The last couple years have been full of challenges, am I right? This was my first Mother’s Day without my mom, and I’m so thankful our daughter had her junior prom that weekend as it really distracted me.
Junior year I was ready for. Our son’s student teaching experience was on the agenda.
Mom’s death wasn’t. At least not on any human agenda.
Although the fog lifts a little with each passing day, it’s still surreal. This time last year she was gardening, and longing for her return to volunteering at her church post Covid restrictions. Even when she was ill and recovering, she passed so many hurdles that we had no idea when we wished each other a Happy New Year that she wouldn’t even see the week out.
Life’s been quite the navigation since then.
One of the goals my sister and I had for our healing was to re create the one vacation our parents went on. In 1999 they went to Hawaii and they came back full of joy. They had such peace and told us story after story. We found a trip that copied that itinerary and even offered a cruise from the same line my sister and I first used in 1995. We thought what a great way to travel, combining the trip our parents loved along with a cruise around the islands.
Our hope was to travel sooner than later as our hearts have been so heavy. In between closing accounts and making calls and helping others who are grief stricken I confessed to my husband I was mentally barely holding on. Tired? Way past that. I wanted something to focus on that got us out of our space.
As you can imagine the goal was lofty. We looked at restrictions and didn’t see anything that told us to hold off. We booked, got updates, were counting down, and got an email.
The cruise was canceled. They are re starting their voyages a mere two weeks after our orginal date. We thought about rescheduling, but now they have stricter restrictions in place that make us think it’s best to wait.
For my weary soul, it was a crushing blow. I was holding on to that destination, that time frame as my “if I can get to this, I’ll be okay.” To have it taken away after the pendulum swing we went through with mom being so sick, then not, then doing great only to have her gone, it just hit hard.
My husband decided we still needed something. We know a trip isn’t the answer, Jesus and His comfort is. But a change of scenery is a break we could all use, so we went back to the drawing board.
Now the plan is to take mom’s birthday, our first without her, and travel from our locations (my sister and nephew live 300 miles away) and meet in Lancaster, PA. Mom adored the Amish lifestyle and soaked every aspect of it up that she could. Her dream was for me to write an Amish romance but I never felt the urge. Mom was friends with the Amish and they even obtained permission to attend our dad’s funeral. She drove them and attended their dinners. So Lancaster feels right up her alley and the perfect way to remember her. We also plan to attend the Sight and Sound Theater’s Esther.
From there we will journey to Ocean City, Maryland for that respite. It’s not Hawaii, it’s quite the detour, but one we’re looking forward to just the same. We might trade a cruise of the Hawaiian islands for a dinner cruise, and that’s okay. Like I wrote above, we know a vacation is not our healer. Even in our grief we have a lot to be thankful for.
Life is full of curve balls we don’t see coming and it’s hard. Super hard. I take refuge in the fact that nothing surprises God. He knew mom’s death date even when we didn’t. He knows what’s best.
And I trust Him.