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Old 01-14-2020, 10:33 AM   #1
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Life After Loss of Travel Buddy

My wife, Penelope (Air Forum: LizabethLane), and I purchased our first RV in October, 2014: our 2015 Interstate Grand Tour, one of the first of that model sold in Northern California. We had never been "camping people", as Penny's idea of roughing it was "a hotel with bad room service", so it was a shock to me when she read an article about this new "glamping" vehicle and said "We have to get one!". And so it was, less than a month later we were picking up our silver beauty at Bay Area Airstream. And what a time we had! More than 100 (mostly short haul) trips in the four years that followed. We named it "Gizmo", and Penny outfitted it to truly be our home away from home. It was well-cared for in indoor storage, and still looks and drives like brand new. Then, in April Penny was unexpectedly diagnosed with a very aggressive gallbladder cancer, and she died peacefully on August 11th. I am, of course, lost without her, and not the least of those impacts is the challenge of getting back into love with Gizmo. Although I have taken her out of storage to drive on two occasions since then, my first camping outing (solo) will be this weekend when I take her to Costanoa on the California coast, one of our favorite spots. I know it will be hugely emotional, but I feel I have to take the plunge if I am going to keep this wonderful toy. I know there must be a number of my fellow Interstaters who have suddenly become single, and wonder if you have found that it can ever be fun again
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:56 AM   #2
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Wow Tim. My condolences. I cannot even imagine how tough your situation is.

I applaud you for trying to get out again. Perhaps try a new place. Not to forget your trips with Penny (that will never happen and you should cherish those trips). But it seems it might be harder to initially re-visit your special places without her.

Good luck and keep in touch.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:22 AM   #3
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Tim - Iím so sorry for your loss.

I have no advice for you other than to do what your heart tells you to do and if you havenít, please spend some time here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ii-133171.html

I trust a lifetime of happy memories of Penny will be of great comfort to you.

Be well,
Steve
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:52 AM   #4
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Condolences on your loss, Tim.

Cherish your memories of your past travels in the van... but now it's time to make new ones of your own for yourself. If your future enjoyment of the van is totally tied to your past adventures with your wife, it will never become something you enjoy for you. Strike out on your own to find your own new roads to travel and make new memories for yourself.

Fair winds and following seas!

Roger
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:01 PM   #5
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My condolences on your loss, Tim, and I wish you all the best as you forge a new life.

Visiting favorite places in the after is bittersweet, and I read your post and immediately felt some of my firsts.

We go on, or we donít.

Going on is best, I think.

Maggie
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:22 AM   #6
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My condolences on your loss. I hope your family and friends who supported you will continue to do so (and maybe come along on a short trip.)


Slightly unrelated to your question, I had a couple of people in town today and rather than taking two cars to lunch I drove the Interstate so we could all ride in style. I get a lot of pleasure out of it even if it's just a trip with friends around town.
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:59 AM   #7
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I'm sorry for your loss. You are in good company here.

Losing a very close loved one is a different experience for each person, but I find that my best path forward is to focus on the fact that I, too, will be dead before I know it. It is going to happen in the blink of an eye.

I don't mean this as a morose or fatalistic perspective - that grim acknowledgment is the gateway through which I focus on the present moment and ask myself, "What do I want to DO with this gift of time that is remaining? What do I want it to mean? What do I want to create? What do I want to accomplish?" It snaps me out of the purely negative aspects of grief and makes me think to myself, "OK, then - let's get TO it."

Here's a 4-minute excerpt of Nora McInery's groundbreaking TED talk on losing a loved one. This, and her unedited full-length delivery (you can find it on the web), is the best I've seen on this subject.

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Old 01-15-2020, 09:04 AM   #8
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If you do Facebook, there's a Northern California Airstreamers Group you might want to check out. Fun group, with several outings to local places each year. It may help to travel with others.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/norcalairstreamers/
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:06 AM   #9
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Sorry for your loss. I can only imagine how you feel.

I'm glad to hear you are getting back out there camping, even if the location will stir emotions. Maybe that will be part of the healing process.

