best of 2009: hard trips

I’m trying something new for me this month, a web community challenge: Gwen Bell’s The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. Find the best the year has offered me, and review, remember, contemplate, reflect, and celebrate it. There’s a question/topic each day.

For me, today’s prompt is a harsh one: “December 1 — Trip. What was your best trip in 2009?“. I only traveled twice this year, on related trips, closely spaced, and they were not happy ones. Though I didn’t know it for certain at the time, I first went to say goodbye to my mother, and then soon after, to bury her. So rather than say these were the best trips (though they were: best and worst and only), I’ll try to focus on positives, the best parts.

I’m glad I was able to say goodbye. That’s something I missed with my dad four years ago, and it haunts me still. The look on Mom’s face when I first walked into her hospital room is a cherished memory. While much of the first visit was sad and painful, attending Mom in the hospital, we had some laughs and a bit of chat, too. During my first trip, I saw all of my siblings and also one cousin, not all at once, but I did connect with them all, and that was good, too.

For the second trip, I again saw my brothers and sister and this time, also their families. I’m grateful that we could all come together and all of us were able to be at the funeral, even a couple of my nephews who were just starting their college terms and had to make special arrangements to get away. We’re a close-knit bunch and family is important to us all. I feel embraced and warmed whenever I see them. It was not a happy time, but it was a time of caring and support of each other. I also love watching my siblings interact with their families. Each group is different, but each fits the sibling wonderfully. I’ve always been reassured and pleased that my siblings married their respective spouses and have said many times how lucky the whole extended family is that they did. And my niece and nephews just further that feeling along.

After the funeral, I stayed out west to help clear out Mom’s assisted living apartment. Among her things, I found some small papercraftings I had made for her, carefully saved, some in use, and hopefully all appreciated. She had thanked me for them all but I was never sure if she really enjoyed any of it, other than these being things a child sent, but now I feel more confident that she did. As my brothers and I sorted out the apartment, we found a few items saved from our childhood, that had us thinking about our early lives together. We had limited time so this wasn’t a huge thing but it was still another nice experience.

There’s a theme behind these “bests” from my trips: love. And I think that’s the point. The trips were painful because of love but love also helped make them bearable.

1 Comment

  1. Posted December 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    I just found your blog via Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Challenge, and this particular post is so touching. The last line is particularly poignant. I look forward to reading more of your blog!