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Can I indulge in a little pity party just for now?


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Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
We left the neurosurgeon's office this morning. My husband is scheduled for back surgery on September 3rd--the day after I land in Spain and after "lights out" in the refugio. I was so counting on him being with me in Santiago and I cannot believe how sad I am right now. Sad that I won't be with him for surgery, sad that he can't join me in Santiago and sad that we won't be able to spend time together in Spain. I am very sad and weary. This is a portion of my sabbatical time and it has taken significant time to arrange for coverage, etc. not to mention the expenses (partially covered by my congregation). My ticket is non-refundable and not changeable so I am coming to Spain. But all this really changes my Camino. I will start in SJPP rather than Pamplona and will end up in Santiago around October 10 so that is a good thing overall. I also know that Monday, October 12 is a National Spanish Holiday so traveling that day is a premium cost. I talked to Iberia and if I dont' take the leg from Seville to Madrid on Oct 14 (I was trying to go directly from Santiago to Madrid rather than going to Seville), it will cancel my Madrid to Wash DC flight. It just feels so overwhelming right now to try to figure out what to do--hence the little pity party. I know it will work out but......... :cry:

I now have a bunch of reservations to cancel, unuseable train tickets (Barcelona to Madrid) and am now trying to figure out how in the world I can figure out if Vueling will make some changes so I can at least rescue a portion of what I have spent on intra-Spain plane tickets (Santiago to Barcelona). Thank God they were relatively cheap. And of course there are arrangements here that now need to be taken care of. Thank you for letting me let down a little -- just fourteen days left before I leave for six weeks.

Kelly and Rita: I will be staying at L'Esprit on Sept 2, Orisson on Sept 3 and so on so we might cross paths.
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Portia, I am sorry to hear about your husband's health problems, surgery, and of course, the timing could not be worse for you. Having gone through many trials I still remind myself that I cannot control what happens to me, but I can control the way in which I respond to them. The Serenity Prayer is something to remember; I like the full prayer, which is seldom seen elsewhere:

May your tears wash away the bitterness of disappointment and begin the growth of new joy. Your Camino will open new windows. I will keep you in my prayers. Do what you can and leave the rest in Heavenly Father's hands.

God's blessings be upon you and your husband at this time,

Oh dear, so sorry it is all so difficult, and you must be worried and feel terribly stressed.
I see you are starting on the 3rd to move up to Orisson. There will be forum members in St Jean about that time .. and I am sure that you will meet many fine and supportive companions when you step out.

It looks like you are supposed to do this pilgrimage alone Portia - alone in the sense of a private pilgrimage, not that no one will walk with you along the way.

I see that you had wanted to start in Pamplona but are rescheduling. I don't know if this will make things better or worse, but I shall be in St Jean about that time too and I am bringing my campervan - the plan is to do first aid and so on but park it up for a while when I need to pilgrim.

If time is tight and you really wanted to start in Pamplona I could give you a lift there - pm me if I can help.

All is well Portia, however it may seem at the moment, All is well.
Portia, so sorry to hear about your husband. I hope his surgery goes well. As for all your plans, I'm saddened too. I've had trips go kablooie on me after loads of time, money, & energy spent in the planning, so I know how disappointed you are. The only things that I can say is that everything happens for a reason & always for the best. Sometimes we get lucky & find out why they happen the way they do.

You'll be spending the night in SJP right after I leave. I plan to lolly gag the first week or so, so we may catch up in Los Arcos (anything to avoid getting stuck in Torres del Rio again). I'll post you my plans in a PM.

Anyway, for now, :cyberhug: . :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: :arrow:

Hi Portia
I was hoping and praying for the best after I heard about your husband's back problem.

These last few weeks before the trip are stressful anyways, but with all the things you have on your plate, you must be even more stressed out!! So sorry. And how aweful to be just arriving and embarking on your journey when your husband is back home having surgery. I can only imagine how you feel. But, Portia, keep your chin up, and everything will work out just fine. As Kelly said, everything has a reason.

I know I had originally told you I was starting at the same time as you, but my dates have changed since my husband is now joining me for the first 12 days of walking. We won't start walking till the 8th of September, as that accommodated his schedule better. So we most likely won't meet up as we previously thought.

You and your husband are in my prayers
Big Hug
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Sorry to hear about what is going on. Yes it is tough.
Don't know if you have done this, but airlines tend to be pretty understanding about health issues and travel. Ask them if a note from a doctor might help them change their mind and accommodate your needs. It worked for me before.
Good luck
Hi Portia,
I'm so sorry to read your news. i can imagine how devastated you feel. Life often throws huge obstacles on our life path, but everything happens for a reason. At the time we don't see that !!
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband. I will be about 12 days behind you on the camino so we wont meet. I'm staying at Orisson on the 15th.
I'm sure your Camino will be very meaningful. Take care and fellow Forum members will be with you in spirit.
Hello Portia, I also am so sorry for you. I can well immagine how sad you must be feeling right now. I guess that we all have a little niggle in the back of our minds, that something might just happen to us that makes us change our plans, especially when it's something so strong as this desire to do the Pilgrimage (not forgetting all the plans and reservations made). I do hope that your husband recovers quickly from his operation and that both he, back home and you, on the Camino receive all the support you both need. I'll remember you both in my prayers. Anne
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An update. Turns out a member of my congregation owns an international concierge service in DC. She sent me an email this morning asking if I needed anything for my Camino that I didn't already have--understatement of the year! Peace of mind as I prepare to leave town! She is taking on the challenge to sort it all out and to help me make all this work out--including wrestling with the airlines.

