If you came here because you saw the amazing video on the New York Times site, welcome. This site is a travel blog that charts our many trips to fantastic international (and a few domestic) destinations. Inside, you can find our (more or less) complete list of trips.
Our travel blogs are done in real time, with only a few exceptions. I post every day we are on the road, and there are always pictures. If you have been following our journey all along you already know this. Thank you for the love and support you’ve shown us.
We were approached by the New York Times and a sponsor (Holiday Inn) to do a short video this summer, about our journeys across the earth and through the grief and pain of Trish’s death.
It was an amazing experience, mostly because the producers, Blue Chalk Media, did an amazing job capturing the essence of our experience.
Humans deal with grief with stories. We construct an internal account that explains the cold hard randomness of the universe. It’s a coping mechanism. We have several (circus, rock and roll) but the most important is the travel narrative: We are fulfilling her legacy and keeping her in our memory by overcoming our fears and exploring the surface of the planet.
Seeing it captured so beautifully in my daughters’ words on film is validation that it’s become our identity. It’s not just a gimmick. It’s real to us. Lily said to us afterward “I can’t believe I dove in the water. I don’t know if I could even have done that if Mommy was alive!”
And the shoot was cathartic for the girls. They have been in talk therapy since Trish passed, and that’s been incredibly helpful. But they do it seperately and in a clinical context – the therapists office. Here, they were (at first forced) to talk about their relationship to their mom right outside the spot she was buried, or on a boat after a scuba dive. And they talked together, hearing what each other felt. This is only a 5 minute video, but we have hours of amazing dialog from both girls.
Blue Chalk has given me all the original footage of their interviews. Imagine how valuable that will be to them as adults? One of the biggest things kids ask as adults when their parent died young is “What was I like when it happened?” This will answer that. I wish all grieving children could get this blessing.
But perhaps the most amazing thing about the Florida shoot, was the role my new partner Amanda played. Amanda has been in my life for over a year, and she’s been a growing (and welcome!) presence in the girls lives. She came with us on the trip and was in the words of the producers ‘a saint’.
She helped us with the gear, she was there for a hug when I needed it and knew exactly when to lighten the mood or let it stay somber. Emma, Lily and Amanda all seperately said to me on that trip – “we feel like a family now’. Amanda’s ability to be supportive and loving of all three of us, even when we are dealing with grief and loss of our lost mom and wife, is saintly. I’ve come to realize from that experience, that Amanda loves Trish too.
The effects of this documentary video on all of us have been profound. To have it posted on a venerable site like the New York Times, is nothing short of amazing. Trish’s impact is wider than she could ever have imagined.
Keep travelling, collect stories, live vibrantly.
Thanks David! Beautifully said as always.
This week would have been our 38th wedding anniversary. However, that was not going to be happening. At the age of 38, the love of my life was killed instantly in a fiery one car crash. Our children were Ages 1 and 4. Our marriage had been magic up till then. 15 years of travel and music and fun and love.It seemed as though we had it all. Then, a knock on the door at midnight changed my world forever. I called my friend, Mark. He was so supportive. There had been a rapist in our neighborhood and he had not been caught. I was afraid of being alone with the kids. All of my world had been shaken and I was afraid. He said that he would move in with us and help take care of the boys. He is fearless and sweet and optimistic, and I needed him. My late husband was a Network Freelance TV Camera-man. He flew off on the weekends and did sports, then stayed home with the boys during the week while I brought home the bacon in Advertising. It was a good life.
Mark brought his two daughters to live with us, Heather and Amanda. Heather was 12 and Amanda was 14. I know that it was pretty much a nightmare to be thrust into a situation where there is such profound grief in the house. As teens, they had to suddenly acclimate to a new house, new people, new little brothers. We became a blended family. The girls worked really hard to make a horrible situation better- to, in small ways, help us get patched back up to be a new family. I could never expect them to understand the enormity of the loss, but of course it was the elephant in the room- for a long, long time- I guess for as long as they were living under our roof. I was pretty crazy. I went on a music festival binge- anything to try an feel grounded again. We all just pressed on through the difficulties of teen years mixed with a grieving step-mom.
It’s not something that goes away.
When I look at your incredibly interesting and extraordinary photos and adventures, I am struck by two things. First, you are so smart to get the kinds of therapies that the girls are getting- this is great for you all as a family. It’s the best thing. The rituals that you do to preserve the love and family and memories with Trish- these are so powerful and healing and beautiful. I feel as if I know and love the person that she was and she lives on in her family- what a beautiful tribute to her greatness!
Secondly, I could not help but see the irony here with Amanda. She has come to your family at the exact age that I was blessed with she and her sister and dad. Your girls are close to the age that they were when they came to me.
There was one beautiful photo of Emma and Amanda (Spain, I think)- Emma had a look on her face that I had seen on Amanda’s face at that age- and I then realized what an amazing trick the universe has played- the universe has made Amanda uniquely qualified to understand this pain. She is a smart woman, creative, bright, optimistic like her father. She is also sweet, caring and giving, creative, fun and insightful. (not to mention brilliant and bi-lingual).
If I could bring anything positive out of all of the pain from my situation, it would be that Amanda’s presence in our house has, in some small measure, given her some insight needed to help in the healing in yours.
I am soooooo excited to meet you all when we come to D.C. in January and I hope that there is a chance to see the videos that you mention above. What an incredible journey!
With love to you all,
Aw, thanks Jeannie for writing. I know it’s been a long time but sorry for the loss. I can’t imagine losing a loved one suddenly like that. We had to see Trisha suffer, but we also got to say goodbye.
Amanda, I think, has been a saint in part because she did see so much how it affected your boys. She has always been very openly proud of Mark and how he loved them as his own. He set an incredible example.
We are lucky to have her!
I was overcome with emotion with your site. What a healing place! I have wondered many times whether it was harder to lose someone suddenly or slowly. There is no answer to that- pain and loss are not measurable or comparable, but when we see it, we know it, and it’s a bond that none of us wants to share. I still cannot talk about that night fully. The boys have done well, and Mark does not like being called a saint, but I have done it many times. I like to say that “he was a dad that needed a family and we were a family that needed a dad.” It was not at all easy for the girls,
The girls had to endure a huge life-change that included being around a lot of grief. They handled it with courage and grace and optimism- and I see those same qualities in your beautiful daughters!
You are all lucky to have eachother!
Kudos to you for getting through this in a remarkable way- there is so much love to share. See you iiin January!
:( So upsetting hearing about the tragedy that had to occur on a really happy family like yours. I’m 13 and my mom has pancreatic cancer (i like really deadly one). I hate the fear of the unkown. But after looking through your website, it has really inspired me to stay strong as life has to go on. Im really worried, but need to be like your wonderful daughters Emma and Lilly, strong and brave. R.I.P Trisha, you really did live life to the fullest! Just think that we will all be going to that ‘better place’ sometime, reunited with everyone cancer-free
Aww, I’m so sorry about your mom. I hope she survives and lives a long life. Emma and Lily and I are proud of you for being so strong. Good luck.
Thanks for the support :D can’t imagine what it could be like to loose a mom until you actually experience it but it seems like it will not stop you from travelling the world!