My Work Here Is Done


Six months after Shel died I decided to give myself the gift of three months in France, to see whether I might be able to drop back into the life he and I shared here. Now, three weeks before that three months is up, I realize that I’ve found the answer.

I’ve worked hard to perfect my French, although I’m still a long way from where I’d like to be. I’ve gathered our friends together to commemorate Shel’s life, buried his ashes in one of his favorite spots. I’ve spent time with our dear friends, and have more of that planned. I’ve walked the streets we used to walk together, here in our little town, and I’ve discovered some that we never found. I’ve shopped where we used to shop, parked where we used to park, had coffee where we used to sit in the sun together. I’ve seen things that have changed in the year since we were last here together, I’ve been showered with heartfelt condolences and countless kisses, and I’ve felt the ghosts of our enormous past happiness all around me.

Past happiness, that’s what I feel here. Past. I could retreat into that past, but that doesn’t sound like much of a future. And what I don’t feel is that my future lies here, although I can’t yet articulate why. I’ll always be fiercely attached to this place, this language and culture, and especially these friends, some of whom I love beyond reason. I wish I could drag them into the future with me, even though I don’t know where my future is, or what it may hold. Je cherche mon chemin dans la vie I’ve said countless times, when people asked whether I were going to stay. I’m looking for my path in life. And that’s still true.  I just think that I won’t find it here.

That’s what I came to find out, and I feel fortunate to have found an answer. I do believe in never saying never, so maybe some circuitous route will bring me back. But for now I’m waiting to go home, to start looking all over again for that path to future happiness. Pourvu que ça existe. Here’s hoping it’s out there somewhere.

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14 Comments on “My Work Here Is Done”

  1. Ujwala Says:

    Truer words Abra. Good luck with your future directions…

  2. LuAnne Wiles Says:

    So good that you’re listening to your heart (or whatever part of you is whispering to you). I wish you a beautiful journey of discovery.

  3. Varsha Says:

    Abra, I love reading your letters. They are genuine and touch my heart. I feel fortunate to have known shel and you.

  4. Cindy Says:

    The first year is the hardest. I’m so proud of you for going back to France. I would have probably stayed home and cried. You needed those friends, in that place, over the Holidays, to grieve and think. And now you know that it was good but time to come home. Who knows what is next to come for you, I just know that you’re going to be just fine.

  5. Hi Abra, Beautiful to hear your journey. I remember, about 7 months after Jim passed, I started making plans to leave “our place.” I left 5 months later and moved to the city. It was funny because I started looking for a house to buy soon after, as I got started getting our home ready to sell. Then I remembered I had a place in town already, a duplex which was rented, which I had bought for myself years back, “just in case” I needed to live in town again. It was a familiar neighborhood, but not too familiar. There I started over, in 2008. Blessings to you, Abra.

  6. Leanne Says:

    I have never met you and not even sure how I came across this on facebook. What a beautiful letter. Thank you so much for sharing. I have lost loved ones, a child, a sister, a bother in law, parents in law, grandparents….not my spouse who is my life partner. Hold onto those memories and take those steps of rediscovery. Your letter brought me tears, but then a smile. I wish you peace and joy.

  7. Janis Cohen Says:

    Abra, you are so thoughtful and such a fine person. David and I trust your decision and wish you the very best as you move on.

  8. Barbara Jacquin Says:

    Your future will find you; just take your time, one step at a time.

  9. barrytwyman Says:

    A dear friend from Toronto trod the same path Abra, and found the same truth . Unless we force ourselves to tread the stony path we can never be at peace . I hope I see you again , here or there or wherever . Thank you for letting me be a tiny part of your Life xx

  10. Dear Abra,
    what an amazing experience and journey this must have been for you and still is. I find it so wonderful that you made this huge step and facing the past and the wonderful time you had with your love.
    The path you are going to face now will be of course different to the one you were walking on together with Shel. Different, at the beginning maybe strange and uncomfortable, but it will provide new experiences, new friends, new amazing places and people for you.
    Take care!
    Yours Markus

  11. Alfred jacobs Says:

    The next chapter is waiting for you. Just listen.

  12. Xavier McMillian Says:

    Bravo Abra. The future is waiting for you. Bon Courage.

  13. Sue Geisler Says:

    Your future lies in using your many skills and talent with food. Start a cookbook, get back into the kitchen and develop some new dishes – cherish the “children” and get a kitten or a puppy or both so you have a “companion” that will give you unstoppable love and comfort when the days are grim.r

  14. You sound very coragous. I hope you find your future as your spending time travelling.

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