Thoughts on the train

22 Aug

I loved loved loved taking the train across the country. Oh yeah- I didn’t mention this in the last post, but I have arrived safely and soundly in San Francisco. And yes, Journey has been running through my head all day. The train goes through the gorgeous great plains,the awe-inspiring Rockies and Sierra Nevada, and plunges through valleys that are filled with so much color it feels wrong to take a picture that could never capture the beauty of it all. Also, the train goes where cars cannot, so you see views you wouldn’t see if you were driving the route.

That love aside, the last leg of the train was especially difficult for me. And not because it was a 33 hour ride (surprisingly it didn’t feel like 33 hours, I barely noticed that I was on the train that long). I was struck, quite suddenly, by a vast emptiness as we wound through the golden landscape of Utah. I was gazing out at the canyons when I heard a little girl laugh behind me. I turned to see her laying across her dad while he told her stories. This scene made my stomach lurch and my heart to ache so deeply my eyes immediately swelled with tears. I miss my dad so much sometimes it physically hurts me. I think seeing that sweet father/daughter pair enjoying a train ride made me yearn for my father’s company, to hear his laugh fill up the cabin, to watch him comfortably slip into conversations with strangers, to listen to his stories and enjoy our train trip together.

There are times, more often than I could count, that I remember he is gone and it literally takes my breath away. Although I feel closer to him than I have in awhile, those moments are  occurring more frequently on this trip. Whenever I see something I know he would love, my breath disappears and my chest tightens, and I am so consumed with love and sadness that I feel as though my heart could burst. But, I am incredibly happy that I am taking this trip, checking one thing after another off my list, so that I can feel the sadness and the grief, so that I can feel my dad’s presence surrounding me again and again.


One Response to “Thoughts on the train”

  1. caroline August 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Your reflections are so touching. I am glad that you are able to do this. More importantly, I am very impressed. This is one of those things that we often say we will do or we should have done – the difference is that you are actually doing it.

    Be safe and I hope to see you soon.

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