— Jenny Neill

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I’ve not written about how I, like hundreds or maybe thousands of others, have hung on every word Eric Meyer has written about his second daughter since last August. Short of missives that say “I hear you” or “I wish I could take your anguish away,” what could I add? Eric’s always been someone who writes with confidence, clarity, and eloquence. Today, I can say something, do something.

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I hit the road for all sorts of reasons this year: to drum up new business, to meet people, to reconnect with family and friends, and to escape certain realities. This year has been tough. Not for the obvious reasons. I haven’t lost someone close to me and I still have a roof over my head. I eat well and take great comfort in my relationship with my most beloved.

Light shines through icy branches of a tree

Photo courtesy of Mike Russell All rights reserved.

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Part One

I was a writer of a different sort 10 years ago. I wrote business analysis and functional specifications as a fulltime employee at an “enterprise portal solution” company. Working with our team’s engineers, I recorded technical designs and customized documentation for end users.

By August of 2001, though it hadn’t been announced to us or the public yet, I had deduced my employer was about to be acquired. I jumped at the chance to go when my dad suggested I join him and my stepmother for their trip to Italy to visit my sister, Missy. I knew that in a matter of weeks what little vacation time I had could be meaningless.

I carried a hardbound journal with me the whole trip with the goal of writing every day. I wanted to be able to share my experiences with my husband, Mike, who could not come with me. He had just started a new job.

I confess I’ve struggled to write this post. A lot. The trip most definitely changed me. I’ve decided to let the writer I was then tell the story. What follows are excerpts from that journal.

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