On a Sunday in January, traveling down the Nile from Aswan to Luxor, I am having a bad day.
Perhaps it’s the accumulated lack of sleep after several early morning trips to temples. Perhaps it’s the overcast skies and fog, reminiscent of home. Perhaps it’s having free time and being at loose ends. Perhaps it’s the book my roommate gave me when I said I had nothing to read, a book USA Today says is “an irresistible grown-up love story.”
But no, I was fighting back tears long before that.
Ignoring the feeling hasn’t work, so I tentatively explore it. Is it homesick? I don’t think so, there really isn’t anything at home that I am missing. My children are busy with their own lives and our occasional texts and calls are not much more frequent when I am home. I don’t crave my own bed, or kitchen, or chair by the fire. I don’t really have a routine that I’m used to, and I don’t care for routines anyway.
I’m only avoiding, I know what the feeling is. As I lay in my bed last night I was thinking about my husband. I’ve had my brave face on with this group in Egypt. Many of them know my circumstances, and have commiserated, rhetorically wondering why some men can be such jerks. I’ve talked about how I am probably better off. Unlike with my first travel group, none of them have seen me cry.
I still ride the sea of grief. The waters have been calm, so this wave of sorrow catches me off guard. I grieve for the life, the love I have lost. I am rejected, unwanted, unloved.
It doesn’t help to remind myself of how happy I’ve been recently, how much I’ve been enjoying this trip, how amazing it is to be in Egypt, cruising down the Nile River. It doesn’t help to remind myself how many people do love me, how precious and wonderful my family is. It doesn’t help to think about my many friends, the dear ones who have stood by me and the potential new ones I am making. It doesn’t help to tell myself that my life will be good, even better, and that there might even be another chance for love.
All I want is for someone to be with me while I am so sad, until it passes. It doesn’t help that the one who held me in my times of grief and sadness over the last 30 years is the one now causing it. I can appreciate the irony even as it burns. And I am ashamed that so many times when others needed me to be with them in their sorrow, their darkness, I didn’t understand, and tried to “make it better.”
So now I accept and ride the wave, knowing that this is all I can do, all any of us can do.
This too shall pass.