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The Camino Adventure: Day Sixteen

Tuesday October 8th 2019

French Fries

Today is my last day in Paris France as tomorrow we fly back home. This has been an incredible journey and one I'll be reeling and reflecting on for sometime. New doors have opened and old wounds have closed. There's a new air on the horizon. I'm still here and feel more alive then I can remember. 

Last night we enjoyed a special dinner cruise; eating delicate and decadent French cuisine all the while spotting an array of Paris landmarks. Of course we saw the Eiffel Tower again lit up in splendor, the palace square, the Louvre and the heartbreaking skeleton of the Norte Dome cathedral. It was plainly the most romantic evening I could of dreamed up. Except I had no romance seated with me. However I was surrounded by new colleagues, and my sisters clientele which were a raucous and friendly bunch. We had a blast.

As the boat was going around the bend I saw the miniature Statue of Liberty, gorgeous and ornate. The design is clearly French when you think about it. Feminine, and strong. This elegance and powerful petiteness is a Paris distinctive in my opinion, it reminded me in a strange way of my mother. It makes sense why the French people disliked the American gift of the Eiffel Tower. It's so rustic and sharp. The French seem to love curves and narration above all else. Everything architecturally here has an obvious story to it. While the Eiffel Tower is visually striking it does feels out of step taste wise. Nonetheless I think it's beautiful! 

At the end of the cruise I popped outside the boat as we rested one last time to look at the Eiffel Tower. A lovely woman was seated on a corner looking up. She was smoking a cigarette as her eyes flooded with tears. She genuflected and muttered a prayer to herself in French. I had stolen a very private moment she was having. But my heart could somewhat relate. The evenings beauty drew out certain longings for prayers unanswered. Sometimes the sweetest of times are sour and sometimes the sourest of times are sweet.

Today my sister took me to the Sacred Heart Cathedral. The only place in Paris that from my experience revivals the skyline view of the Eiffel Tower. It's just breathtaking! This was a nice perk from our mornings task of releasing some of my mother's ashes in a garden near the Eiffel Tower. My mother loved Paris! She dreamed of the place so much. I think she always wish she was French. We had placed some of her ashes in a garden nearby and hugged each other as we said a prayer out loud. Today was about letting our mother go, about finding peace.

We stepped inside a cafe to warm up and enjoyed some coffees. We shared about our mother and how we wished we could see her again. And for the first time I had a painful revelation about my mother. I could of seen an illness in a million other people and I would of treated them differently. My mother was ill and she saw the world in an almost childlike way. With her reality distortion she wasn't lying, she believed the world to be the way she dreamed it. In a way like the famous and tragic painter Van Gough, the artist that created “A Starry Night” he literally saw the world differently. It was her escape and it was her life. It was also one of the many gifts she had given to me. I'm a dreamer and warm to absolute strangers. The friendships I made on The Camino are a reminder of how much my mother is alive in me. My mother was beautiful, delicate and high energy. There will never be another like her but inside me and all her children remain a spark of who that wonderful dreamer and warm person was. My mother wasn't perfect, clearly but today I've made my peace with my childhood wounds from the woman that brought me into this world.

By lunch time we were craving something more familiar than the rich French cuisine. We walked into a Five Guys burgers and fries. And as silly as this sounds. It was my sister and I warming up after a rainy and emotionally exhausting day enjoying some French fries and a soda that it completely kicked in. My journey has been about many things but none greater than healing. I miss my mom. I forgive her and I know in my heart she forgives me and that I will someday see her again.

I love you mommy and I always will.