he would have loved, and I wouldn't get to tell him about it. I wouldn't get to send him pictures of the tent, and tell him how it ended up being way bigger than we expected and how we managed to put it up backwards. I could picture his reaction, he would have laughed and told me some funny story about some scout camp I could barely remember, or given me some tips for 'next time'.
But even though I was sad, and I cried a little, sitting there on my own under the trees, listening to the river, I was also smiling. Smiling as I thought about Dad, and his stories and how happy he would have been that I was out there camping at all.
It's getting easier to remember the good things, easier to deal with the sad parts. I know that it's never going to be easy, but it's getting better.
But this escape was more than just about Dad, and dealing with everything that goes with it. It was also a nice reminder that I can go without internet and phones if I need to. Something I have to admit I was starting to doubt. Neither of our phones work in the U.S.A, and internet was out of the question, so it was just us, no distractions. And it was heavenly.
Now, don't go thinking that I'm about to dump all my modern technology. I can do without it, and enjoyed being without it, for a while, but it also reminded me how much I rely on it. My family is scattered across the globe, as are my friends, and as much as that is by choice, it also means that the internet is the only thing that connects us. Even if it is just a 'like' on a picture on Facebook, it helps me feel as though my sister, my mother and my brother (along with all the rest) are still a little involved in my life, and me in theirs.
So have no fear, Facebook, I am not abandoning you just yet.
But escaping from technology, from people, from life itself, just for a little while, is probably the best thing I've done all year.
I highly recommend it.