love letter to erik #10

another sleepless night, another morning flight. soon i'll begin the journey to los angeles. i'll be there for a week to do more paperwork, and of course, the burial at sea, which will be on sunday morning at 8:00. after that, not sure where i'll go, but i feel the need to find a quiet place to contemplate all that's happened and just be. feeling very reluctant to go anywhere we'd been to together or had planned on going to together as i imagine it will be too painful to go without you. any thoughts on this? any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

packing to leave tawau was not the easiest. had already gone through your stuff several days ago. tried not to linger too much on every item but found myself staring at each of your knick-knacks, piece of clothing, collection of "macgyver tools" and electronics, remembering when you got it, where and why. living with so little, as you and i have done for so long, meant each thing had a purpose, a reason to be in our bags. that's what made it so hard! even though we've gone through this exercise many times before whenever we hit the road, i still get attached to stuff and find them hard to let go. you'll be proud though because i only took the bare minimum and donated the rest to tracc as i'm sure they'll find these things far more useful. have to admit i did keep the best bits for myself and will carry them around with me until i no longer can or i feel i no longer need to.

went back to the hospital one last time to say good-bye to the families of the icu patients and to the doctors and nurses who treated you so well. once there, it was difficult to leave as there were so many warm embraces and so many photos taken. chatted with one of the doctors and a couple of the nurses, and the tears just started rolling down my face without warning, and of course this meant more hugs. seems all i need to do is drop a tear, and i get hugs galore! i'll have to tuck that away in a safe place for future reference for those times when i really need it.

the lump in my throat has been growing ever larger and the heaviness in my heart has been getting more and more cumbersome as i get ready to go. such mixed emotions. it still hurts to think of why i'm here, but yet i'm going to miss the smiling people who've become family to me, the "long house" apartment that was my home, and the beautiful moments shared with the pom pom tribe. can't help but wonder if i'll ever be able to come back…

see you in l.a.,

xo t