March 14th, 2020 – I flew from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Campbell River, British Columbia – with plans to stay for one week.
This one week stay – turned into 8 months – almost to the day. I arrived March 14th and departed November 15th!
Long story made very short – When Michael and I repatriated back to Canada from Qatar, in June of 2019, we had a house in Campbell River, British Columbia that we needed to sell.
Michael went to British Columbia to prepare and sell the house.
I settled in Nova Scotia, where we purchased lakefront property to build our new home, and I returned to work in eduction.
It was during my visit to see Michael during March Break, 2020 that COVID hit, schools closed and I stayed in British Columbia help Michael prepare the house and put it up for sale.
This blog is the final chapter of my eight months stay!
My reason for returning to Nova Scotia was a job offer I couldn’t refuse! Michael is now busy packing up to make it home to Nova Scotia for Christmas!
This deserves its own section because I rocked this – had the best bowling game of my life!!
I will miss the deer. They were as common a sight as bald eagles!
Just like the deer, bald eagles were an everyday part of life in Campbell River.
I’m not sure if there was more than one pair of bald eagles along the coastal stretch of town – because it was impossible to tell if the eagles were the same pair or a different pair.
One pair or not, I saw these eagles almost every day.
There were specific trees in specific locations, that were a constant hang-out for the pair(s). I called these trees in specific locations, “eagle trees.”
One “eagle tree” is ON THE ISLAND HIGHWAy, near Discovery Foods grocery store,
The other “eagle tree” is along the Isand highway, across from the Seawalk, at a curve in the pathway before a Parking Area
Michael brought me to the mouth of Oyster River, where he once saw hundreds of eagles gathered, eager to catch the many salmon spawning upriver.
There were no salmon or eagles this day – save one solitary eagle who quickly flew away!
My Final Run
I knew immediately what trail I would run during my last day in Campbell River – Beaver Lodge Lands. This trail was my old faithful. It had become very familiar to me during my four months alone here.***
Along this trail – there was one tree that always caught my attention. It was my almost 4km tree. This tree has at least seven trees growing up from the same base area. There was something magical about this tree…
I couldn’t leave Campbell River and not see this tree one more time.
The pictures here have meaning for me, as this route was a part of Campbell River that I had made my own.
***From May – September – Michael returned to Nova Scotia to electrically wire his daughter and son-in-law’s new house. I stayed in BC to be with the house and continue to ready it for putting it up for sale.
Leaving Campbell River to return home to Nova Scotia was a mix of emotions for many reasons. Campbell River was temporary, not my home. I didn’t allow myself to become too attached.
I missed home, I missed my job, I missed my family and friends, I missed our cats staying with friends. I was beyond ready to return to Nova Scotia.
Yet, Campbell River – Vancouver Island – became a piece of my heart. During my 4 months alone on the island, I embraced a deeper part of me… that struggled through isolation, loneliness and despair – and came through to the other side, a better person because of it.
Also, Campbell River is where my husband spent most of his adult life. He loved and lost here. He has history here. This is why I honored Campbell River – to honor him.
During my 8 months on the island, I discovered Internal Family Systems Therapy that I practiced with a therapist for two of my four months alone, I had a personally designed tattoo of a Phoenix rising out of a restorative circle inked into my right forearm, I overcame plantar fasciitis and started running again, I ran my first 5km race – a virtual one – my team coming first place, I started taking CBD for anxiety, I went whale watching and saw pods of orcas, humpback whales and Stellar sea lions, I developed Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC) that was diagnosed after wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours, had an echocardiogram and a physical stress test, I completed an online course on autism called “ASD and Behavioral Interventions” with a 97.8% average, I took a weekend First-Aid course, I caught halibut, saw sea otters and watched a large black bear eat apples up in an apple tree, I rediscovered AA to support my continued sobriety, I made a few friends, especially Christine, I kayaked off of Quadra Island in the rain and another day in high winds, I grew a garden and enjoyed its harvest, I ran with a white-tailed deer – and sat with one, I swam at McIvor Lake and hiked a bit of the Forbidden Plateau and up to Ripple Rock, I learned how to sell a house with a realtor and how to sell an airplane, and to top it off… I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 11,000ft, with my husband Michael at my side!
Final Pictures as I left 592 Nelson Rd for the Last Time
Life is Change…
My time in Campbell River was unexpected, not as I planned. What made it the most difficult was being in the house my husband once shared with another woman, who died of ALS.
I met Michael a few years after this tragedy.
After his partner’s heartbreaking death, he rented out the house in Campbell River and moved overseas to work.
During this time overseas, Michael decided he wanted to leave British Columbia and start a new life in Nova Scotia, to be near his daughter and her family there.
So, he wanted to meet a Nova Scotia gal to share his life with…. enter me! I met him while he was overseas and left Nova Scotia to join him in Qatar.
The house in Campbell River wasn’t my house. It wasn’t my home. I didn’t try to make the house my own, because it wasn’t mine. Its heart was a collection of the past. I honored the past as best as I could, however, I found myself lost in it – forgetting who I was because everything me was back in my home province of Nova Scotia.
Yet, magic happened within the house, as Michael and I grew closer as we navigated these difficult conversations relating to his past and mine.
Selling the house is the last major step of transitioning Michael’s life from British Columbia to Nova Scotia – where we will settle, make roots and start this newest chapter – after our nomad life overseas.
As mentioned, Michael’s daughter and her family live in Nova Scotia. Michael and I are grandparents! It will be fun to finally step into this role – full time!
It is time to say… Goodbye Campbell River….. thank you for your tall trees, big mountains, friendly people, abundant wildlife, Pacific Ocean, float planes, Sasquatch legends, and everything else that makes you beautiful….