Thorns and Roses

My final thoughts on this trip are complicated. There were many ups and downs (thorns and roses), but there was a huge turning point for me. I shared something very personal, that I wasn’t even really sure I wanted to. But the people I have met on this trip are amazing and trustworthy.

On March 18th, I received the worst phone call of my life so far, a phone call that meant I wouldn’t be able to see my favorite person in the world anymore. And it still hurts so bad to write that. He was Robert Autobee, my Uncle, but also a father to me. I still can’t believe he’s not here for me to share this experience with. And every time I find something in a shop that he would love, it crushes me to know there would be no receiver of it. Other than missing wife and family, this has been the biggest thorn in my being here. Almost everything still reminds me of him. I have this beautiful picture of him sitting up on the nightstand to remind to do my best every day. And as a little bonus so I don’t cry too much in this post, here is a picture of me in my New College scarf, and my bear that was made for me from one of my Uncle’s t-shirts with his own little scarf:


So coming into this trip, I wanted to do everything by myself. I wanted to be alone, and to reflect, and to heal. And to some extent, that did happen, but what I didn’t expect was to grow so close to everyone around me. I have met the most wonderful people on this trip, and even before I revealed what was going on with me, they made me feel welcome. I was allowed to be by myself when I needed, and I was always able to join in when I wanted, and it meant the world to me. As an older, queer, married, and grieving individual, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and understanding group to navigate my way through six weeks of a new world and homesickness. And I will be forever grateful to what I have gained here on this tiny island 4,600 miles away from Colorado. Here is a lovely picture of some of the said group of people as well as my favorite picture of me and my wife:

To end this blog, I want to look at a piece of writing I did in my tutorial. One of the characters in the story told my main character, “Don’t forget to find the new moments. Don’t forget to find something new that is irreplaceable. Or you will drown in the energies of what isn’t there.” and I have to admit, when I wrote it, I didn’t even think about how that was my own subconscious telling me the same thing and not just one fictional character to another. But now I get. Nothing will ever replace him, and it will never stop hurting, but it becomes a little easier to bear when you have so much new love surrounding you.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings, I hope I managed to make something of some sort of value to people. And never feel like you have to trek through any hardship alone. Here’s one final picture to sign me off:




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