God bless.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:14 AM   #10
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Am very sorry for your loss of your wife and best friend. Doing things that you enjoyed together will bring back memories but also may increase the emotions. So consider dipping your toes slowly back into past favorites but expand new site trip experiences to fit your future life.

While at a auto dealership the other day, I was in a waiting room with a nice older lady who was reading a book I've enjoyed. So I asked her how she was enjoying it. She said that the author was one of her husband's favorites before he died three years ago. She said it had taken her a while to adapt to him not being with her, but she had recently dug out the whole group of books and was reading them. Not only for the enjoyment of the read but also because it reminded her of her husband. I suspect your Airstream travels can serve a similar role in your life.

Associate with others in similar situations. Some good suggestions for Airstream groups in previous postings.

Augment your Airstream travels with new hobbies that will give new purpose and perhaps introduce you to others (for example, fly fishing, historical site visits, etc).

Finally, although not the same at all, have a new travel buddy with four legs and a tail who will enjoy sharing your experiences.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:16 AM   #11
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By the way, her ID makes me think she was a fan of Christmas In Connecticut. Just like me lol
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:58 AM   #12
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I lost my Donna in 2015 after 2 years of ups and downs with her bone marrow disease. We were sometime Airstreamers, attending a few rallies and traveling to Thunder Bay from Southern Ontario once a year. Members since 2003. We bought a second wider AS to be able to do short trips during the one year she had some remission.
After she died I took the trailer to Florida, New Orleans (on our bucket list) and Texas; just to say goodbye to friends in Texas where we had wintered in the past. I found it lonely and although it was a trip with a mission, I determined not to go back to Texas because it was too far as a solo driver. Although I always did all the driving. I did decide to get active in the Ontario Airstream Club and went to the Can Am open house the following January. I met a new owner there and had a short conversation...she had just purchased her AS after years of being a caregiver. Never thought much more about it but over the next few years I did solo trips to Florida, Thunder Bay, the International Rally in Escanaba, and after being asked to do half the registration function for the club attended nearly every Rally and Rendezvous for the next three years. Made new friends at nearly every function or trip, and during all this time the lady I first met at the open house was at some of those rallies. She was always on the go with our club caravans, something I had never considered. Serendipity came along and today we travel together with either her unit or mine.

Point is, get out there and celebrate the life you had with your wife. People are generally interested in singles who travel solo, and with that you open doors to other possibilities. I'm sure your Penelope would want to to carry on. I never forget my Donna; I do however have a new chapter in my life.

JCW
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:54 PM   #13
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My condolences on your loss, Tim, and I wish you all the best in your future adventures! I was am grieving for you reading this. I can't imagine loosing my wife. Life is short for us all and even shorter for some. I know this is a huge clichť but here goes. "Tomorrow is a gift and today is the present" Don't waste your presents. Penelope will be with you wherever you go in memory but just make sure to go. Have a great time!
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:03 PM   #14
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My condolences as well. I can't imagine what you are going thru. Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my wife being in the hospital a 2nd time for rare spinal disease that shut down a lot of functions. Luckily she recovered 90% but it gave us a new outlook on how short life as we were used to it can be.

there is no right or wrong answer anyone can give for where this will take you next. We all support you and you will eventually figure out the right answer for you. I have a feeling the love you two shared will help you make a decision you will be comfortable with. I hope and trust you will find that peace,
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:17 PM   #15
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I’ve been watching this thread today, and am not surprised to see the kind words and support offered here to the OP.

I am stunned, however, at the very high number of visitors I’ve seen on this thread.

Something about losing a love and trying to go on traveling really seems to resonate with people.

A good thing.

We are all more alike than we are different.

