I'm sitting here staring at the page, thinking of how to write this story. How do I convey all the different, varied feelings and events of this short trip? To be honest on one hand I struggled a bit, mostly as a result of my expectations and the way they differed from the reality of what I found. On the other I found myself I amazed at the natural beauty of my island home and spent time with great mates that I had not seen in years. There was also one other very big part of the trip that was very hard, but also very special for me. The main reason I went back was to spend time with one of the most influential and beautiful women in my life, my grandmother. The time we spent together was something I will cherish forever, but also included some of the hardest times I've had, I will expand on that in a bit.
I flew in and landed in the midst of the Christmas madness, friends and family to see, everyone frantically getting last minute shopping done, food being prepared, all amazing things but a crazy time non the less. Seeing all the friends I had not had a chance to catch up with in nearly four years was great, and was amazing meeting some new little people (of which there were MANY) .Its amazing seeing the personality of a child develop and the amazing things they come up with. It was great to be uncle josh again, and loved hanging out with my good friends Emily and Cheyne and their little girl Indie. She is such an amazing little person and it’s a special thing to see your mates loving and living life and experiencing a little of the light that shines forth every time she makes them laugh. Watching as your mate’s little girl decorates his new surfboard with the most amazing art as mom looks on, and seeing the pride and love flow forth, no words I could ever come up with can really do justice to that. I was blessed with many special times like that, both with friends and with family.
Christmas was spent with my gran and I slept there the night before so we could open presents together and I organized to Skype with family all over the world. That time to sit and talk and simply spend time with each other was absolutely priceless. That sense of history and belonging and love is something very nourishing and in the time we spent sharing I learned so very much. Both gran and George, a family friend of more than fifty years, were able to share with me life lessons and learning, only gained through the passage of time as we chatted over many, many cups of tea. Something was different this time though. Sitting there holding my grans hand or looking at them while we spoke, I was suddenly aware of how much time had passed through our lives, I saw evidence of it on their faces and in their bodies. My gran who always was somewhat larger than life in my head was now very much smaller than me in my arms and her hands felt small and fragile in mine. There was still very much that look of wisdom and love in her eyes but her movements were slower, her memory not what it used to be. The realization that they would not always be there in this form and that in the passage of life passing on is as much a part of it as is birth slowly sank into me. On one hand as a realization bringing peace and on the other brought forth a deep desire to stop time, to say I'm not ready yet to say good-bye, maybe I never will be.
After Christmas I headed over to Tobago to spend time and bring in the New Year in one of my favorite places. Things have changed quite a bit with that too and I was amazed that new years in Tobago was no longer the quiet party at a small club with the early morning sunrise viewed from one of my favorite beach, but now was a full on party with thousands of people on the beach. Well I guess nothing stays the same forever. The place we got to stay at was amazing though, looking out over the bay at Buccoo and an amazing sight to sit and take in every morning. Tobago is truly beautiful, and this time I got to experience some of the natural beauty that, even though I have spent so much time there before, I was unaware of. I spent a night up in the river hunting crayfish, walking up crystal clear streams as the light of my torch illuminated the eyes of the hiding crayfish with the starry sky visible through the break in the tree canopy above. Sprinkle this scene with the glowing and flashing of a hundreds of fireflies and with waterfalls that crashed into deep, cold clear pools and you begin to get a sense of what it was like. There are lessons to be learned out there in the forest at night. Quiet subtle ones. Another night I found myself on a stand up paddleboard, quietly stoking my way into a scene from the movie avatar. We headed into the lagoon and the further in we went the more the light of the bioluminescence ignited below us, great explosions of green erupting from our paddles, with magical flouro streaks of fish as they darted out of the way, until it was simply too much to stand apart and watch and you had to throw yourself into the mix and watch as your entire body glowed and glimmered in the amazing natural show of magic. I have seen this phenomenon while sailing, and it is one of my favorite things about sailing at night, but to be here and see your body illuminated by it, was something beyond my wildest imaginings. To top all this off, the new year was brought in not at a huge party with thousands of people, but sitting on a beach in front of a bonfire with a few awesome people, as fireworks exploded over head, and we welcomed in a new time, a year that holds so much mystery and potential for me. The high points on this trip were truly astronomical.
I returned to Trinidad early to spend more time with gran and returned to something that very quickly brought me crashing back down to earth. Her age and the passing of time was a natural thing, I could slowly grow to accept it, what broke my heart though was the pain. My gran has tri germinal neuralgia, She has battled it for years and I've know of it and of her struggle and had seen the discomfort it brings, but to see a full on attack of when it was really bad…that was something that I still don’t know how to describe. The nerves in her face essentially short circuit and send electric shocks to the face, lips and teeth; it is listed online as one of the most painful ailments known to modern medicine. To see someone you love twist in pain and be able to do nothing except hold their hand as they squeeze hard waiting for the pain to pass, what do I even say about that. I physically felt my heart hurt, and my stomach churned, until there were times when I simply felt numb and wondered why I didn’t feel more. Though I admit I am ashamed to have felt that way, I can’t explain it. The feeling and emotions that arose in me were wide and varied and I am still processing them. I am glad I was there to support and help just for a little while; in the little way I can. Whether this is good enough, I don’t know…? I changed my flights and was able to spend a little more time and help out in the little ways I could, trips to the doctor, going to the grocery, making cups of tea, small things that I hoped showed mow much she means to me. To so many people in the family and worldwide. For me and for so many others she is a light, and though it may be a little dimmer these days, that light is still there. I see it, and I feel it.
So with so many ups and downs this trip has been different, amazing, but different and has left me a lot to process. I had to return to Kuhela, again to apologize for running off, to begin the process of setting up for the next place to explore, the next adventure. There are some amazing times coming up, I have many friends coming to visit and will be working on some video and photo projects with some of them. Look forward to next few blogs, the adventure continues.
Id like to end though, with a call for anyone who should read this to take a minute out of their day to stop and send strong love and positive vibes to my gran and to anyone else out there battling with pain. I believe that this can and does make a difference and whether you call it prayer, meditation, healing, or what ever, it makes no difference. It works. Thanks so very much for reading and sharing along.