July 10th, 2009
Another furlough day to take on Friday. I had some vacation time so I took off on Thursday at noon. I was looking forward to this loop as it would take me through the North West mountain region. I had made arrangements to stay with an old friend I had worked with in the 70's. He and his bride grew up in Montana, but left for greener pastures in the Pacific Northwest after college and a few years of working in TV in Missoula. He had recently semi retired, and was working part time for KAJ-TV in Kalispell, and invited me to spend the night at their place on Flathead Lake. I left from work and headed to Shelby to see my mother before taking Hiway 2 through the eastern front of the Rockies, rounding the edge of Glacier Nat'l Park, and the beautiful Flathead Valley.
As I was walking towards my mothers room at the assisted living facility in Shelby, a nurse came running down the hall and asked me not to go into her room. I asked why and she said the doctor was in with her. I asked what was up, and she said that mom had died about 20 minutes earlier. She had been struggling for the past week, and for the better part of her life had always said "I'll go when and where Jesus wants me." July 10th was the day, 1:30 the time. She was 96. I called my wife and brother to let them know, and he told me everything was arranged. We discussed me securing her valuables before leaving the home,and going up to visit with our sister. I called my other sister in Tacoma to let her know, and went into mom's room, said goodbye, gathered up her purse and jewelry, bagged them up and took them to my sisters home. When I rode up to her house, I noticed her daughter-in-law, and grand daughter was with her. I shared the news, had a good cry with my sister, and we visited for another hour.
Mom had told my brother and his wife she wanted to have a memorial service in Sept, so there was not much to be done. I must say have things pre-arranged in your life makes it a lot easier to deal with. My brother said he would take care of the remaining items in the room the next day. I decided the best way to grieve was to do so on the iron horse. So I fired up and took a very sad journey towards the mountains. I've always found the mountains to be a place of healing and soothing to the soul.