Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Trip Across the Mountains

We took a long drive across the Allegheny Mountains to visit my mother for Easter. We got back last night and, as usual, my emotions are a jumble. Some of them are:

I am thinking about how happy I was that my whole family got to spend Easter together and that my sons got to see their grandmother on this trip.

I am reflecting on who I was when I left my hometown decades ago and who I am now after I visited with a classmate I haven't seen since high school. He and his wife put on a concert at the nursing home one evening.  He hasn't changed and he said that I haven't changed except I have a shorter haircut. That must be why I had to tell him who I was. :)

I am thinking about how my town has changed. Because of hard times and high unemployment, much of the area around my childhood house is pretty run down. I keep telling my kids that it wasn't like that when I was growing up there. It was still a modest area, but had well kept houses.

I am grieving for the mother I once knew. As time goes on, it is getting harder and harder for her to communicate.

I am smiling as I think about how the other residents faces lit up with just a smile or a wave from me.

I am thanking God about the good care all are getting at the nursing home where my mother is.

I am singing old time gospel songs in my head. There were three concert/sing-alongs I attended with my mother during this visit. While the singing was fun, the focus on the after life has my thoughts landing on this topic often. Especially since I just spent the last several days around people who are near the end of their life.

I am thinking about where I am in my life and where my mother was in her life at the same age.

I am remembering all of the beautiful scenery we saw on our drive. The woods are full now of blooming redbud and dogwood trees reaffirming the circle of life and new beginnings.

And amongst all of these meaning-of-life thoughts, I am thinking I should get some laundry started and more things unpacked before I head off to work.

Yes, my thoughts are all a jumble as they always are after these visits. And that's a good thing. Even if it's uncomfortable, we all need to spend time then and again thinking about how we are living our life.

Here are a few pictures from our trip across the mountains. (Two qualifiers. It's hard to capture just how beautiful the scenery was from a moving car and I'm not showing many faces to protect everyone's privacy. I wish I could because the faces really tell the story.)

There was abundant redbud along most of the trip. It was only when we were in the higher elevations that we didn't see any. 

Along with the redbud, wild mustard was lining the roadside.

My classmate setting up for his concert. He is somewhat of a local celebrity and has several CD's. The residents love him and they know most of his songs. 

They have a nice walking path next to the nursing home.
We took my mother out several times a day for a walk on this. Here's Theo with her now.

The Easter Bunny was quite good to my mother.

Vegetables no longer grow in these barrels at my parents house, but I found them with some very pretty violets.

We usually stop on the drive back and take a short hike to this scenic overlook.

We were welcomed home by dogwoods that bloomed while we were gone.