Life, Death and Vacations

Following a road map for a trip is how most of us embark on a journey… whether a vacation or a new adventure in life.  We attempt to plan a route according to the goals we envision for that journey… the shortest route, the most scenic route, the safest route, etc.  Sometimes we have to be flexible when the road meanders off the plotted course.  occasionally we choose to meander, to explore, to change course.  But when the detour is not of our planning… can we flow with it…. or does it totally tweak our world?

Ever since my father passed away in 1993, my vacations were a source of contention for my mother.  At first, it was a matter of her no longer having her own travelling partner, and wanting to be included.  But as the years passed, and she became more physically limited, I think it was really an unspoken fear that something would happen to her and no one would be there.  There were many trips I took or planned to take, that just a day or two prior, she would take ill and have to go to the hospital… sometimes she didn’t even know that I was leaving… and still her internal alarm went off.  It  would totally tweak my world whenever this happened.  During the last six months, however, my mom’s health took so many unpredictable turns, that had I not learned to let the road meander off-course, I myself would have surely crashed and burned.  The more I tried to plot the course, the more I realized I had little control.

This year, I have been fortunate to be selected for an Artist in Residence program that would have taken me away for a month, including for my mom’s 90th birthday.  With her failing health, I knew the possibility loomed that she may pass while I am away and I would have to turn around and come back.  I carefully planned for others to be here in my absence, made sure everything was well-organized,  plotting the course to be smooth and easy.  I knew, however, deep down inside, that if past adventures were any indication, I should drive slow, and be ready for this road to meander off the course I would follow.  On Saturday, two days prior to the day my Retreat would begin, I received a call from my mom’s caretaker that she wasn’t doing well.  We sat with  her while her breathing became more difficult and we knew she was struggling.  I know that she knew that she didn’t want to leave this world with only a stranger by her side.  She sensed, probably by my take control planning, that I must be going away.  She struggled and then she relaxed.  I was here to send her on her new journey, never to meander off her own path again.  And mine, well it will meander a little more this time,  not beginning my retreat as scheduled, but knowing when I do, that my mom is safe while I’m gone and I can begin in peace.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. judy
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 01:09:34

    Wow Andrea, I am speechless, except for how incredibly beautiful. xxoo


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