'Til the River Runs Dry
Everyone in their lifetime will have to face being burned out (and what to do about it); being broken (hey - our bodies depreciate and what we have to do is compensate); bereaved - (her quick death from a lethal cancer - twelve days from diagnosis to death) - left her husband and family in emotional tatters. They found there was no quick APP for grief - just something you have to face and live through.
This memoir was written because Margo kept 27 meticulous diaries in her beautiful cursive handwriting of her travels and travails in a steamer trunk which her husband used as a basis for this gripping memoir. When asked if he missed his wife, her husband replied, “I just found her."
Just leave and go travel Asia like she did quitting a hi-tech professional job if not career, see eleven countries in a year with just a backpack at age 42. Margo wrote, "I was a rarity in the travel world at that time, being a 42-year-old American woman traveling alone for such a long time. Everyone else was in their twenties - so I got to be young....hiking the mountains surrounding Kathmandu with five Sherpa Nepalese men for a week was probably my most unusual experience." But she also became a regular guest at Annie's Soapy Massage in Bangkok, traversed the Fox Glacier in New Zealand and spent a week along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Oops, almost forgot the dirty rural bus rides and almost being raped in India.
Responding to a writer who said she was "intellectually reckless," a friend chimed in, “I wouldn't call her that. I think she had a real spirit of adventure which might have her reacting rather than thinking things out if there was some adventure to be had."
When she got back she wasn't burned out and the risk she took paid off: got her dream job - international development with a major pharmaceutical firm, which took her back to the very same countries she had visited with a backpack but now flying first-class and staying in five-star hotels instead of youth hostels. She got her dream house on the Ohio River - with an elevator, a turbocharged sports car and the man she loved after living alone for 17 years.
After moving to a mountain top home in southwestern Virginia, Margo’s body started to literally break apart as she suffered through 18 major surgeries to fix broken femurs, knees, hips, and dislocations. This did not stop Margo as she developed compensating mechanisms and traveled with cane and wheelchair to France, Costa Rica, Panama, Canadian Rockies, New England, Montreal, and throughout Appalachia. She loved Bluegrass music and once was given a key to the city of Hazard, Kentucky, and declared a "Duchess of Hazard." The last 33 months of her life she lived in Dubuque, Iowa, so she could be closer to the Mayo Clinic which finally fixed her bone problems, but with all the surgeries that had weakened her body, a deadly cancer, pleomorphic sarcoma, snuck in and diagnosis to death was just twelve days. Was Margo afraid of dying? "I am just frustrated that I couldn't do more in my life."
There is no APP for grief as her husband and family learned. But who is to say someone died before their time - Margo died at age 65 but that today is the new 40. The book gives some valuable lessons on how Margo's family dealt with her broken body and her death but never had to worry about her spirit.