The last time I’d been on the gangway was a day my life shifted. Someone else was handling my luggage, but I’d never felt so weighed down. I was leaving the ship, the place that had been my home since August. I was leaving the comforts associated with traveling in close quarters with new friends. I was leaving behind life as I’d known it. I wasn’t taking some fabulous excursion to an exotic destination. I was heading back to the United States because my dad had passed away.
Following the funeral it was important for me to return to the ship. My last memory wasn’t a pleasant one and I didn’t want such an incredible experience to be overshadowed by the last conversation I’d had on the ship. As I took a plane to Costa Rica to join the voyage again I was filled with questions. Had I stayed home in August would my father and I have had more time together? Did I want to leave home because home wasn’t the same and never would be ever again? Was I returning to the ship to avoid adjusting to living without the most influential man in my life? Would I spend the rest of my life avoiding that adjustment?
On the way to the port, the ship came into view and I broke out into a huge grin. Just seeing it gave me comfort and I became anxious to rejoin a community that had been my family since August, including the day that I heard the news about my dad. As I looked at the beauty surrounding me and felt the sun’s rays embracing me, a sense of peace and joy melted my doubt and apprehension. I knew that at that moment, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I still have questions. I am still scared to face life without my dad. I miss his presence immensely and I know that I will for the rest of my life. Yet coming back to this ship has helped me to understand that even in the middle of my heartache, I can miss my father and still be in a place of beauty, comfort, and love. It is possible to hurt and heal at the same time.