Traveling Alone

I share my story of traveling by myself after the death of my first husband. Memories invade my head and heart and I hope you feel both loss and hope between the lines. Things to reflect is my wish for you.

My friend’s husband died five months ago. She has completed a lot of the necessary business connected with this loss — the paperwork, thank you cards, etc., and is learning to live alone.  Now, she is ready to take that first trip all by herself.

air travelI am proud of her. I think the timing is good with a “change of scenery” to look forward to. The occasion is a wedding in the family, so she will visit with loved ones who live far away. I wish her bon voyage and prayers as she flies off on her first trip – alone.

I stress alone because there are many situations ahead for her as a single traveler. She is a very friendly person who is warm and caring but can also be very assertive — standing up for what she believes. These two attitudes will get her through the security lines, delays, and finally the reunion with her niece who will be there to meet her at the airport.

These thoughts take me back to my first trip alone. I went down to Florida for New Year’s Eve at my brother’s home. On the way, everything went smoothly. No baggage problems, no delays – not even a cloud in the winter sky as I left Chicago.

But here are the things I learned on this first trip without John. Some are humorous. First, I could NOT lose my ticket or hotel key. No more, “Honey, I lost my stuff.” I was in charge. No more help with the baggage. I was glad I packed light!  I called the limo when I arrived . . . not my husband, so the numbers had to be convenient.  That was before cell phones and I had to use . . . a pay phone!  I also had to carry enough money for tips, coffee or small necessities . . . no more husband to reach over to and expect a few dollars placed in my hand! This was my first trip — alone — and this was surely a dose of reality!

Now, many years later, I can look back and feel good about taking that first trip. I can also understand how lucky I was with no catastrophes. I know my friend will be okay — and have lots to share when she returns.

A closing thought — a lesson. Even though she is physically alone, I know she has two strong men by her side . . . the spirit of her husband and the ultimate travel companion — Our Loving God!

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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