Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Going home again

Last year I went home to Michigan with a heavy heart.  I had originally planned my entire ten days of vacation along with another person who flaked out on me a little over two weeks before I was set to fly back east.  What made it even harder, it was the first time I had been back home since my Dad's funeral in November 2005.  I had such mixed emotions that day and I would like to share a poem that I had written on the the last leg of my trip.  As the plane took off from Minnesota I had a good deal of the poem written and just put the finishing touches on it as we landed. The following is the original travel log/post that I put up on Facebook during my trip last year.

Going home again...

by Tammy Dennings Maggy on Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 9:43pm
Today was the first day back home to Michigan in nearly five years.  The last time was in the company of my husband Jeff and we were traveling the Saturday after Thanksgiving...two long days after my Dad, John McInerney lost  his battle Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  The airports were a madhouse then, but not so bad this visit.  This time all of my flights were on time.  This time I was traveling alone, but still with a heavy heart.

As the plane took off from Minneapolis beginning the last leg of my journey home, I could feel the tears start to threaten to fall.  I kept willing them away.  Please, not now. Let me have one day without tears...but they had other plans.  I kept my eyes closed and tried to pretend to sleep, but the Delta pilot sitting next to me noticed and asked if I was okay.  "Sure, just have not been home in a long time and I need to be."  He smiled at me and handed me his travel pack of Kleenex.  "Now why would a beautiful woman like you be sad about getting to go home?  Seems like you should be smiling that killer smile I saw you flash the ticket agent as we were boarding."

I had to laugh at that.  I didn't realize that I had smiled at the older woman when she fumbled with my ticket or that someone was watching me so closely.  I would be lying if it didn't make me feel good to be told I was beautiful by a stranger...and one in uniform to boot!  Feels like such a long time since someone told me that...and meant it...and I believed them.  I thanked him for the Kleenex and tried to leave it at that, but with just gentle prodding he got me to tell him my story:  losing Dad, my marriage falling apart and heading for divorce.  But I held back telling the other things that were bringing me down and he could sense it.  "I think there is more to your story...am I right?"

I smiled a little at him and nodded.  He didn't press it, but I could tell he understood.  After the stewards passed out the peanuts and the Coke, he spoke to me again.  "Don't let the fact that a fool let a woman like you fall through their fingers get you down.  They are the failure here, not you.  And I am not talking about your marriage."  I was stunned and that made him laugh.  "Oh I know that pain all too well,  I have five sisters!"  I had to laugh at that one too.    The flight was only a couple of hours but for that time, this off duty pilot made me forget about all the crap that was going on in my life and just giggle for no reason.  He was a riot.  He asked me to dinner, but I already planned to drive home that night and had to decline....maybe the next time we were in town together. He smiled and said..."well, can't blame a guy for trying.  I hope you find what you are looking for pretty lady."  Then he walked off toward the parking structure to his car and I headed in the opposite direction for my rental car shuttle.  Damn it!  I should have gone out with him!  LOL  Oh well, at least I had a fun flirtation going on today!

It took forever for that rental car shuttle to show up too.  For those of you who don't travel through Detroit Metro let me set the stage.  When you go through baggage claim on one level, you have to take an elevator to the next level to get to a walk way over to another section of the building to take and escalator down to another level to meet your shuttle. Good lord that is not easy with a nearly 50pound piece of luggage! Then the elderly gentleman who drove the shuttle struggled with all of our luggage and cracked jokes the whole time...about how the construction going on was probably exactly as I remembered it from five and maybe even 10 years ago when I first moved away to California.  And you know what? IT WAS!!!  LOL

Driving 275 to 23 up toward Flint and then on to 75 brought back so many memories of living in the Detroit Metro Area and driving up every other week to visit my parents.  Some of the leaves still had color but most of them went brown already, but they still looked beautiful to me. Even the freaky construction zone was a welcome sight.  My heart was heavy and happy at the same time.  I missed my Dad so much at that moment.  I am hurting so badly and he would always be there to pick up the pieces and help me find myself again.  He isn't here physically, but I can feel him everywhere.  His office, the yard, even staying up late on my netbook...which he would have had to have at least one himself.  He was so into these things.  And I am just like him with my reading glasses part way down my nose while I am typing this.  I can almost hear him whispering in my ear and hugging me tight...."It's gonna be okay, honey.  You will get through this and you will give your heart to someone who really deserves it one day and they will cherish it forever.  Not that there won't be tough times, but he won't bail on you when the times get tough.  You wait and see."  That was what he said to me right after I went through a huge breakup right after I first moved to California.  I gave up everything for that man and got nothing in return.  Dad never made me feel stupid about it.  He told me to follow my heart and love with all I could.  I would always wonder if I didn't.    And he was right.

And he still is right.

I will stop regretting loving with my whole heart.  If I never took the chance, I would still be wondering what if, and now I know.

Now here is the poem that I wrote at the beginning of that trip.  Let's see what I can come up with when I fly home again next week!

Home Again

As soon as the wheels touched down,
The memories came flooding back.
Last time here was to say goodbye to the head of our family,
Our Rock, Provider, Protector.

Could feel him with me today,
As I left yet another plane.
Could feel his hand in mine;
Could hear him whisper
"it's gonna be okay. You'll get through this too."
I am here.  Lean on me.
Lean on the family.
That is why you are going home.

Five long years have passed
Since he was laid to rest.
But his guidance remains
Pulling me home again when life became unbearable.

So many emotions run through me as I drive North toward Home:
Shame to have failed yet again in love,
Failed at the marriage he had blessed.
Ashamed to have let another steal my heart and soul
so completely and leave me devastated.

But this time the Fixer of Broken Hearts and Souls
Was not there to pick up the pieces
and give me a reason for going home

This year was supposed to be different
Thought I found another to help me mend.
For three long years I barely existed,
Losing myself with each passing hour and day.

An old friend returned the smile to my face
And the laugh to my soul.
My Heart was nearly mended enough to trust again.
But the love that was promised was not true.
It was not meant to be.
So the heart that could not mend, shattered all the more.

Now I return home to my family and friends.
They will help bring the joy back into my life,
The smile to my face, and the laugh to my heart and soul.
For this is why I return again.
This is why I am going home.

(dochappycamper 10/31/2010)

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