When Cruise Memories Hurt
Written by: Kuki
Three years ago next month, as I was enjoying my last sleep on a Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship my in-cabin phone rang. It was one of those calls no one wants to get at any time; informing me my father had passed away. My father was 92 years old at the time, and all rational thoughts told me he had thankfully lived a long life, and he’d been ill for awhile, and was no longer really enjoying quality of life. Yet, emotionally, none of that mattered; I had lost my father. That morning we disembarked, headed straight to the airport, and thankfully at least made it home for the funeral… though the time it took to travel home was torturous.
Years earlier, we’d been on a cruise in the Mediterranean when a fax was delivered to our cabin, informing us Mrs. Kuki’s mother was near death. On that occassion we left the ship mid-cruise and flew home from Rome. That time as well, though we got home for the funeral, we did not gett back in time to see my Mother in law, and say goodbye, before she passed.
At the time my Mother-in-law passed, we were of course upset about being away, but viewed it more or less as a rare occurance. At that time Internet access onboard ships was still unheard of, and telephone service from onboard was incredibly expensive. In large part, because of my position as a writer for CruiseMates, we continued to cruise quite often, but as insurance, I purchased a satellite telephone, and despite the expense (which was still cheaper than the ship’s satellite phone service) wherever in the world we were, I called home every day to check on everyone.
When my father passed away while we were cruising, though the reasonable part of my mind told me it was a coincidence, I had a very difficult time convincing myself to go on another cruise. Despite all the wonderful memories I had from various cruises, the negative feeling, attaching cruising to the awful feelings of a family member dying seemed overwhelming. If not for my position with CruiseMates, I’m not certain I wouldn’t have given up cruising. It did take almost a 2 year break, before I felt mentally comfortable enough to cross another gangway.
It felt outstanding to be back at sea. My love of cruising, and my love of writing about cruising was certainly still there… alive and well.
Then, this past May I was on a Hawaiian Island cruise, on assignement from CruiseMates, when I got a call informing me that my mother was in the hospital in very serious condition, and it was uncertain if she would survive. I got home quicky and fortunately she survived that episode. But, all my misgivings about being away on cruise ships during all these life threatening events returned with a vengence. Though not logical, my mind began attaching cruising with memories of hurt, rather than happiness.
Six weeks ago, my mother was once again back in hospital in critical condition. In fact, we were told she would not likely survive. Suddenly cruising was the furthest thing from my mind. Thankfully, she proved the doctors wrong once again, and she has returned home, though in a severley weaker condtion. She wants to be in her in home, and we’re very lucky she has an outstanding live-in caregiver. I’ve had to add extra care for her, and I’m tending to all her affairs now, to keep things in order for her. So… that’s where I’ve been.
To this point I haven’t been able to even think about cruising, or writing about cruising, and that is why my weekly blog posts have been missing. But, I’ve also been missing them; missing thinking about cruising, and missing writing about cruising. It’s become a battle between somewhat irrational emotional negative response, and more reasoned thoughts about all the things I enjoy about cruising. Beginning next week, I’m hoping to get back on track and on topic, and back to sharing my “Kuki view of cruising” right here.
We all face trials and tribulations in life. No one can escape the realities of life, and the pain that can accompany it, and facing the deaths of those closest to us. It affects everyone, whether rich or poor. It’s a part of life, and while it happens, life must go on. We all mourn, and we all suffer, and yet to continue to live, we must keep putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward, and keep living and keep loving.
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Posted: October 18th, 2011 under Kuki.