I am so grateful for your many kind expressions of solace and hope here on the boards and via personal message. I truly feel God's grace working through all of this. Members of my congregation and neighbors have stepped up to the plate and I am assured that my husband will be well taken care of and extremely well fed. Surgery was moved to an earlier time of day so now I can talk to him both before and after surgery. God willing, may he be fit and painfree when I return--that would be the very best blessing of all! I wanted to begin in SJPP but time was limited. Now I can. I wasn't particularly looking forward to some really grueling days--now I can take my time and soak it in without unduly stressing out my old body. A real gift in many dimensions. God has stepped into this mess and revealed so much grace I can scarce take it all in. The Camino has already acted powerfully in my life--heaven only knows what will happen when I finally touch my feet to the dirt!

I can only imagine your stress level in this situation. But it seems everything is falling into place, doesn't it?

I have taken to heart the advice given by experienced members on this forum: Not to worry too much; the Camino will take care of me. And it seems it is happening. I am still anxiouis, nervous, concerned etc., only 5 days before I leave for Barcelona, then up to Roncesvalles, and then the Camino walk starts for this motivated first-timer...

I must say that all the Youtube videos, as well as KiviNomads blog
(Thank you so much!) have helped me so much in my preparations.
Perhaps you should consider postponing your trip until your husband is well? Or am I missing something? I would have thought that this merits a full refund for tickets purchased given the nature of what has occurred...I am sure he would appreciate your presence by his side, and you would feel less stressed...I can not imagine undertaking this trip whilst worrying about the health of a loved one. Hope it all turns out well, whatever you decide to do... :)
Hi Portia,
Well - it sounds like your "pity party" as you called it is working its way through with lots of divine help. I'm so glad and would like to add my best wishes for your husband's speedy recovery.

I just wanted to throw Ryanair into the mix in case you haven't considered them. You can get from Santiago to Madrid on Ryanair from between 25 and 35 Euros depending upon what day you want to travel. The flight is just over an hour long. I couldn't be sure from your email whether you wanted to go to Sevilla and Barcelona, but just in case you don't, Ryanair may be a good solution. I've never travelled with them but I know lots of others have gotten from Santiago to various locations (London etc.)
Buen camino! The walk from SJPP over the Route Napoleon is wonderful - not easy - but very beautiful!
It sounds as though things are working out for you. Can I remind you of a line from our previous correspondence on 'Blessings'. "So often we priests are giving blessings , for once I am asking ..." Again you are on the receiving end and I trust that all will be an added blessing to your Camino.
I have found that the love and support given by my congregation during these kind of times is a great blessing in itself. Can I encourage you to share your needs with folk in your congregation as far as you feel you can?
Know that you and yours are in my prayers!
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hi portia ,my training has been interupted by too deaths in my family one was by his own hand ,at the moment i am not at all prepared for my camino and my excitement level is at an all time lo as i have just returned from a funeral in england and have left my poor sister in a state of shock after she lost her husband.i think life is so fragile we are here for a short time with many hard lessons to learn along the way ,i hope to find some peace along the camino and would love to be a blessing to all who are worried or in pain as i am now i leave from st jean on the 6 sep so i hope tp meet up with you and many forum friends.god bless and your husband is in my prayers.lillian
True that we are immersed in death just by living .. so it is rather pointless to run and hide or be shocked by it ...

This from Thomas A Kempis over 500 years ago and still relevent today I think ...

"Ah, foolish man, why do you plan to live long when you are not sure of living even a day?
How many have been deceived and suddenly snatched away! How often have you heard of persons being killed by drownings, by fatal falls from high places, of persons dying at meals, at play, in fires, by the sword, in pestilence, or at the hands of robbers! Death is the end of everyone and the life of man quickly passes away like a shadow.

Who will remember you when you are dead? Who will pray for you? Do now, beloved, what you can, because you do not know when you will die, nor what your fate will be after death. Gather for yourself the riches of immortality while you have time. Think of nothing but your salvation. Care only for the things of God. Make friends for yourself now by honouring the saints of God, by imitating their actions, so that when you depart this life they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

Keep yourself as a stranger here on earth, a pilgrim whom its affairs do not concern at all. Keep your heart free and raise it up to God, for you have not here a lasting home."

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