A fellow pilgrim from Holland offered the only words that seemed to help. In a nutshell, he said that an interruption in the pilgrimage is no interruption at all. It's exactly the kind of words you'd expect from someone who's done this a few times.
I've been meaning to write this for some time, but always found some poor excuse to put it aside. I guess I thought it needed to be long and meaningful since the pain of incompleteness tore me to pieces. Now that I'm back in Japan, and looking to continue my walk, maybe it's not worth the long-winded story anymore. Well, I have deeper feelings spelled out in my hand-written journal and that really should be where it stays.
So, yes... I'm back. I have several weeks set aside to continue and eventually finish my pilgrimage. In all honesty, I'm more afraid this time than the last. The emotional and physical pains are all too familiar, and none too inviting. Either way, I'm here and the walk begins in two days. I'm spending a couple of days in Tokyo to acclimate myself to things and to do a little supply shopping. The goal is to travel tomorrow to Shikoku and start walking on Tuesday. I won't start from the beginning as my fellow pilgrim from Holland said the return home is just a spoke in a wheel. I've returned on another spoke, with the hub and rim turning along together, and really shouldn't be missing a step. It really does feel that way. I can't really explain why, and neither good nor bad, but it truly feels like I never stopped walking.