How world travel helped a P.E.I. author deal with grief
From P.E.I. to Europe and Asia and back again
A new P.E.I. book chronicles a journey around the world and through the heart, as the author struggles with grief following the still birth of her daughter.
Mo Duffy Cobb and her husband had often thought about taking a long journey, but the idea took on a new urgency in 2008. Their second daughter, Tya, was still born at 39 weeks.
"We were grief stricken. We were frustrated with the world, with P.E.I.," said Cobb.
Backpacking with a toddler
Their certainty about the world and even their marriage was gone. They sold their house and packed off for Europe with their two-year-old daughter, Leila.
They started in Belgium, moved on to Germany and then England, and from there caught a plane to Singapore.
They were backpacking around the world with a toddler, and that was a challenge, but Cobb said it also opened up experiences that would otherwise be closed.
"I feel like she opened us up to the world even further, because it was really a family affair," she said.
"We got to meet so many people, moms and kids and working people and she really brought the trip alive for us.… We wouldn't have had access to a lot of those young families. It was very play-based adventure."
From Singapore the family went on to Bali, Malaysia, Borneo, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
I was expected to shut the door and move on.- Mo Duffy Cobb
It was in Asia that Cobb found some of the solace she was looking for: new ways of thinking about the death of her daughter.
"Here in my living room in P.E.I. things were very black and white. Ty was here and then she was gone, and so I was expected to shut the door and move on," she said.
"Whereas when we got to Bali it was a totally different experience.… The culture there with Hinduism, the influences there, every night people are leaving baskets of fruits and flowers, 'What are those baskets for?' — 'Oh, they're for our ancestors.' It's a continual honouring of the people who are no longer with you."
After a nine-month journey the family returned to P.E.I., and settled down once again. They have two more children now.
"I think I did weave something in there that has a little bit of peace at the end," said Cobb.
Unpacked: From PEI to Palawan was published last month by Pottersfield Press.
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With files from Island Morning