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As I wrote last week, I was quite hesitant about going on this trip. I had so much anxiety about returning to London. I lived there for almost 10 years, and it still holds a very special place in my heart. With my first husband, who was a Brit, I really did think London was going to be my home, long-term. Hannah was born there, and I developed some of my most treasured friendships while living there. After I became Mrs. Medley, things changed, but we still went back often and Richard became part of my London life, where we shared numerous memories. That trip marked my first return to London since he’d died. But it’s always healthy to revisit your past—despite how painful it MIGHT be. It can be an entirely cathartic experience. I think you all saw that it was. Not just for me, but for Carole as well.
I’ll be honest, I was glad I was staying in a completely different part of London than I was familiar with. Going as a “tourist” was a nice way to ease into it, if you know what I mean. Piccadilly Circus and the Hotel Cafe Royal—totally new areas for me to trot around in and not run into the inevitable “ghosts from my pasts,” so to speak. Didn’t see old cheese stores I would frequent or walked by old flats I once called home. This all helped me be much more present for Carole on this trip, which was so healing and ultimately such a gift. I couldn’t have been happier to be a part of it.
I was anxious while she was visiting the church, and as I was waiting for her return, I had cup of tea after cup of tea. And biscuits. And more biscuits. And butter. And tea. I didn’t even think of wandering far from the hotel, in case she returned and was a bit shaken. When I saw her, she seemed drained but relieved. Like she’d had a good, cleansing cry and a warm hug from an old friend. It got me a little welled up, because I know that feeling. Silly of me to be impressed by how graceful and reverent she was when I saw her again. Of course she was—duh. What I was impressed by was how we managed to dive into such a personal, profound, and painful subject as the loves of our lives, their deaths, and our lives since. There are three things that bring people very close: new babies, a jar of bleu cheese olives, and the deaths of loved ones.
The latter thread, clearly, was the common thread that has bonded us, unexpectedly, in the most beautiful way. Watching it play out while you all reacted on Twitter was making me smile, making me cry, making me entirely and completely happy and proud. I’ve met several widows and though the subject has come up before, never had I had such an involved, compelling sharing of experiences with another widow before. Now Anthony is back home, with her, and she has a new dimension to her personality and her public persona that commands nothing short of utmost respect and admiration. Not to repeat myself, but being there for Carole was also a true honor for me. It’s really a new beginning for her, I feel. This may sound odd, but I am so grateful to have been part of it and see it all unfold. It really helped me face my fears about going back and having a gander at all those old ghosts of Londontown. It’s a gift that I will hold special forever.
Thank you, Ms. Radziwill.
Until next week!