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I can’t decide whether taking the Greyhound bus back to Mesa was such a brilliant idea.

What it’s turning out to be is a painful reminder of the hundreds of miles I walked through Arizona, the motels I stayed in, and the many places where I stopped to eat, camp, and rest. It might also be a cruel method of forcing me to relive a journey that ended prematurely.

I learned long ago that regardless of what you say to a grieving person, he or she still has to continue through the process until the grief resolves. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the outpouring of support, caring, and love I have received. Of course I do. But my feelings are mine and they are very real. There is not a person I know who cannot recall in a heartbeat a significant loss or failure that took time to heal.

I have a personal theory I call “The Half-life of Disappointment.” It basically says that the deeper a disappointment, loss, or failure is, the longer it takes to recover from it. In time I’m sure I’ll recover from my disappointment. No one was harmed, no one has died, and the money I spent has trickled down into the economy. I have memories that will last a lifetime, and I’ve met people with whom I developed special relationships. I even learned how to navigate basic social media.

But riding on the bus through towns I’ve recently walked through has brought it all home with an impact I could not have anticipated. I feel as if I’m living the last few weeks of my life in reverse and in fast-motion.

The cost of shipping my kart and belongings home was, ironically, more than the cost of my own bus and plane fares! (That’s one reason doing a segmented walking trip over a period of years is not practical.) But cost aside, while this journey is possible to complete, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There’s no rational or plausible reason to do it. (I’m reminded of José Jimenez as the astronaut who is planning a journey to the sun. His solution to the sun’s intense heat is that he’ll land at night.)

I still wake up at various hours of the night thinking, “I could have done it if…” Yet some things are just not meant to be. I gave it my best shot. But while I couldn’t make it happen, I certainly had an incredible adventure. Thank you for being with me on this journey. I am truly blessed.

@ Lake Merritt, Oakland, California

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