Gus was in “remission” Easter of 2012. We celebrated the promise of that “new beginning” with an Easter egg hunt that had the kids solving mathematical clues and riddles to get to the big prize, a money filled golden egg. We took pictures of our three boys as usual, Gus there in the middle of his two much taller brothers, all smiles. I took a tentative breath and thanked God for another miracle. This time the miracle would not give us eight more years but just a few more months. Soon he complained of leg pain again. Soon he was back in chemo. Soon he was gone.
We planned to start “Our Camino” on Easter of 2013 not only because we could not bear to be home but because we were in-fact starting anew. Not all beginnings are happy and bright we’ve since discovered but they are beginnings nevertheless. A beginning we chose to greet with a saddened smile but a smile still in his honor . The following is a chronicle of our journey last year as originally posted privately to our closest family and friends (minus the grammatical and spelling errors). I hope it helps someone.
WE ARE WALKING – March 28, 2013
In just a few hours we will embark on “Our Camino”. We are likely over packed and under-prepared but excited and anxious. Why walk? After the year we’ve had why not just sit on a remote tropical island beach, staring off into the horizon sipping on fruity drinks? Because we can’t. In one of his first sermons after being elected Pope Francis said “Walking, our life is a journey and when we stop there is something wrong”. So we will walk. We will walk to try to move away from the pain of so much loss and towards the promise of our reunion. We will walk to honor the physical challenges that Gus endured without complaint or bitterness. We will walk to know that moving forward does not mean leaving him behind. We will walk because if we stop, we may never get up again. How appropriate that our “Camino” begins Easter Sunday.
Gus & His Nana – Both lost to us in June of 2012
Gus & his Great-Grandfather Juan who followed him to heaven in February of 2013.
WAITING TO WALK – March 30, 2013
Funny thing to say “waiting to walk” but we are. After almost twenty-five hours of planes and trains we arrived in Sarria (pronounced “sorry-uh”) early – very early Saturday morning. The train station, a smallish building that kind of looked like a house, was encased in fog just like in the movies. We were surprised to discover we’d been traveling with a number of other “pilgrims” who immediately took off on their journey. For a second we were a little embarrassed that our backpacks were inside the two enormous bags we dragged while they carried nothing more than their backpacks and that we were headed straight for our hotel while they hit the road after the long journey from Madrid. However, a quick whiff of myself got me over that bit of humiliation only to be replaced by the even bigger humiliation of just how loud two rolling bags can be over cobble stone streets. We are happy to report however that we do not appear to have awoken anyone (at least no one yelled at us) and that we were immediately given our room despite arriving far too early for check-in (no doubt they got a whiff of us too). We were able to take a nap, shower and eat before heading out to look around town and purchase our pilgrim shells. We will commence walking tomorrow because we intend to start walking refreshed and looking good!