The COVID summer will be etched forever into my heart as the summer I spent crisscrossing thousands of miles through the interior of America to spend time with my mother who battled cancer and succumbed on Thursday, July 30. Here are a few pictures on the road complete with bug splats and reflections. I never claimed to be a professional photographer. I just like searching for the light. I will be taking some time off from the blog. I’ll be working on novel three and going back to teach at school later this week. Thanks for understanding.
Jim, Ruby, and I headed across the country on a road trip last week. Our camper kept us self-contained. It seemed like the best way to travel amidst restrictions without contaminating ourselves, others, and more importantly, our ailing parents. We are running out of time; the trip was necessary. Jim dropped me off in Illinois while he continued on to PA to his hometown. These times are bittersweet. Reuniting with children and meeting a new grandson kept the smiles coming while we combat the sadness of the imposing inevitable.
24 h (1,592.9 mi or 2563.52406 km) via I-40 E and US-54 E
Tomorrow we drive toward the West and leave behind the humidity. We return to the dry heat. Back to responsibilities. Each mile away from the sorrow, or toward the ache like a tooth’s dry socket? Back and forth, we are in motion, back and forth until it’s time to say the long goodbye.
My stepfather died three years ago.
Photos trigger memories and transport one to the past. That is the purpose of the Wednesday 1 Shot series.
This photo is from my hometown in Illinois. Just a typical street on the blue-collar side of town. The sky lacks definition. A misty rain coats the trees making them look gangly and tragic. Cracked streets and decaying homes suggest depression in our town.
The setting echoed how our family felt about the passing of a steadfast man who devoted decades to my mother–mind, body, and soul. Maintaining his corner of the world with dedication, he ignored the drama of humans surrounding him and expressed love with pride in his home and garden. He was a man who showed love not with words or touch but by action.
At this point, he would wave me off and tell me not to be so melodramatic. So I will try to obey. I raise my beer can and salute. “Thanks for taking care of Mom.”
The wind blows. Soon, the leaves will fill the branches. The sun will return. Soon, a walk down this simple street in the heart of my town will elicit the nostalgic scenes from my youth and replace the chill. But not today.