Friday, September 17th, was a strange day. I awoke in a beautiful hotel room, alone because Bobby had already gone off to his meeting. I felt very hazy & detached all day — just went through the motions, & tried not to watch the clock. Which, of course, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of. The afternoon ticked away, & I accompanied Bobby through a technological struggle that involved his laptop & the battery & video compression & power inverters that didn’t work. He cussed & fretted & drove all around trying to work out his issues. And I sat in the passenger’s seat & tried not to think “This time three years ago, …..”

Friday evening, Bobby & I headed to Charleston & visited Sue. She had stated earlier that she wanted to “feel normal” on the 17th this year. So we went to dinner & shared a bottle of wine & chatted about everything except what we were both consumed with. The haze continued. Mama died at 10:55pm. At 10:40pm, Sue & I simultaneously received a text message. We knew without conversation that it was Jennifer. And so it was.

Love you both a lot. Don’t know what I’d do without you. Just wanted to tell you that. I wouldn’t trade our mama for the time that we had with her for any other mother that lived til she was 90. So thankful that she made the 3 of us who we are. We are each a different piece of her. Love you sisters. And now I’m going to finish the liquor in my refrigerator.

Well said.

The next morning, the morning of our cruise, I expected an overwhelming sense of relief. Didn’t happen. I was on the verge of a meltdown throughout breakfast, but managed not to cry into my french toast. Kept telling myself to shake it off. We made our way to the port & sat in line for parking. I playfully backhanded Bobby on the arm, & he slapped me on the leg. It was normal interaction for us, something that we do often. But I completely lost it. I started sobbing, & Bobby was dumbfounded — he immediately started apologizing & I kept wailing “but you HIT me!” And then I realized that this actually had nothing to do with spousal abuse. That this complete overreaction was actually not a reaction to Bobby at all, but to the tight death-grip I had kept on my emotions all the previous day. All the crying I didn’t do on Friday came pouring out in a gush until all that was left was a few hiccuping snuffles. All I wanted to do was get on the boat, go to our cabin, & sleep it off.

The cruise, once it started, was excellent. It took a day or so to work out the kinks, but I found myself wondering again & again why we’ve waited 6 yrs to do this again. Honestly, I don’t even care about the ports or where we’re going… I’m just content to nap & read smut books by the pool. Oh, & drink an obscene amount of fruity drinks. My & Bobby’s onboard tab was astronomical — like several hundred more than the cost of the actual cruise. You may ask how two people can run up a tab like that? My answer: the ship spa & $8 drinks. I highly recommend it for whatever ails you.