The Spanish Oasis

Five years ago today Catherine headed to Spain. The trip was something of a miracle, an oasis in the middle of cancer-times that, despite myriad worries about myriad things, turned out wonderfully.

She was gone, after extending the trip mid-stream, for almost a month, starting in San Sebastian with our friend Cindy for the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, then on to Seville, and ending in Bilbao.

Her last week in Bilbao was, by all reports, transcendent: she was befriended by the owner of a high-end clothing boutique, and through that connection introduced to a fascinating slice of the city’s creative class. She ate tapas at every turn, spent time at the Guggenheim, and just wandered and wandered.

There were more reasons not to take that trip than there were reasons to go, including that she had only the most basic travel medical insurance, and that her back was in constant severe pain. But it was something she needed to do; I think we both knew it was going to be her last great trip, and, despite the challenges, I think we both knew from the beginning there was no way she wasn’t going to do it.

Here at home the trip served another role, a preview, of a sort, for the inevitable time when Olivia and I would be living on without her. It was a trial by fire, but we did it, and in doing the fear of what life would be like after Catherine died was lessened just a tiny bit: we knew we could survive, at least logistically, on our own.