What I am about to tell you is a true story. I not only witnessed it, I was a part of it. No names have been changed to protect the innocent and all the details are true.
We just survived…nay, THRIVED…a 16 hour, 874.3 mile road trip with a 2 year old, a 4 year old, a 6 year old, and an 86 year old.
I know, I wouldn’t believe me either, but it actually happened.
Let me share the story with you…
My Papa was born and raised in West Virginia. He and my grandma were both children of large families so there are a lot of great uncles, aunts, and cousins, and most of the surviving ones still live in West Virginia. As a kid, it was pretty normal for Grandma and Papa to take trips up to see relatives and visit the “homeplace” but those trips grew fewer and fewer as they got older and then stopped completely when my grandma’s health began to decline.
As we cared for her in her last weeks before heaven, I began to have a burden for my Papa and wondered how I could help him heal after she would pass. One night, as Papa and I were talking about old pictures and places, I half jokingly said “come on, Papa, let’s go to West Virginia” and he teasingly replied, “ok, I’ll pack.” But the idea stuck with me and I began discussing it with Michael who agreed that it would be neat to take a trip. The thought of the trip also stuck with Papa who began seriously considering it.
As it began to evolve from a joke to a real idea, Grandma continued to sharply decline.
One night, as I stayed with her, I was polishing her fingernails and talking to her and I promised her that I would take good care of Papa and not to worry about him. I even said that we were thinking about taking him to West Virginia if he was up for it. She never responded except with a raised eyebrow but I hope she heard me. Later, Papa told me that he had also talked to her about it.
Days later, she went to heaven and no more was said about the trip for a while.
Then it came up in conversation again and we decided that if we were going to go, we would wait out the Summer and see how Papa was feeling in early Fall. He would need to be in good health to make a trip of that magnitude. The whole idea of the trip was put on hold at one point because he had a serious health crisis which robbed him of his strength for a while. Thankfully, he recovered very well and his doctors cleared him to go and he was feeling good again.
After talking about it at length with my dad and mom, we chose to move forward with this crazy idea and the wheels were set in motion.
And it was one of the best decisions we have ever made…