I’ve been able to avoid NB almost completely for the last 4 years. I’ve driven through, but never stopped and stayed.

A couple years ago my friends and I planned a get together with our kids and at the last minute I cancelled. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go back.

But I am back. And the days leading up to leaving had me surrounded by anxiety. I was nervous of how I would react or feel being so close to the centre of the sadness. And while driving here, as Arrine slept, I cried. Cried for the memories I was forced to face.

We drove along Territorial Drive and I showed Arrine where Grandma Anne-Marie used to go on her long walks. And we stopped at the Co-op and I told her this was where Grandma Anne-Marie would buy her groceries.

And we made it to the lake. And last night, after the kids were all gently snoring, my dear friend Jessie and I shared a bottle of wine, chatted like we had seen each other last week…and laughed.

And when heading to bed ourselves, I told her I was really happy to be here with her.

I’m happy I came back…