Ch.195 Reminiscences: “Tripping” with Pat
Searching for some Lewy Body books, I happened across three journals I kept between 1997 and 2015 in which I documented the dozens of trips Pat and I took together, mostly working trips that left time for adventuring. Typically, we’d do three-city tours: fly to city “A” on a Wednesday; I’d present workshops on anger management on Thursday and Friday while Pat took care of registrations and book sales (sometimes Pat co-presented but she didn’t much like doing that); driving and exploring on Saturday and Sunday as we headed to city “B”; presenting on Monday and Tuesday; driving to city “C” on Wednesday; presenting on Thursday and Friday; exploring on Saturday and flying home Sunday. But I also journaled about larger occasions including the times we travelled to make co-presentations in Panama, Italy and Hong Kong and on a five-city tour of Australia.
One thing stood out as I read: we had a lot of fun working and travelling together. We spent many hours rockhounding, sometimes in deserts and sometimes at roadside rock-cuts. (We found chocolate agate at a Texas road cut; black volcanic “Apache tears” in an Arizona desert; turquoise and variscite around Tonopah, Nevada; fossil fish by Kemmerer, WY).We visited countless museums; we went to movies and watched television; we met friends on several continents; we seriously discussed our presentations in an effort to improve them; we learned a lot both about the world and each other. And sometimes we argued, like most couples do, going to bed still angry only to wake up feeling ridiculous.
Pat kept coming alive as I read. There she was calling me over to carry a beautiful (and heavy) rock she’d found. Pat gently smiling as she magnetically attracted people wanting to tell her the stories of their lives. Pat and I excitedly walking through a Dale Chihuly glass exhibition at a Texas park. Pat insisting we should ship another 100 pounds of rocks home from Arizona. Pat smiling as I took her picture reading a newspaper in bed. Pat just being Pat. We took some of these trips even after Pat was diagnosed with Lewy Body, until she was physically unable to travel. My memories of those later trips are quiet ones; we spent a lot of time together, doing little, just one short outing a day, and those were some of the trips I remember most fondly.
The more I read the more real she became. Three-dimensional. Vibrant. Pat became so vivid in my memory that I almost felt her physical presence.
Like many other times I’ve contacted Pat in this way, I had a bittersweet experience. I kept reading those journals for over an hour, feeling Pat’s presence while at the same time intensely missing her. Pat was present and absent both, alive and deceased, here and gone. Sometimes I found myself smiling through my sadness, sometimes crying through my laughter. I’d sure like to take another trip with Pat. Just one more.