The time has come. I’m traveling to Washington state to be with family and celebrate my mom’s life. She passed away from asymptomatic COVID on New Year’s Day.
My brother and I were grieving badly along with our aunt, Mom’s little sister, and we decided to wait until her birthday to spread her ashes and to be together to celebrate her life. I thought a little time would help me face the loss. I don’t know if it made it better or worse.
The trip has been hanging over my head since the first week of January. Now that it’s here, I’m feeling waves of grief and untapped emotion.
The photos are from property that has been in the family for three generations. This is where we’ll say good-bye to mom.
I cannot believe my daughter will begin her senior year of college. I will take her to the airport soon and once again say goodbye after spending almost two weeks together. She began her college journey three years ago. Here’s what I wrote about our final goodbye:
Last week I wrote about 7 tips for parents on Move-In Day. At the end I wrote: “I made it through the day without tears–mostly. It was a long, busy and tiring day. When my husband and I stopped for lunch — alone — and I realized that we were truly alone — the tears ran down my cheeks. I wiped them off and prepared myself for battle for the next stop at Target. When, it’s time to say good-bye — well, I’ll tell you how that goes another time.”
Kat during our 6th trip to Target
So, how did it go when we said good-bye?
We had planned to stay until Sunday. Move-In day had been Thursday. We wanted to be around for a few days in case she needed us. She wanted us there on Thursday, but by Friday — not so much. It began to make sense for us to leave a day early. We didn’t want to hang out and wait to see if she wanted us around. It didn’t make us feel good and we weren’t enjoying ourselves exploring the city that much. We had a long drive ahead of us, too. So we went out for an early morning walk Saturday and talked about how we’d let her know that we felt it was time to leave.
She texted us at 7 a.m. Saturday.
text from Kat
It was time to say good-bye. We walked on over to her dorm. I took a deep breath. I said a prayer to be strong.
“Do not cry. I can do this,” I repeated in my head.
She opened the door, I wanted to say something profound and loving. Something she’d remember — but I said nothing. My husband said a few things and I nodded my head.
I opened my mouth, my voice cracked and wavered. At this point, I cannot remember what I was trying to say.
“Mom! Mom! Stop it!” she said. “Don’t!”
She held my face in her hands, like I was the child. “It’s going to be okay.”
A view during our walk on campus
Tip 1: Make it short and quick.
Bill and I walked out of her room into the bright cool air that is Utah. We walked all over campus for two hours and I felt much better — amazed at what a strong beautiful woman we had raised.
Sage Point dorms at U of U, the athlete housing for Winter Olympics 2002.