Away - Elisabeth Klein

My sweet kids (and sweet niece) and I are on our now-annual vacation to Michigan.  Last year I wrote about vacations being hard as an almost-divorced, single mom.  And now, one year later, I am in the same place.  We are walking the same streets, going to the same restaurants, sitting on the same beach.

It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by.  Four years ago, we came here for the final time as a family of four.  Three years ago, I found a dump online (didn’t know until we got here how bad it was) and brought my children on our first just-the-three-of-us vacation.  Two years ago, we stayed at a lovely place but I have almost no memories of that time and how I felt (though if I had to guess, I wasn’t doing well).  Last year, I was a month shy of my divorce being final and I was imagining holding hands with a non-existent partner as I walked to the beach.

And then this year.  This year I’ve had no huge revelations.  This year I had hoped to let my mind rest but I am battling two legal issues that are lingering and wearing me down.  This year, we went out to eat each night and got ice cream at Nancy’s each night and my son ran to the end of the pier like he does every year.  This year, I walked the beach on my own for a bit and sat there and didn’t think deep thoughts but just let the waves lull me into a bit of a trance.

And then I walked again.  No one in sight either way.  And I had that moment when I felt so very alone.

Sometimes I love with everything in me being alone.

But this time was not just alone.  It was a deep loneliness.  And I cried.

When I was broken up from my boyfriend in college at one point, I remember thinking that it would’ve been great to take a break from him for maybe a couple years but just have the assurance of knowing that we’d get married by such-and-such a date.

I cried on the beach not so much out of a loneliness in that moment, though I was.  But I cried on the beach because I don’t know if I’m going to be walking that beach alone every year we come here for the rest of my life.

I know my kids love me. I know my family loves me. I know my friends love me. I know God loves me.  But I am alone a lot of the time, and I just may be forever.

And so I cried. I think it’s time to go home.

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