My holidays home to America have been very different than expected. I planned to arrive just before Christmas to spend time with my parents and to help with some projects around the house. And then, I would leave just after the New Year. But Mum took ill, so I extended my stay.
Prior to my trip, we had talked about the possibility of a Winter Solstice (21 December) road trip to the Stonehenge monument at Maryhill, Washington. But Mum was feeling weak, and the weather was looking bleak. So, we decided to skip it for this trip – with a plan to enjoy a nice road trip on my summer holidays.
But today, we went to Stonehenge. We, as in Daddy and I, as Mum died the week before.
We didn’t plan on going to Stonehenge, but we had returned to the house in Cle Elum after Mum died and the weather meant that we had to take the long way around to get back to my sister’s house – where we planned to stay until my flight home next week.
There has been a long list of really, really crappy things that have happened this year so far (and it’s only January!). The worst of those, by far, is my mother’s death. But there have also been some lovely, wonderful moments. And today was one of those – although it was more of a bitter-sweet day.
We set off from Cle Elum early so that we could make the long (6-hour+) drive with a couple of stops, and still make it to Royann’s in time for dinner. When we started the journey, we didn’t have a detailed plan for a route, simply that we would be going over Satus Pass to avoid the poor conditions on Snoqualmie Pass.
Along the way, we decided that we would stop at Stonehenge so that I could collect a geocache to add towards my 2022 goal of 42 caches. A little further along, we took a detour to investigate some potential photography spots for Daddy so that he can get some good “train photos” later this year (a hobby he began as a way of bringing the trains to Mum when she didn’t have the energy to go out and see them herself). And then, a little further along still, we made a stop at a rest area along Highway 14 where there just happened to be another geocache (yay!).
It was a sad journey in a lot of ways because I couldn’t help but think that Mum should have been with us. And it made me sad to think of all the things we never got to do; all the plans that we had that will go un-done.
It also made me sad to think of Daddy travelling solo now. After so many years of travelling with Mum, his partner in love, life, and leisure, his adventures going forward will be without her. Or at least without her physical being – she will always be with him, just like Paul is always with me.
But I felt very blessed to be able to take this mini-road trip with Daddy today. There was an enjoyable and “carefree” feeling, despite there being a cloud of grief above our heads.
When we got to I-5 (the final 2-hour stretch towards Royann’s), I was joyed to see a rainbow. Whilst I don’t believe that our loved ones in Heaven send these things down to us, they do often serve as a reminder to me that they are here with us, in our hearts, in our memories, in our tears, and in our laughter.
I had really been looking forward to going to Stonehenge with Mum and Dad because I knew how much Mum would enjoy the trip. She was so much fun to adventure with because she always brought a bit of wonder along with her. But I am so pleased that I was able to make the trip with Dad. There have been too many sad days on this visit home, and I am glad that we got to enjoy this (relatively) happy day.
Note: Stonehenge replica at Maryhill was the first monument in the USA for those who died during WWI. The altar stone is placed to be aligned with sunrise on the summer solstice.