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Goodbyes

August 5 , 2005

Adios Peter - your family and friends miss you, but know you are always looking over and out for them.
Godspeed mi amigo!

Journal Updates

INDEX

2007
Columbia, SC
Savannah
Blue Ridge Parkway
Computer Crash!

2005 - 2006
Happy New Year
Hawk's Message
I'm Published!
Sharing Spring
Ways of Writing
Goodbyes
Edmonds, WA
Degenerate Neck
Desert Depression
Post Quartzsite
Albuquerque
Grandma Malia

2003 - 2004
Oregon
Alaska Planning
Canada
Alaska 1
Alaska 2
Alaska 3
Alaska 4
Alaska 5
Alaska 6
Alaska 7
BC & Alberta
To Lower 48
2004 Recap
Giving Thanks

2001 - 2002
Inspiration's Off!
Maine
9-11-01
To Charleston
Charleston
N. Carolina
To Orlando
Florida Tour
Back in Austin
Albuq. to WA
Washington

In the four years that I've been on the road fulltime, there have been times when I was far away from my family that I wondered if the life I have chosen was fair to them. Was it right to remove myself from their lives for such long stretches of time? My daughters may both be strong and capable women with lives of their own, and my teenage granddaughter is busy with all the normal (and sometimes scary) business of growing up, but that doesn't mean they won't always be my "babies." I still worry about them and know that my being closer would be of help -- and grandma would like to be able to spoil her only grandchild a bit more.

But recently this dilemma was given a whole new dimension when my daughters' father died in Austin a couple of weeks ago today. He had fought a particularly vicious kind of cancer for 14 years, longer than anyone else ever with multiple myeloma, whose victims usually die within 3-4 years. After only a week from when my daughter first called me about his turn for the worse, he was unconscious with all doctors agreeing it was time to invoke the Directive he had signed making his wishes known for such a situation. I grabbed a flight to Austin to be with them and they didn't think he'd be alive by the time I got there.

He was only 57 years old and even though we had been separated for over 21 years, it broke my heart to see him lying in that hospital bed. He was not conscious and was heavily sedated, but I had the chance to speak softly to him and tell him thank you for the good times we had together, for being the best father he knew how to be to our two daughters, and for introducing me to his wife, Jan. She and I had become the best of friends over the years and she's one of the most remarkable women I have ever met. Their other two daughters are all grown up now, too, but still looked like heartbroken little girls trying hard to be brave for their own mommy.

I was grateful that, years before, following the death of his brother and subsequently my father, we had overcome any break-up bitterness and had quite a cleansing conversation as we cried together over shared pain and loss of our loved ones. But as heart-tugging as all that was, nothing I have ever previously experienced prepared me for the kind of pain I felt and witnessed seeing the look in my daughters' eyes as they held his hand and watched their father die. I saw them move in and out of denial, then acceptance, then praying simply that their daddy have some peace. Mothers often say that if they could absorb their children's pain they gladly would, and despite the fact that we know we can't, I still have never felt so helpless or prayed so hard just for a bit of understanding about everything that was happening so quickly and yet also felt so drawn out in time.

I do believe he is at peace now, and one thing that was affirmed for me over the last couple of weeks is that life is for living now - we never really know if we have tomorrow or the day after that. I don't know how long it will be before I have to give up the traveling life - whether it's due to my own health problems or some other disaster. So I'm going to prepare my own Directive, make sure my final needs are taken care of - and then I'm going to get on with my life. And once again, after more serious consideration, I still know that this is really what I want to do. Travel - and all the benefits that go with it - just makes me happy and I'm so thankful for every day I get to do what I want to do with my life. What a blessing life is when you can say that.

Click here for another page I did of memories of Peter teaching our youngest daughter how to ride her bike.

 

Copyright by Malia Lane - all rights reserved