Updated: Dec 12, 2020
On January 31, 2020, my life partner, closest confidant and the father of my 6-year old son passed away from a recurrence of liver cancer.
At the time, we were in South America, where we had escaped after my partner received remission from a 4th stage cancer during which he valiantly endured eight rounds of chemotherapy and 48 sessions of upper head and neck radiation. Immediately after that, we downsized our southern California life with the intention of removing a lot of the stressors that can come with a higher cost of living. We then departed on an unforgettable, #worldschool experience of south of the border. Over the next seven months, we checked items off of our family bucket list. We: ~swam with whale sharks off of Isla Mujeres in Mexico; ~spent a month living in a worldschool village in the upper Yucatan peninsula located in a small Mayan village; ~swam in cenotes and visited ancient Mayan temples, like Chichen Itza, with other families and new friends; ~explored the crystalline waters of Belize; ~and we lived on the banks of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, ~before we landed in southern Ecuador to enjoy a more organic and slower pace of life. I never imagined Ecuador called us there in order for my partner to die at home, in peace and surrounded by those closest to him - myself, his 20-year old daughter and our son.
Of course, no one wants to imagine this for their closest loved one. But if life and death have taught me anything it is that we do not get to choose when. We only get to choose how we will respond. In early March, my son and I returned to San Diego to celebrate the amazing life of a phenomenal man with a full weekend of in-person events attended by most of our closest tribe and community members. Like today, California fell into shelter-in-place orders on the Tuesday after our memorial weekend. Thus, I found myself as a lone parent without a home or a car having to navigate quarantine and a global pandemic AS WELL AS create and maintain a space in which I could mourn and grieve my loss and then be present enough of mind and body in order to be there for my son when his own grief is manifesting as anger, eg. Buying a van and spending most of our time in nature was the choice that my inner guidance system made. Plus, my partner and I had fantasized together about living #theRVlife and #roadschooling our son across the contiguous USA. We specifically discussed traveling up the west coast of the USA into the Pacific North West. It felt natural and important to complete the journey that my partner, Burt, and I had set out to do during this confounding time of Covid, chaos and calamity. And he had very much accompanied us via the Spirit world. Thank you for witnessing us and following along on our journey. You can read more in these pages about how we also cruised across the southwest and up the east coast along with how I have been healing my (and our) hearts along the way. To LIFE (even in the face of loss), ----C.
Photos described (for the seeing impaired): Above photo gallery, left to right: 1.) A grown woman with her mouth spread wide in an 'O' as a boy child has his arms around her neck and hugs her from behind. They sit framing the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA behind them. This is a selfie-photo. 2.) A grown woman sits at an outdoor picnic table, with her hand gently holding her face. An outdoor kitchen stove with coffee/tea making pot and utensils sits on a green stove. A white van with its open side doors sits mid-ground. Red Rocks Campground, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. This is a selfie-photo. 3.) A woman with dark, shoulder length hair and wearing olive green shorts crouches mid-ground. She appears to be chopping kindling with an axe from a larger piece of wood. A blue camp chair and fire pit loom in the foreground as the back of the white van and a forested hillside are seen in the background. Outside Missoula, Montana, USA. Below photo gallery, left to right: 1.) A grown man sits on a beach, gazing directly into the camera. He wears a straw hat, gray shirt and a large smile on his face that can also be seen in his eyes. Near Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
2.) Four people sit in two bleacher rows at a baseball stadium. In front, is a mother figure with dark curls framing her face and a small, boy child on her lap. Behind them, sits a grown man with a baseball cap on his head and his grown daughter sitting beside him. She wears a red and black plaid shirt and they all have smiles on their faces. Cahlo's 4th birthday at a Padres game, San Diego, California, USA. 3.) The same man from photo #1 appears laying in a bed. He has lost all of his interstitial fat and his face appears gaunt and hollow. His sharp cheekbones protrude as he gazes directly at the camera. Wearing a black t-shirt his shoulders appear skeletal. Selfie-photo from Vilcabamba, Ecuador. Bottom image: A pastel-colored image of the contiguous United States of America with text written across it, "The Mama Caravan" it reads. There are two routes plotted on the map. A full-circle lays upon the western portion of the USA, detailing 'Tour #1" and a dotted-line leads from southern California across the south, curving up from Alabama and into New Jersey. It reads 'Tour #2."