It had been a rough adjustment, coming back from my trip to Spain. I wasn't surprised, it's never easy coming back to the reality of working after a vacation. But this time was especially difficult.
My son Ryan had a serious car accident in October. It was the phone call no parent wants to get. A nurse in the emergency room was calling on his phone and wouldn't tell me anything except that he was stable.
I raced to the nearby hospital and when I saw him laying in a gurney in a cervical collar I thought my worst fears for him would be true. But he was lucky, in the end, and survived the crash with six fractures but no permanent damage.
That, among other things, was making 2016 an awful year for me and my family. I had been feeling restless, unsatisfied with my current life. I had it good in many ways: an excellent job as a nurse in surgery at a good hospital. A few close friends, healthy family, and I lived in a beautiful part of California that many people came to for vacations. It wasn't my circumstances that made me restless, it was me. I have been accused of needing to change everything up every few years, and I felt like that was true then more than ever.
David and I had kept in touch. That is actually an understatement. We were in contact, mostly by text, several times a day. After only having known each other for a week in Spain it seems like a lot. But I felt a connection with him, and of course I was fascinated by his life style.
David had sailed the Shalona down from the Edinburgh area of Scotland just the summer before. He had been close to the ocean all his life, his father a fisherman. After many years as a fisherman himself, and a ship's engineer, and then a rough neck and derrick man on oil rigs in the North Sea, the Falkland Islands, the Gulf of Mexico and the USA, he sold most of his stuff and set off to Spain, fulfilling his dream.
Fall was becoming winter and on the day before Thanksgiving I was preparing to take my son and I to my father's house for the holiday when his wife Pam let us know that she was taking him to the hospital. By the time Ryan and I got there the next morning it was clear he would never be the same again.
The next three days where a blur of misery. He had had a massive stroke followed by a heart attack. He lasted just long enough for my brother to arrive from Thailand to say goodbye, never having regained consciousness. My beloved father was gone.
The only comfort was that we were together; my sister Valerie, my son, my Dad's wife Pam, John and Danika, and me. We supported each other through this.
During this time David was a stanchion to me. His kindness and compassion where endless. I was awash in grief and couldn't go an hour without crying uncontrollably. A few days after my father's death he told me on the phone that he was booking a flight to California to be with me. I was amazed that he would come across the world to be with someone he had only known such a short time. But he came. And our relationship deepened.
David was a consolation to me, when I was unconsolable. Despite the sad time, we eventually had a good time together in San Francisco, and six nights later he left, back to Scotland.