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Needing to Heal....Beginning to Heal

So, I headed out on a soul journey. I decided that my soul needed to heal and that I needed to take the time to allow for it to heal. I began my travels by getting in the car with no destination in mind. I kept changing highways and driving and finally ended up seeing Nashville signs, so I decided to stop and stay there.

The songs that I heard along the journey inspired the play list for this post. There were so many good songs and I had a strong sense of the ones that Adeline wanted me to include in this. These are the songs that held the most emotions for me as I drove.

On the drive I was able to yell as loud as I wanted. Cry as hard as I wanted and scream at the top of my lungs. I actually worried at a few points that cars next to me on the highway could hear my wails. I got to release so much anger that I was feeling towards myself for not demanding that we moved sooner, for not keeping the girls in my bed until I got over the intense feelings that something bad was going to happen, for not carrying Adeline down those stairs when I was running to help Andrew, for not being able to get back up those stairs to get to her. I feel as though after releasing that anger that I will actually be able to begin my journey towards healing.

I set out on this adventure with the thought in mind that I would do things that I have never done before, eat places that I had not eaten, try foods that I had not tried, stay places that I had not stayed. I thought of all of the things that I wish that I had been brave enough to do when I was younger.

One of those things was stay in a hostel in a dorm room. I found the Music City Hostel in Nashville and booked a bed in the girls' dorm room. It was nice, there were two other girls in the small cabin that housed the dorms, one of whom was in my dorm. They were kind, chatted with me, and made me feel welcome. Both of them are currently living there. I hugged my small plush Adeline all night long and sobbed thinking about the things that I wish that I could be doing with her right now, but also letting go of the feelings that I have been carrying and holding onto that are not good for my soul.

I had Mas Tacos when I got into Nashville. I will have to admit, after seeing them on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives...I expected more. I had the fried tilapia taco and it was good, but no where near as good as the Friday fish tacos at El Mexicano in Peoria. I also had a fried avocado taco which was the best of the three tacos. On the show, the feature was the quinoa and sweet potato taco and he raved about it, so I had one of those....but that was very disappointing as it was not that good. I also had a mezcal margarita and to be honest, this was the best margarita that I have ever had.

I did a little journaling and a LOT of thinking overnight and woke up early, got dressed, and headed out all before 6 am. I drove around the Nantchez Parkway and took in many of the sites. I stopped at the Water Valley Overlook and it was breathtaking. I soaked up the sun and stood in awe of the beauty that surrounded me. Then I saw a cardinal and knew that my girl was there with me. I sobbed as I saw the cardinal hovering around and after I started driving it followed me for a while. It was one of the most beautiful signs that my girl could have sent me. I was on a hunt for Jackson Falls, but sadly my GPS took me the wrong way. I passed Shady Grove and it was beautiful but the road didn't allow for me to stop and take a picture. As I was headed towards the falls, or so I thought, I ended up in the middle of what can only be described as a scene from Deliverance. It was all small houses that were barely standing, trailers, and an occasional small cabin, most of which did not look inhabitable. It was sad to see people living in so much poverty. However, I had an experience that shook me to my core. I saw my first KKK sign in person. The flag pole that held the sign also had a Confederate flag and a Trump flag flying. About this time, I noticed that my phone had lost all signal and was no longer giving me directions. I also realized that I was not going towards the falls. I ended up driving down a highway that turned into a gravel road and seemed like my 4Runner might not be able to pass certain areas. I made it safely by going slow. When I finally was able to get service, I headed back to the parkway.

On the drive back to Nashville, I stopped at Tennesee Valley Divide. Here in the beauty of nature, I practiced some yoga.

I then stopped to check out the War of 1812 Memorial and to hike to Garrison Creek. The hike was nice and pretty long....but it felt so good to have the warmth of the sun on me as I walked.

Heading back to Nashville, I stopped at Red Byrd coffee and had the Fyrebird which was a signature espresso, turmeric blend with Hollander chocolate sauce. It was really good, different, and a little spicy which I enjoyed.

I then headed to downtown Nashville to check out some sites and see what kinds of fun things I could find. I attempted to stop at Hattie B's for lunch but the lines were just way to long.

However, I did stop at Ole Smokey and got a bottle of whiskey and a couple bottles of Moonshine to take home with me. I got a free cooler out of the deal, which is kind of nice since I no longer have small bag coolers after the fire.

As I was driving, I could feel Adeline's presence. She left me a penny outside of Ole Smokey. It made me smile to know that she has been with me for so much of the journey. At times, I feel as though she is sitting behind me in her carseat singing. I swear that I can hear her voice singing along to the radio.

I headed to Muscle Shoals after leaving Nashville. I stopped at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and had a tour which was interesting and fun. It was so neat to learn about the different artists that had been in there.

I also went to the bathroom and later on the tour I found out that this is the bathroom where Mic Jagger finished writing the lyrics to Wild Horses...which was recorded there.

I saw Helen Keller's birth place as well.

After leaving Muscle Shoals, I headed for Gulfport, Mississippi. I figured this would be a good place to stay for the night and be able to see the gulf tomorrow for some morning yoga before deciding where the day will take me. I am feeling as though the trip is going to be shorter than I had originally anticipated because I miss Althea, Huxley, Andrew and Shane so much! I stopped in Birmingham and found a Hattie B's to try there. I will say that the Nashville Hot Chicken was good, but I should have went with Damn Hot instead of hot. Although I could not eat but half of the sandwich.The pimento Mac 'n cheese was really good too. I ate a little bit of it, but didn't want to feel too full. I tried the pinto bean salad but it was not for me and then tried the waffles, but they were too sweet so I couldn't eat much of them. I would go back again but just get the chicken and the Mac n cheese....and the pickles....they were really good pickle slices.

I finally arrived in Gulfport and my hotel room was not there as expected. I had prepaid so this meant about 40 minutes on the phone with who took care of the issue and made sure that I got another room for the same price.

My girl made sure that I heard the songs that she sent me. This might not be the obvious choice, but it reminded me of Adeline because her uncle Scott and aunt Maya got her a star and had it named after her.

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Amanda, I read all your writings and most of the time, crying, as my heart is aching for you. I know the broken heart feeling well. It's so good to see your smiling face on your journey and yes, I'm sure the red cardinal was Adeline Violet, as they say, a message from your loved one in Heaven. I pray that you find peace and comfort from your trip and look forward to shower all your love on Huxley, Althea, Andrew and Shane and when the stars come out at night, throw kisses up to Adeline Violet's star and thank God for the time you had with her. Hugs, Violet.

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