Jeri has posted her "Self in France" photos to Facebook. If you're not on Facebook, you can't see them, but if you are, I have shared them on my page and the link on her page is here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/album.php?aid=124181&id=558678824.
Presumably her "Self in Italy" set will be posted soon.
Looking through the photos makes me realize what a special time it was with her, what a tremendous help "my sherpa" was to me, and how much I miss her energy, her enthusiasm, her positive attitude, and her zest for life.
These two pictures were taken in Paris.
The first was taken after our boat tour on the Seine, the second at the opera house (see me and Pat at the top of the stairs). I remember the long trek from the boat back to the hotel and how Jeri stayed with me every slow step, stopping when I needed to stop and was always cheering me on ("Come on, Mom--you can do it!"). I wonder what she thought at the end of the day, realizing that she was probably going to have to do this the whole trip.
The opera house was very special because only the three of us went to it. My very first trip out of the United States (other than Canada, which I didn't think really counted--I didn't need a passport for it) was because of The Phantom of the Opera, which we took Jeri (and all the other kids) to see in London after she graduated from UC Santa Barbara. Seeing the setting of that show "live" in Paris was really a very special thing for me and I was so glad to be sharing it with Jeri, who not only kept me going, but would scout on ahead for things we should see, to save me having to walk that far.
I love this photo. Our hotel was a bit of a walk from where the X is, the direction away from the camera. The X marks the spot where we scattered Michele's ashes. Ian had pointed out a cemetery high on the hill overlooking Nice and the morning we were scheduled to leave, Jeri set out at the crack of dawn to climb to the cemetery. She was back in time for breakfast.
The thing I loved about Jeri was that she never missed an opportunity. She saw everything and did everything she could fit in. When I look back over our photos, hers are mostly of sweeping vistas taken from high places, mine are of food that we ate! Not that my experience wasn't just as meaningful for me, but watching Jeri set off on yet another adventure was just such an inspiration.
I loved it that she refused to think negatively. Whenever I started to complain, she would think of a positive about the situation and cheer me up. She would dash into a store to buy water for me, and in Nice found a place to buy one of those Provencal patterned napkins that I could use to wipe my face. It would become invaluble. When I thought I was going to collapse before getting to the bus in Versailles, she ran and brought me a sherbet that was about the best thing I ate on the trip. I truly don't know what I would have done without her.
"You've got to learn to say yes, Mom," she would say to me as I was embarrassed to let her carry my bag for me...and then she'd carry it for me so I could move easier.
This was another photo taken in Nice, when we stopped at a Russian Orthodox church. Jeri had been taking self-portraits all over the place at all sorts of angles and to take this one she found a new angle.
(the camera is resting against her foot)
Jeri and I probably will never have the opportunity to travel together again like we did on this trip, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I don't know where she gets her love of life or her positive attitude about everything -- certainly not from me! -- but it can be infectious and definitely was the thing that got me down those damn 250 steps in Portovenere and helped keep me from collapsing on the streets of Florence in the heat and humidity, trying to keep up with the group that was rushing to the Accademia to see "David."
Jeri, you were just great and I'm glad we had the time together. I'm also glad that you didn't have to hang around your fat old Mom the entire time and could go off on your own to all those high places I am now able to see through your photos.
Thanks, Honey, for being you!