It was a year and a few days ago I had flown back to KS to see my mom and drive the Avalanche back home to WA.
When I left on the 29th, I knew deep down it was the last time I would see her. It was a very tough drive home, and it always will be one of the worst moments of my life having to leave right then. The drive back home is a long trip – three to four days depending on how long you want to drive – and that is with minimal stops and decent weather. I was trying for three days since I not only had some personal business that I needed to attend to, but my plan was to turn around and go back to try to see my mom again after taking care of what I had to take care of.
I was rushing to get home to get done and get back, pushing the driving into an endurance test just to get home. The first night I stayed in South Dakota, and the second night, the 30th of October, 2016, in Missoula, MT. That’s where I got the call at about 9:10 PM local time.
She was gone; our family forever changed.
This past week I went back to observe that one year anniversary and to visit the cemetery and see the new headstone. My dad picked it out and it has just been installed.
The headstone he picked out looks really nice – he did a great job choosing it and setting up everything on it. I drove him and my sister to the cemetery Saturday to see it and we all thought it turned out nice; it was the first time any of the three of us had seen it. Unfortunately it was a cold and blustery day so we weren’t able to stay there for very long. Chelsea and Emery and I went back yesterday so she could see it and we got to spend some time there.
I helped my dad work on the house a little bit while I was there – putting up a new light fixture for my sister in her room and getting on the roof to install leaf guards on all the gutters with lots of help from my assistant Emery. He tends to do things he maybe shouldn’t, like being on a ladder, so me working on the gutters kept him on the ground and out of the hospital. He has had a serious fall or two in the last year and doesn’t really need any help from gravity and especially the additional gravity a roof has to offer.
As I arrive back home in Washington this morning, I still struggle with some aspects of closure over the loss of such a large presence in the family. It really sucks. Having lots of time off and being able to get away for long vacations is something I need badly and I plan on taking advantage of having the winter off starting very soon – like later this week. I am scheduling any appointments I have two weeks apart so I can take make the most of my time off and can be gone for a good length of time when I decide to hit the road. My mom always liked to travel so I guess I come by that honestly. It’s why she wanted me to have and use the Scotty Hilander trailer she loved so dearly.