29. We take care of our own

 

Everything in your shadow turns to vapor
You pierce my heart like it was paper
Radio’s crackling with the headlines
Something on your shoulder, winds in the phone line
American beauty will you be mine
Out on this highway counting white lines

Springsteen, American beauty

 

The untimely passing of my son’s mother changed many things, our immediate plans among them. At that time, he was just 18 and already his life had changed forever. There was simply no way I was going to make things worse by flitting off permanently to another country.

Until he was able to stand on his own two feet, we were going to have to continue to make do with visits rather than starting our new life together. This was a hard pill to swallow, but what sort of parent puts their own happiness before the welfare of their child (actually, Jersey girl knows only too well the answer to that particular question, but I can’t really write about that at present).

All of this really hit home for me upon my return from that third visit. The depth of the depression that I suffered in the weeks following was profound. I don’t mean suicidal depression, more a sort of helpless hopelessness that filled my soul with ennui and despair. And Jersey girl was finding it no less difficult.

And so, in order to stave off a total meltdown, I began planning the next visit immediately. As soon as I could, I booked for the following summer and the long countdown began. Knowing the tickets were taken care of calmed me down quite a bit. It was still hard being so far from her, but not so uncertain.

The months of waiting were interminable, but finally, the day arrived and I was off. I have to say those flights were all amazingly incident free, not one hiccup or delay. And this time, I went through Dallas instead of LA, which was a huge improvement from my perspective.

I left on Friday morning and arrived Friday evening (don’t you love international time zones?) And when I stepped through those exact same doors at Philadelphia international, there was my gorgeous girl.

What a sight for tired old eyes.

A combination of too long contained desire and tinted windows delayed our departure from the airport parking lot somewhat, but we were soon cruising home to Jersey, windows down (except for that one nasty spot just out of Philly) and the balmy night breeze in our grinning, blissful faces.

Photo series: Lights of Philadelphia

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All images featured in this post are my own

©2015

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