But there was a difference this year - and maybe a lesson to be learned.
Our very first international Camp Widow was taking place in Toronto on September 26-28 and I decided to make a stop in Michigan on my way there. That meant an extra busy few weeks at work before I left. And being the procrastinator that I am, packing was left to the weekend before my flight. I didn't plan on my car needing to go in for repair and having to get a rental - and the extra time the afternoon before my flight to return the rental and pick up my car. But that actually turned into a blessing, as there was no time to dwell on the September what-ifs.
Jeremy came with me ... to see family AND to help me by volunteering at Camp Widow. It was good. Really good. Although I'm not sure he enjoyed sitting through the long reunion lunches with my elementary and high school friends - but his reward was a University of Michigan football game on Saturday to make up for it. Not a great year for the Wolverines but we had fabulous seats and it was my first time in the Big House. And it stormed. Thunder, lightning, heavy rain, flooding, 60mph winds, hail ... oh Michigan, I remember you so well.
So staying really busy was helpful in keeping those hard memories at bay. We said goodbye to family on the 21st and drove across the Ambassador Bridge to Windsor, Ontario. I purposely chose to not be with family or friends on the 4 year anniversary of Vern's death. I wanted that time to myself ... to walk along the riverfront, to remember, to be grateful for the years we had together. But that's not how it turned out. Instead we were grilled by Customs, interrogated by Immigration, nearly not allowed in the country, late arriving at the hotel, even later returning the car after finally finding the airport. Oh Canada ... what a welcome. Was there a lesson somewhere in there? Yes, I think there was.