Recently, at dinner out with friends, Mrs. Kuki mentioned she hadn’t been on a cruise in two years, and commented that she was missing it.
It wasn’t at all surprising to hear that she misses it, as at one point we’d been cruising 4 to 6 times a year. It was however surprising to be reminded that it has been two years.
I knew in late spring 2010, after a bit of a lenghty self imposed hiatus, I had sailed on a press trip on Holland America’s Veendam to Bermuda without her, and in June a very short trip to Venice, Italy for the inauguration ceremonies of the Nieuw Amsterdam, also without her. While I did those two solo trips, I had also turned down several cruises for writing assignments.
But, when Mrs. Kuki mentioned it had been two year since we cruised together, I was rather taken aback. I just hadn’t thought much about it, but I figured there had to be a reason. She’s a wonderful and helpful cruisemate, so I really had to give some thought to the reasons for the big gap.
It’s rather amazing what the human mind can do, and what it might hide in it’s depths. After a bit of thought the reasoning become quite obvious, and was really quite simple.
Two years ago we were on cruise, and on the last night of the cruise I received a phone call in the cabin telling us my father had passed away. A couple of days earlier we were told he was ill, and did look at leaving the ship in Belize and attempt to leave the ship from there. The timing of flights that would have got us home was such, that we would have got home one day earlier than waiting until the end of the cruise. After some discussion (with my father speaking to us by telephone, telling us to stay on the cruise) we made the decision to stay onboard until the end of the cruise. Early in the morning of disembarkation we received the call that he had passed away.
He was 92 years old when he passed away, and had been ill for a time, so none of this really came as a shock, and I think I took the news in stride, as something inevitable. I was home for the funeral with my family, and went through what I felt was a rather normal mourning period, and I felt I handled it pretty well.
Now, two years later I realize the impact of my not being there to say goodbye had been much more significant. I realize that deep within me I feel guilty for being on a ship, and not being there. I realize that what I thought was perhaps my loss of interest in cruising, was in fact my reaction to that guilt.
Though I wasn’t cruising, I didn’t resign my position at CruiseMates, and I kept watching developments in the industry, and I kept writing my weekly Blog. So, obviously I was reluctant to severe my attachment to cruising completely.
This month, aside from being the second anniversary of my father’s death, is also the 30th anniversary of the date Mrs. Kuki I were married. I’m convinced that I found the only woman on earth who’d have put up with me for 30 years. I feel bad that my buried emotions kept her away from cruising, which I know she loves as much as I do.
In February that drought is going to end, when we board the Sapphire Princess with almost 100 cruisemates for the 5th Let’s Get Lei’d CruiseMates Group Cruise. I want to reward her for the hiatus that I forced upon her, with a fabulous time. And I’m curious as to how I’ll react to cruising with her again.
The human psyche is obviously very complicated. I’ll be filing daily reports from the ship for CruiseMates, and this time it might be an interesting read because of the twist; seeing what, if any, effect my emotional baggage has on the trip.
When you lose a loved one, eventually life must go on. Mourning and missing lost loved ones are really two different things. We’ll see if in the time away, I’ve healed enough to know the difference.
For next week’s Blog I’ll be back to writing about my thoughts and observations on the cruise industry. This week’s was an excercise in therapeutic reflection for me; missing my father while remembering the joy of having spent the past 30 years with Mrs. Kuki.
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