Traveling with Grief

I’m duplicating this from my Mexican blog. I posted this three years ago today.

I have learned through the years that bad news has a greater dimension when I receive it in a foreign country. I am a long way from home. There are people who “love” me – but do they really? Or are they situational friends?

A few days ago I received a shocking call. A close friend died. I had visited her before leaving and thought she was on the mend. My immediate response was shock. I called my husband to talk with him. While we were on the phone(I was crying) one of my little lurkers rode up on his bicycle. Distractedly I patted his head and he rode away.

My little lurkers are never far from me.

I was walking back to my little casita when the boys reappeared. Que pasa?“, they clamored.

I put my arm around the older one and told him what had happened. “I just heard that my friend died. I am very sad. I’m going to go home and cry.”

Suddenly, I had a motorcade – a strange assortment of bicycles, skateboards, and scooters. The older of my friends was in charge. When we arrived home, I unlocked the door and brought out the paper and colors. The kids know that they aren’t to come in the house and so I went in and sat in my hammock with my computer. My only recourse was to write.

Soon Juan Carlos peeked around the corner of the open door. He crept in and sat on the chair next to me, touching my arm lightly. I let him be there, happy for the comfort. Gradually, he oozed to the other side of the hammock, unrolled my yoga mat, and arranged himself next to me. He sat quietly, patting my arm or leaning his head lightly against it. Periodically he would rise and check on the other boys who sat outside quietly drawing pictures.

Shannon at the beach
Shannon is always there for me.

The next afternoon when I spent some time at my favorite enramada, shedding a tear with a long-time friend from Idaho who was visiting for a few days. We were huddled over my grief.


My waiter friend, Pancho, came to see if I was okay. I told him that I was sad because my friend had died and that I just needed him to give me a hug whenever he saw me. (He is a big hunk of a man who is younger than my children – but can hug like my husband.) Since that day he has crossed the sand to hug me each time I have walked through on the way to the beach or have sat at a table. He comforts me.

Xochilt and I go back forever….

Xochilt and I

Saturday morning my little newlywed friend arrived. She wanted me to talk with her about my friend and show her photos. Even with the language barrier we understood each other fully. She cried with me. Laughed with me. Wiped my tears. And comforted me.

Even a young volunteer couple from Europe check in with me when they see me.

Yes, I have friends here who care. I’ll be fine until I get home.

Hasta pronto


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