When I traveled to South America, I was afraid to wear Beth’s ring for fear I would lose it. I’ve lost a couple of my wedding rings, already. In fact, the one I wear now I bought in Africa maybe a half dozen years after I lost my previous ring. On this trip to Europe, however, I’m taking the risk.
Don’t get me wrong. I definitely am still very, very afraid of losing her ring.
However, much of this trip is so I can return to places Beth and I went on our honeymoon. So, I really want to have her ring with me.
Originally, the idea was to meet up with my little brother, Max, who will be attending a wedding in Italy, and travel around Europe. Max and I talked about some of the places he’d like to see. After I mentioned it’d be nice to take a few photos in a few of specific cities, his cities combined with mine, and it became a trip with many similarities to our honeymoon.
Sadly, I have so few photos from our honeymoon. We traveled with a small and cheap portable Olympus, and for whatever reason, I rarely took pictures. It’s really sad, now, as you’d imagine. We traveled for weeks and went to a lot of places, too. To have so few images was a failure on my part.
So, here I am, traveling around Europe looking for those places. Unfortunately, we never wrote the locations on the backs of the photos. The good news is, after a lot of research and help from the Internet, and friends, and friends’ friends, we identified many photos I thought I’d never be able to place. Andrew O’Sullivan and his friends, in particular, were amazing at narrowing down a few places for me.
I went to Bath, UK, but only for the two photos I have of Beth in that city. I also traveled to Wales for a handful of images I have from there. I rented a car and drove around Wales, just like we did on our honeymoon. Of all the places we went to, Wales was definitely her favorite.
But, we also went to Cologne for a day. So, Max and I will hit Cologne and take a total of two photos, then spend the remainder of the day relaxing. The same is true for Luxembourg and Maastricht. There’s even an island in north Holland where I hope to take one photo. And there’s a another town in Holland were I’d like to take another photo, even though the round trip would take two hours for that single image. I only have one photo from Amsterdam, but we’ll go there, as well, if we can squeeze it in. It’s a lot of travel for only one or two photos in each location, though it won’t require much time to take them.
Yes, the memories are in the distant past, and Beth is no longer with me to share those memories. Max and I will be making new memories that we can share, though, so this trip will really be more about Max than Beth, once we get to Paris, at least.
It’s insane. They’re just photos.
But, for me, they’re powerful memories. I don’t know how I’ll feel after the trip is over. I only know it’s important to me – Right now.
This could conceivably be my last trip to some of these locations. I simply want to retrieve as many of those memories, and as fully, as I can. I want to reinforce them.
I fear losing them more than I fear losing her ring.