Sadness Visits the Camino

This afternoon I received the sad news that my stepfather, Michael Tessman, passed away yesterday at the age of 96. To say that he had lived a full life would be an understatement. He served in the United States Army during some of the key battles of World War II, in northern Africa, Italy, and north into other parts of Europe as the war finally drew to a close.

After he raised his two daughters, Ginny and Sharon, he was widowed, but later met and married my mom, and enjoyed over thirty years of marriage with her. They enjoyed their years of camping, boating, cross-country skiing, and fishing until finally he sold his farm and they moved to Augusta. Lately, he has been a patient at the Maine Veterans’ Home where he received good care.

Before I left for the Camino, I considered long and hard what I would do if he passed away while I was gone. My mother and sisters said that in no way should I come back. Still, my heart is heavy, and I would have loved to support my mom, Ginny, Sharon, Ron, Dawn, and Melody, and, of course, my family in this sad time. We loved him, and I will always miss “Grandpa Michael.”

17 thoughts on “Sadness Visits the Camino”

  1. So sorry. You are doing the right thing in continuing your Camino. Michael was the a true example of “the greatest generation”. He, like your dad,were real roll models that we can appreciate. He was an authentic human being and everyone loved him. He will be missed.

    I love your blogs and really enjoy the people pictures, their stories and their effect on you. I’m proud of you.

  2. Hi Judi and Barb – Dawn and I are enjoying reading your blogs. You are having so many unforgettable experiences. After you return, I will be interested in knowing how you feel changed by your pilgrimage. You obviously have prepared well and seem to be having minimal glitches along the way. Good for you! We hope you will continue to appreciate every minute of your journey. Safe travels. BK

  3. And Barb – I’m sorry you were away when your step-father passed. It must be hard being so far from home at this time. Hopefully you will find some special moments along your journey that help console you and maybe even foster a different kind of connection with him.

  4. Dearest Barb,
    Just tonight I’m finally reading your wonderful blog…but am so sad to hear of your stepfather’s passing. I know you cared so much for him and am glad you got to see him (I think you did) after our visit in Unity to see your mom and him. XO

    Your journey sounds really full and so worthwhile. I’m glad you and Judi have each other and wish you more amazing experiences along your route. Looking forward to seeing you when you return. Sending lots of love…

  5. Barb, I was sorry to hear about your step-father. I am sure he is in your thoughts and prayers as you continue on your pilgrimage.

  6. Barb, I am so sorry. There are so many ways to “support” your family and yourself during sad times. I imagine your Camino will provide many opportunities to consider the role and forms of support. There will be plenty of time to give support upon your return.

  7. I am so sorry to hear this, Barb. You must feel torn between your amazing journey and your family right now. My heart is with you. Find ways to honor you stepdad’s memory every day of your pilgrimage. Have a blessed day every day.

  8. Hi Barb,
    I am sorry about your step-father. I know you were worried about that. I have no doubt that you are celebrating his life in your journey in a truly meaningful and loving way. Hugs to you.

  9. I’m sorry to hear of your stepfather‘s passing, Barb. My condolences to you and all your family—he sounds like a great guy that will be deeply missed. Sending peace and good thoughts to you on your journey.

  10. Barbie…
    I’m so sorry to hear about your step-dad. I’m sure he would have wanted you to continue on and I’m sure he’s now watching over you, somewhere in the universe. Sending a big, warm hug sweetie.
    Love, Meg

  11. Barb,
    I am sending you a great big hug. I know this was something you were worried about and I am so sorry for your loss. But I am proud of you for staying and continuing this journey. I know it might seem hard but from the sounds of it, your step father would have wanted just that. Stay strong.

  12. So sorry to hear about your stepdad. The few times we met him,he was sweet and friendly.
    Keep on trekking, we are proud of you and so would Michael.

  13. Barb, I don’t know you, except for your posts here. So sorry to hear that death has invaded your camino, as it often does in life, and that you are so far from home when it happened. So glad, too, that Judi Majnun is with you at this difficult time. By now you are back home, and I hope that you found comfort on your journey, and even more when you were able to reunite with your mom and family.

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