As the time to leave approaches, my excitement about “going home” grows. Memories flow through my mind of past visits. I thought I’d share one.
About thirty years ago, we traveled by car three thousand miles to visit my Mom. It was the last time I saw her. We traveled in an old truck, my husband, myself and two young daughters. When the girls first heard our plans they asked if we were going in a covered wagon. Everything in life was new to them then. The trip was full of adventures big and small.
We took a ferry from where we lived, in the pristine wilderness of the Haida Gwaii, and drove down through British Columbia to cross the border into the States. Then we crossed the country to the great lakes, and came back up into Canada near Sault Ste Marie. We drove through Ontario and ended up in the small city of Cambridge. We saw mountains, forests, prairies and all manner of people, and towns along the way.
My youngest daughter was three. She cradled the doll she called Stinky in her arms through the strange landscape, it’s cloth face faded from being loved so well. “It’s going to be alright,” she whispered in her ear. We camped under the stars in a small dome tent, listened to crickets, and watched the sun rise over stunning landscapes. We threw rocks at a visiting skunk by our campfire. Days became punctuated by stops for ice cream cones. The truck was our home on wheels.
When we drove into my sister’s driveway, my frail mother, who only wandered outside when it was absolutely necessary, sat on the edge of a red brick garden wall. She was waiting for us, and had been for hours. Tears, that I could not stop, flooded my face. We embraced and the visiting began. We had a week together. It was a wonderful week. But the time came when we needed to leave, and start the long journey home.
I knew with a certainty, a certainty I didn’t want, that it was the last time I would see my mother. Her hold on life was weakening. I held her tightly, feeling every bone in her light body. There was nothing tying her to life but her strong spirit and it was growing weary. She was never the same after my Dad died. I didn’t want to let go of her, but I had to. Life for me and my family was calling me elsewhere.
How about you? Do you have memories of going home that you hold dear?