I thought a lot about what I wanted my first blog post to be about for a little while now. I wanted it to be something meaningful mixed with of course some fun as well. So when this past weekend rolled around I knew this was it.
April 24th, 2017 marks the two year anniversary of my mother’s death. Legally she died on the 27th but to me the 24th is the anniversary. Who is correct? Im not sure we will ever really be able to know. After struggling to recover from a terrible motorcycle accident for about a year, my mom made the choice to end her life. Im not sure if this is a decision I will ever be able to fully understand, but over the last two years, I have come to accept it and live with it. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t wake up one morning and say “Hey, today is the day that I am moving on with my life”. No, it didn’t happen like that at all. Instead, its a process, with many ups and downs. There are days still when I feel miserable and want to curse the world for this terrible thing happening. But overall, I have learned how to live my life and be happy again because at the end of the day, that is what my mom would have wanted most.
(plus the fact that I am newly engaged to the most amazing man ever and in a wedding planning frenzy doesn’t hurt!)
So twice a year, since her death, I go out of town. Once for her birthday (over the last two years I’ve made it somewhat of a tradition to go to Tioga Pass in Yosemite for that — it was one of her favorite places) and then like this past weekend once for the anniversary of her death. Of course, this is a sad day — and believe me, the whole week before and after still gets to me emotionally quite a bit — but I also want to make these trips fun! I want to celebrate the things that she loved; the outdoors, the mountains, going on trips, etc… more than dwell on the fact that she is no longer here.
Thats why my dad and I decided to go to Big Bear, CA this year. This was a place that she absolutely loved. We went on a trip there a few years ago together (with our combined 4 dogs at the time — it was complete mayhem) and had a blast. We walked through town, did some shopping, had good food, went hiking with the dogs, and even stopped by a haunted house. She always wanted to come and spend a Christmas in a little cabin in Big Bear (something that will now go on my bucket list).
My dad and I drove out on Sunday morning and stayed until Monday afternoon. The drive up was pretty good — we hit almost zero traffic (which is a first for me!). The weather was gorgeous and after we checked into our hotel we walked around the town for the rest of the day. I know, that the winter season just ended and that it was Sunday afternoon by then but I was surprised at how dead it was! It felt like we were the only two people in Big Bear. But that didn’t matter, the trees were all blooming and the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day. We had food at this little Indian restaurant there that was one of my mom’s favorites (for good reason — It was absolutely delicious!!)
Afterwards, I spent the evening journaling, texting Kevin and listening to old voicemails from my mom that still have saved on old cellphones. I would be lying, if I were to say that those moments on my own at night aren’t hard. But they are necessary as well, it’s all part of the process. It amazing and sad to realize that there are small details that are already fading and will continue to do so. Thats one of the reasons why I have clung onto being able to turn on my old phone and listen to her voice reminding a younger me to update my car’s registration, or nagging me to call her back or simply telling me goodnight and that she loves me. Its like having a tiny piece of her there with me.
On Monday morning, we had breakfast and then headed out for a hike. We decided on the Castle Rock trail. It was supposed to be gorgeous and not too long. The little info we found on online said that the first .5 miles were steep and the trailhead could be kind of hard to find but it was well worth it. The info didn’t life! It took us a little while to find the trailhead and when we did, I quickly realized that with steep, it meant steep. (given, I’m not in the best shape — so it probably wasn’t as bad as I thought).
But guys, it was soooo worth it! While steep, the way up was absolutely gorgeous. Lots of giant pine trees and big boulders. The trail was pretty well marked too, so once we found it, it wasn’t hard to stay on it. My mom would have loved it! (ok maybe not the steep part but the pretty nature part). Once we reached the top, we had gorgeous views of the lake. I could not have thought of a better way to spend the day 🙂 We hung out at the top for a little while just taking in the views and being lost in our thoughts and then it was time to head back down.
(I had to snap a quick photo of my ring on the way down as well — because, well its just too gorgeous and sparkly not to!)
After our hike, we started to slowly head back in the direction of home. We made another quick stop on the way to Arrowhead at a trail head. We walked down the trail for a few minutes taking in the sequoias along the trail.
My dad dropped me back off at home around 6pm and my wonderful fiancé spent the rest of the night helping me download my mom’s voicemails to my computer (and then his computer, dropbox, google drive and a usb stick — I’m slightly paranoid). Kevin is a lot more tech savvy than me. I had been putting this off for the last two years out of fear that I would accidentally delete them in the process. But because Kevin is amazing, nothing was deleted and I can now rest assured that my mom’s voicemails will live on forever 🙂
Of course, the weekend was not without its ups and downs but overall it was a pretty good one! There was time for reflection, fun, tears, good food, laughter, nature and lots of love and I hope for lots more in the future as I grow into the woman that I know my mom would have been proud of.