Friday, May 27, 2011

With all of her best intentions

My mother was born in the small town of Columbia, about four miles from the Canadian border.  As her life in the southern part of the state got busier and fuller, she made the trip North fewer and fewer times.  Since the onset of Alzheimer's, her trips home exist solely in her mind and imagination.  She is a frequent traveler to all of her old haunts and on any given day asks after one or more ghosts from the past.  The next to last time she went up was for her 50th class reunion from Colebrook Academy.  I drove her and we spent an entire day and night immersing ourselves in a walk down her memory lane.  The last time we went up, was to spend Christmas 7 years ago at The Balsams Grand Resort.  Clearly, unbeknown to us at the time, Alzheimer's was the uninvited guest, for upon arrival for a 4 day stay my mother had packed a toothbrush and socks.

So it was that yesterday morning, I packed my car for the long trip ahead, picked up my trusted friend and road trip buddy..Alice, and we set our sights upwards to the Great North Woods.  This trip I told myself at it's inception, was for my mom.  I would visit her memories, visit my grandparents and hers and bring her intentions, her love and the girl she was... back home again.  Alice and I took up the front seat, she in charge of music selections, me being the tour guide....laughter hit by the first mile marker.  I did not comment on the ghosts joining us in the back.

With age, the family dairy farm had lost much of it's splendor, not to mention the barn.  There in the front parlor, my mother was born so tiny they had to place her by the wood stove for the first week of her life to keep her warm enough.  Flash forward twenty eight years and she is a beautiful bride marrying my dad in the same front parlor.  We lunch at the restaurant where my parents met more than 60 years ago and while time has changed all things, they still serve more than 7 choices of pie.

Our final stop is the cemetery at the north end of town.  I find my great grandparents quite by accident.  Though I have no memory of these two, I can share many stories of their rich lives.  It takes a little while,  but finally I find my gramma Mimi and papa John.  I tell her quietly, that my mom asks for her every day and looks for her in every room.  I pause many good memories of these two people.  It is no wonder to me that my mother seeks them out, day in and day out.  So I carried my mothers best intentions, her love and stood in for her yesterday,  since she could not go herself.  I told myself at the inception....this trip is for her.....but really, this trip was for us.  I will visit her today and share my adventure and with it my best intentions.


  1. Thanks for the ride down your memory lane.

  2. I loved when you said you were laughing at the first mile. Your trip sounds like a celebration of her life and you didn't let that black alzheimers cloud hang over you.