Detours Ahead

It is now four, nearly five, months since my last post … a post that was not only the first part of two regarding our July 2018 vacation, but that was even then already several months late for various reasons I won’t bother repeating here. I finally got the Spain post done and was working on editing photos from our eight days in jolly ol’ England. Finally some progress!

Two days later, my father-in-law died. I had mentioned in the Spain post that he had been ill. But although he hadn’t recovered 100 percent — he was 85 years old, after all — his death following what had been a routine surgery came as a shock. I was quite fond of him, and grateful to him. I remember when I first met him. He and his wife had come to the states to visit. Espen and I had started dating a few months prior, and while Espen had met my mother, I was meeting both of his parents and his sister. I was so nervous that I thought I was going to vomit. What would they think about his dating this American woman — and a black woman at that?! My knees were jelly. I could barely walk up the steps leading to the front door. For the briefest of moments I thought, “I could leave. I could run down these steps right now, get back in my car, and hightail it outta here!” But then I remembered that (1) they were all likely looking at me through one of the kitchen windows, and (2) I was already head over heels in love with Espen, and I wasn’t about to let a stupid little panic attack keep me from being with him. (These reasons are not listed in the order of importance.)

I rang the doorbell. Espen opened the door and led me in. Hugged me. “Nervous?” he asked. “Yes,” I answered matter-of-factly. Swallowing my anxiety I walked in. And there was Finn, who was already walking over to me. I expected a polite handshake but instead got the warmest, welcoming hug. Talk about being embraced into the family!

Finn lost his wife of over 50 years while we were still in the states, but he wasn’t alone for too long. A year later, he had himself a lady friend. By the time Espen and I moved to Norway, Finn was, as he exclaimed one afternoon here with us, “deeply in love.” He visited Ellen often over on the other side of the country, and they traveled a lot, but when he did manage to stay in town, he hosted family dinners, joined birthday parties, and hit the occasional soccer game to watch his great-grandsons. Even after he became ill, he remained as independent as he could manage. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren adored him, not to mention how much Espen and his sister loved him. And I loved him dearly too. He was a wonderful and funny man, and is still greatly missed.

My mom, a fantastically funny woman.

Death didn’t stop there. Tomorrow will mark one month since my mother died. She had been struggling with Alzheimer symptoms for a while, but in the end it was lung cancer that took her, swiftly and horrifically. I arrived in Virginia Beach on a Wednesday evening to help with the series of doctor’s appointments that were to come the next week, but by that Saturday, just a few short days later, she was already under hospice care in the house I grew up in, with my father and me doing whatever we could to keep her comfortable. So much happened in a very short period. I’m still struggling to process it all.

But here’s the thing: I started this blog because my mother loved seeing pictures from my travels. Back when I lived in the states, I’d even get photos printed for her so she could keep them in one of her many (oh, so many) brag books and show her friends. I think she walked around with our wedding photos in her purse for a year. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep doing that after I moved here to Bergen, but I did want to continue sharing my adventures with her, and this blog was the easiest way to do it. Whenever I finished a post, I’d email the link to my dad with the firm instruction: “Show this to Mama!”

And now she’s gone.

Espen and I will soon begin a train tour around Europe. Where we go and how long we’ll be away are up in the air — two facts that make it that much more magical an experience. But this is will also be the first trip that I can’t share with her, and that fact hurts. So … I’m not sure when I’m writing again. My good friend Ian urged me to keep this going in her memory, and I suppose he’s right. While I’m not feeling up to it now, it doesn’t mean I never will again. So I won’t say that the road is closed. Rather, the road is under construction. Detours ahead.

2 thoughts on “Detours Ahead

  1. You such a good story teller
    I do hope you continue in your mother’s name.I enjoyed it an look forward to more episodes, when the rode is repaired. My God child is a writer. Hope to read your best seller someday.


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