I am sitting in my opulent seat, on the flight home from Rome. Our travels are almost over and if I had to describe this trip in just a word it would be wonderful. Or maybe amazing. Or otherwise perfect.
Besides those few words I have had many enlightening thoughts about many interesting topics. Religion, which was a huge part of this trip gave me great insights, and added to my growth in my personal spirituality. My gratitude quotient has grown dramatically. My understanding of the difference between people throughout the world and within our country has also grown. Some of it makes me sad with how I react to the difference between how people live. I want to explain all this and it will take time. But all in all it’s been an amazing time for Pat and I. We toured Italy, saw so many fascinating places, and met wonderful people along the way. Our tour group was a mixture of people from all over the country, with nothing in common other than affluence and a positive attitude. We all got along so well, that after the week was over there was nothing but good words spoken, hugs for everyone, and even some tears along the way. We talked during the week with almost anyone who wanted to, and we shared so much personal stuff. I love people who share with others and really enjoyed that part of it. Funny how I find it so difficult in my regular life to meet people like this and yet on this trip so many people were open. Perhaps it was because we will probably never see each other again, or perhaps it was because so many of them were older, smarter and more mature. Everyone on the trip had already arrived in their lives, and maybe all of them had nothing to feel badly about.
We met Michael and Mellanie for lunch one day in Rome. That was so important to me to meet them and we really only met them because they canceled something they had planned to but were unable to do. Our time together was great. We had lunch and talked for a long time. We got an emotional jolt on the first day in Venice, our first day of the trip when I got a message to call Jon. While we were away Jimmy died of a massive heart attack. While we were enjoying the week at home part of our family was suffering. The funeral, the wake, and all that goes with tragedy was being lived. Dave told me that Jonny stepped up and I would have been proud of him. I’m sure he did and I surely am. I was very uncomfortable being so far away during this family tragedy. In one way it was good we were out of town. I am sure that Jon grew during this past week. The harshness of life does that to people. His family will get the benefit of that growth as he learns to help support them through life. As we go home now I am excited for the future and all we have. After speaking to so many of my contemporaries on this trip I find that so many people at my stage of life are missing so many of the things I usually take for granted. Children and grandchildren living far away, lack of a spouse or partner, poor relationships, people losing their faculties. Pat and I shared a wonderful time together, and that sharing builds an excitement that is almost not containable. We will have the opportunity to share so much more. My soulmate and partner and I do life nicely together, and once again if I learned anything important it’s that I am a fortunate man to share my life with Pat.