Sunday, October 4, 2015

"We'll always have Paris..."

What was the movie and who spoke that line? 

Was it just last week that we were drifting down the Danube River, a group of us sitting on the upper deck of the Amadocle? Sipping wine, and enjoying the incredible view, someone in our group of new friends began asking movie trivia questions, and the little game began. Volleying one question after another, the answers were light, fun and came easy for those of us sitting and enjoying a lovely afternoon. 

“We’ll always have Paris.” Oh, that was easy, “Casa Blanca.”  Bogart, Rick telling Ilsa, Bergman, that he had accepted the fact they would never be reunited again, instead, what they had experienced in Paris would be with them always.

They say that timing is everything. Well, this timing was one of those blind sighted moments that opened up a flood-gate of memories  and a flow of tears within me. 

Let me back up, October 2008, Steve and I made our annual trip to Europe. We rented a car and traveled through Croatia, and into Austria. We drove along the Danube River, and after three wonderful weeks, our last stop was Vienna. Steve spent long hours planning this trip, mapping our route, finding beautiful places for us to stay. He loved the planning. I loved the adventure. We had one of our greatest trips that year, and one month later Steve was diagnosed with Stage Four Glioblastoma Multiform. That was our last trip. The rest is history.

Austria with Steve 2008
June 2014, a group of friends discussed taking a European long boat river cruise before the Christmas holidays. Time and life got in the way and that trip never happened. This past summer, my good friend, Robbie approached me asking if I would be interested in taking that trip in late September. Sure, of course, ask no more, I’m in. Robbie did all the planning and I was just glad to be going along. I knew the Danube and Vienna would entail some of the same places Steve and I had been. Well, I knew this in my head, but I’m not sure it registered in my heart, until that afternoon we sat on the deck of that long boat, playing movie trivia.

Robbie & Janet Mondsee Austria

Robbie & Janet Prague 2015

“We’ll always have Paris.” The statement was innocently spoken. It was at that moment, I looked out and saw the most incredible view of the vineyards of Austria. Our boat was passing Durnstein, which had been our favorite of all of our stops in 2008. Oh no, the tears sprang in my eyes. I quietly rose from the group and moved to the boat’s rail. I watched silently, as we quietly sailed past some of the sweetest memories I had shared with Steve.

We docked in Melk, Austria. A tour was offered of the beautiful centuries old abbey and cathedral. I opted to spend this day alone. I took a tree lined path into the small village. I walked through the gates of this ancient little town, down the cobblestones streets, letting the cool fall breeze take me back to 2008. Steve was by my side. I could feel my hand in his. I could see the twinkle in his eyes and the smile spreading across his handsome face as he excitedly told me of this place, home to Richard the Lionhearted. Steve brimmed with the history that he so loved and could easily recall. I walked past places we had eaten, the lovely castle where we had stayed. I spent that day allowing myself to be absorbed in the most precious memories of our last wonderful trip. 

On my way back to the boat, I noticed a beautiful old church at the top of a small hill. Walking in, sunlight streamed through the lovely stain glass windows. Prayer candles flickered, allowing me to find a seat in one of the old well-worn pews. I was all alone except for the organist who was playing in the balcony high above me. The magnificent pipe organ’s music filled the church as I sat in perfect stillness. The tears streamed down my face, but they were tears of the greatest joy, because I will always have “Paris.” I thanked God for all the precious memories I will always have with Steve. I thanked God for bringing Steve into my life and for allowing us to share a love that will never die. 

I wonder if I thanked Steve enough for planning such remarkable trips. Did I take for granted the time he spent pouring over details, ensuring our trips were the best they could possibly be? Was I appreciative of the fact that Steve loved watching me experience all the marvelous things that traveling the world offered? Did I simply assume we would have years of these wonderful trips? Oh, how I now wish I could say thank you just one last time to my precious husband for all the of these amazing trips. How I wish I could share many more wonderful memories with this dear, darling man.

Sadly, I can’t turn back the hands of time. I can’t live in the past, I must go forward into the future and be thankful, grateful and incredibly blessed because “We’ll always have Paris.”

Steve Vienna 2008
 Janet Vienna 2015

For what it’s worth,

Phillippians 1:3 "Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."

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