Maggie
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlundell View Post
My wife, Penelope (Air Forum: LizabethLane), and I purchased our first RV in October, 2014: our 2015 Interstate Grand Tour, one of the first of that model sold in Northern California. We had never been "camping people", as Penny's idea of roughing it was "a hotel with bad room service", so it was a shock to me when she read an article about this new "glamping" vehicle and said "We have to get one!". And so it was, less than a month later we were picking up our silver beauty at Bay Area Airstream. And what a time we had! More than 100 (mostly short haul) trips in the four years that followed. We named it "Gizmo", and Penny outfitted it to truly be our home away from home. It was well-cared for in indoor storage, and still looks and drives like brand new. Then, in April Penny was unexpectedly diagnosed with a very aggressive gallbladder cancer, and she died peacefully on August 11th. I am, of course, lost without her, and not the least of those impacts is the challenge of getting back into love with Gizmo. Although I have taken her out of storage to drive on two occasions since then, my first camping outing (solo) will be this weekend when I take her to Costanoa on the California coast, one of our favorite spots. I know it will be hugely emotional, but I feel I have to take the plunge if I am going to keep this wonderful toy. I know there must be a number of my fellow Interstaters who have suddenly become single, and wonder if you have found that it can ever be fun again
You may not realize how much your post has helped so many of us in so many ways. My wife and I are struggling to figure out when's the right time to retire. Thank you for being so generous with your story.
We wish you great memories of your wife and the blessing of new and wonderful things to come. Thank you again for sharing a bit of your life with us.
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:20 PM   #17
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Sorry for your loss. Very very hard to lose a spouse. Unfortunately the reality is half of us who are married will experience this. (Although my wife’s grandparents died hours apart at the ripe old age of 100.) I tell my wife that if she goes before me, I’m selling the house, packing up the Airstream and traveling around the country, visiting my children, grandchildren, friends, etc. Sitting around the house would be the last thing I would want to do. I have a friend I play tennis with who recently had his wife die suddenly. He continues to do the things he loves to do and socialize with his friends. All spouses that lose loved ones will experience grief in different ways and different depths. And I’m sure my friend has his moments. That is inevitable. I encourage you to do the things you love to do. Socialize with friends, be active, go on adventures. It won’t eliminate a sense of loss, but it can make it more palatable.

I think men have a harder time losing their wives than wives their husbands. Partly because women tend to have more social outlets and friends to help them through. Men tend to be more task oriented. So I encourage you to set a goal and go for it.

I have a friend who lost his wife that he loved dearly. He got married again after about a year. He lost that wife five years later. He got married again. The living still have to live. And as the Psalmist says weeping comes in the night but joy comes in the morning. I encourage you not to get stuck but to be hopeful.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:44 AM   #18
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Tim, So sorry to read about your loss. We also purchased our AI along the same lines and to travel together. It would be a difficult adjustment but hope you can have the heart to continue on.
I hope you find it in yourself to remember to carry on, to live on. My fiancťí and I have seen enough loss between us, my father passed from lung cancer and his mother from pancreatic cancer. Neither of us talk about it much but the look in his eyes when it does come up is enough to see how much it continues to hurt. Time helps, people help, and I hope you embrace both. Also, Iíve found to each is own during this time. My mom surprisingly began dating within the next year and has been with her significant other for over twenty five years now. Hope you can learn to embrace what comes your way as you never know what your future holds. Youíll always have her in your heart no matter where you go, sheíll always be a part of you. Hope you find some peace for yourself and your Airstream can help you do so. You have our sympathy.
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:54 AM   #19
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Thanks Tim for your posting. I know what you are going through a I lost Carol three years ago due to glioblastoma (brain cancer). I found reading all the responses to your post extremely helpful for me. I've tried camping for the last couple of years and with the loss of my wife, found it to be a struggle. I'm like many men being not very out going so I will continue to try to get out and hopefully open up and make some friendships.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:51 PM   #20
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After initially trying to do everything just as Doug and I always did it, finding a lot of comfort in routine, I found after the first couple of years that I wanted to carve out travel that was more amenable to me being by myself...rather than with a partner.

Don’t be afraid to do that, when and if you’re ready.

You’re not leaving them and your memories behind, but on the continuum of living while adjusting to their loss.

The good thing and the bad thing about traveling in the same rigs as in the before, too, is that our lost partners are in every pore of those rigs, and everything inside them.

In the beginning, everything I touched and looked at I had bought when Doug was alive, or he was the last to have touched whatever.

Those early trips were grief immersion, alternately comforting and terribly painful.

It’s a process, not an event.

Maggie
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