Thursday, June 16, 2011

Streets of San Francisco

Castro and Market

I just returned from a brief trip back to San Francisco. It was a business trip, not one that I had chosen on my own. The week before starting my new job, I was told that I needed to attend a training, and was a bit thrown off when told where it would take place. I decided that the universe was telling me that it was time to walk some of those familiar streets once again.

People have been asking me a lot lately if I miss San Francisco. After all, I did live there for about 25 years. I give the same answer every time.


I think I surprise people by my response. I then try to fill in some of the missing blanks for those that ask. "When I move on, I move on." It's not really a cop out, it's really the truth. I don't miss it, and I have moved on. I'm also keenly aware that by not missing it, I don't fall into the pitfall of doing any reminiscing. No reminiscing means not having to remember more than I want to. It's not that I don't have fond memories, as I have a lot of them. It's just that they still feel like harsh reminders of what was, and what no longer is.

I approached the return with careful planning. I arranged to visit with a couple of very close friends, and otherwise did not tell a soul that I would be in town. This allowed me to focus my energy on the training courses that I was sent for, and to enjoy the company of my new coworkers who were there with me. I became a bit of a den mother, taking them to a couple of nice spots for dinner and drinks. It was a good time for bonding, and a good distraction from what could have been an emotionally loaded occasion.

There was a bit of an awkward moment when out with a few of the gang, and was asked what the tattoos on my arm symbolized. They were surprise to see my arm covered in ink, as I always cover up for work. I began my explanation about the loss I experienced, and was standing in a bar just down the street from where Michael and I met as I spoke. It was clear from their faces that my new friends were completely blown away by what I was sharing. It was actually a cathartic moment, sharing this with them over a drink, then being able to move forward with some fun and laughter for the rest of the night.

What was also nice were the surprise encounters everywhere I went. I must admit, it was rather sweet to be walking down the street, cross a bar room, or enter a building, and be met by familiar smiling faces. With each chance encounter was a look of joy at the opportunity to catch up with me.

I returned home late last night, and felt like it was a good trip over all. Today, though, has been a different matter. Today I have been feeling so down, and deeply depressed. It's clearly one of those "day after" situations. These occurred often during my first year of grieving. I would have all this anticipated worry about days that felt loaded, only to get through them relatively well. Then, the day after would arrive, and all the emotions that had been held back would on in full force. It's text book really.

Anyway, my point is that I was able to recognize it this evening. Rather than worry too much about what I am experiencing, I am able to put it into perspective. I have learned that the pain, or sorrow, cannot be passed off completely when re-experiencing the past. But, no matter how tough that day after can be, the days that follow do get better, and perspective is regained.


  1. Your experiences with returning to old home turf parallel some of mine. Do I miss my old farm and community? No. Not at all. Being in the area is somewhat difficult but doable. Mixture of some sad, but also seeing a few chosen friends is nice. My return here or to the SW feels good each time. I usually feel sad for a day or two, but I shake it off - quickly. One or two good shakes and I am rid of most of the residue as I move on.

  2. I think it was nice that you could "go back" in that type of situation. I think the "day of" we are ready and on guard and that night our subconcious kicks in and remembers all that we were guarding against and we wake up feeling we have relived it all over again.

  3. Dan, when I saw the title of this post, my heart sank, but I should have known that you would have approached this trip with wisdom and careful thought ... I'm so glad that it worked out for you, and especially happy that you've shared Michael with your new colleagues. They are going to love you (but not as much as I do ;-) xxx

  4. Interesting about the "day after" concept. My boys and I got through the week before Father's Day mostly OK, with some tough moments in between. The actual day was fine, but I noticed I was sort of going through the plans we had to honor their dad w/o much emotion... It was a little strange. Then the day after, WWIII struck our house. Yes, the day after... I think you're on to something.

    I hope the days after your day after have been treating you well.