We decided after my parent's health started to fail they were no longer going to be doing much traveling and we needed to make the effort to go visit them. My home town is about 10 hours drive per the computer but with meals and stops it is much longer and I really do not enjoy doing it on one day anymore so we do about 1/3 the first day after work and the rest so we can arrive in time for dinner. We decided to take a few days off and make a long weekend trip to celebrate mother's day.
A few months before the trip a former classmate from my hometown died of a heart attack. At the time of this writing I'm 48 - pretty young for that sort of thing. He and is wife recently took the trip and commented on all of the same things I'd be excited to see - suddenly they'd take on a new light as I'd reflect on my old friend Dave.
A few weeks before the trip my father's health took a serious turn and he spent a week in the hospital. In later discussions with my brother it was worse than I was told at the time otherwise I'd probably have returned at the time. When we arrived he was puttering around the house quite frail on an oxygen leash pretty much unable to leave the house. This combined with a continued decline from dementia is a unnerving. My usual game of cribbage with him was out of the question.
My mother is doing generally OK but still - she fought off cancer a few years ago and it is always in our mind, will it return, when will it return? Her mind is not as sharp as it was in the past from her own aging and possibly the meds from fighting the cancer, who knows.
A few days before the trip a different classmate from high school committed suicide after not being able to deal with his alcoholism. We were not close after high school, but though mutual friends I had followed his career of mayor and later State Representative. I read about his excitement meeting President Obama on his 2nd run for office as he toured our mutual home town. The funeral was the weekend of our trip. Several people had put out John's election signs as a symbol of support which reminded me as I drove around town. Several other mutual friends were posting on social media about John, the funeral, etc.
Death and gloom hung over this trip.
None the less I had fun, the weather was pleasant, the lake and views are great as always. Three of my four siblings were able to our meals together and celebrate mother's day with us. We played several games together with my family and niece. My family and I spent a day with my mom touring the town and seeing some of our favorite spots.
As I head back home I do fear if this is the last time I may ever see my dad or even my mom, and wonder who is next, but feel great about the time we just had together.