In 2011 I took a trip back to the U.S. at the request of my father. My mother had passed away about 4 years prior and he wanted to visit her resting place. He also wanted us to know how to get there to spread his ashes when the time came. It was supposed to be just my older and younger sister and myself but when it was all said and done there were about 12 of us packed into a travel van trekking from Spokane, Wa to this very random highway marker #13 in Montana.
We drove through Glacier National Park, Hungry Horse Dam, visited a bear park and camped in some random national park in Montana. It was a most amazing and memorable trip. One that will not soon be forgotten and an inspirational tribute to my mother and the love we all felt and still fill for her.
The first few pictures are of mom in her younger days.. and in her younger younger days as well. She was a fireball. I think the term piss and vinegar fit her well. There were many people who were actually afraid of her.
She had scoliosis and refused surgery because she thought it would limit her ability to move around and do things. She once said she would rather be dead. That’s how she was. After a doctor told her she would need to start using an oxygen tank to be able to get around and move she wouldn’t go to the doctor, instead she went to a yard sale, somehow managed to find a vet who would fill her tank for her and she would tote that with her wherever she went. This could be an urban legend but that’s the story I heard and I’m sticking to it.
I remember one summer when I was putting myself through college and raising my 2 daughters I had to rent from mom and dad. They had this terrible little run-down house and I wasn’t paying much rent so in order to sort of pay them back I was slowly replacing windows, cleaning the yard and making it nicer so when I moved out they could get better rent for it. One day she heard about me and my plan to have the place re-roofed. She was very possessive of her properties and with her oxygen tank in hand she came over.. pretty much re-wired the entire house, re-roofed it (with a little help) and re-did much of the plumbing. She was an incredible woman.
When she passed on it was a shock to everyone. We all knew it was inevitable between her scoliosis and her emphysema she was slowly losing a life-time battle. The thing was, you would never have known. Even looking at her and talking to her she was just a strong woman and never complained about it. Don’t get me wrong, she complained about a lot but never about how weak she was. She made a point of wanting to be cremated and then laid to rest where her mother and her son had been placed. So after she died that’s what dad and my sisters and I did. It was a touching, touching sad trip and freeing at the same time.
Fast forward to 2011 and we are now driving to this same place in a van with both my sisters, my two daughters and grandkids and my older sister’s daughter and my younger sister’s boyfriend and his daughter and my dad.
The rest of this journey will be shown through a photo journey.
RIP mom. Still love ya.