When I first decided to travel to all of the cities that Jeff saw during his European adventure last year, I was pretty excited that Prague was on the list.
Some time ago, Jeff’s dad and step-mom decided to do a once-in-a-lifetime trip with their sons. When they asked Jeff and his brother, Greg, where they would like to go, I am told that Jeff was immediate with his response: Prague, Vienna and Budapest.
So, a little over one year ago, they walked mile after mile through those three cities, with Jeff often insisting on long walks rather than trains or cabs. (Greg long ago nicknamed Jeff “the Yeti” for his long strides and love of fast-paced walking.)
There is a part of me that knew that my fiancé was dying. But I resisted that knowledge and convinced myself that he was too strong, too young, too upbeat to die, even as his shockingly aggressive cancer ravaged his body. Jeff’s ordeal with cancer was not a battle. It was an onslaught and it came out of nowhere.
While some part of me knew it would happen, watching Jeff take his last breath – not even four months after his diagnoses – broke more than just my heart. It also broke my tether to the life I was leading.
Telling people that you are headed to a yoga retreat solicits a lot of confused looks and bewildered reactions.
My colleagues said, “Jen, you do know there is yoga in Chicago, right?” My Grandfather questioned, “You are traveling to do yoga?” (audible sigh) “Oh well.”
I’m just going to come clean and say the thing that elicits gasps and open-mouthed stares. Here it is: I don’t like the beach.
Before you even ask, no, I do not hate children or puppies. I just hate sand and sunscreen, and especially the combination of sand and sunscreen.
Also, I look stupid in sun hats.
I know, I know, I’m a horrible person. Send your hate mail here.
On a recent trip to Berlin, I took some time to explore the Topography of Terror museum and found myself pushing almost anxiously through the exit doors into the December damp air outside.
Standing there on the museum steps, I attempted to absorb the hard – but necessary – lessons that I had learned about the horrors of the Nazi regime from its astonishingly swift rise to power to its institutionalization of terror to its murderous crimes across Europe and, finally, to the regime’s violent end as Berlin burned in the final days of WWII.