A Memorable Experience with my Mother – Journey Back to her Birthplace
by DALE on APRIL 28, 2009
I just returned from a visit with my dear mother. Since she lives 600 hundred miles away, we tried to plan my visit to get the most out of our days together.
We spent a good amount of thought in planning our 4 days together; we talked about what would mean most to her. This time, we planned a little getaway to her birthplace on the eastern shore of Maryland. I planned one open day before and after our trip, and used that time to take her for a doctor’s appointment, errands, her favorite local restaurant, and getting her seasonal clothes out of storage. She wanted me to attend her Friday’s night Social Hour and meet her friends.
When you have such a short time together infrequently, it is easy to fall into checking items off our to-do list. But, I find the quiet times are probably most important. She opens up and shares. She talked about how her first few months (after selling her home and moving to Fairhaven) was hard. She talked about how (at first) she would put on a happy face in front of others, but sometimes didn’t feel that way inside. It is so important to just let your parent talk; let them know their feelings are validated…that it’s ok to feel all sorts of emotions over time. If your aging parents feel listened to, they will continue to share and you will know if something is beyond normal and you need to seek help.
Ok, on to the good stuff. We spent 3 days and 2 nights on the eastern shore of Maryland (by the Chesapeake Bay), stayed at our all-time favorite B&B, Point Breeze, and visited St. Michaels, “the town that fooled the British” and her birthplace , Tilghman Island. As we walked through the towns, visited the Chesapeake Maritime Museum, and local restaurants… names and memories came flooding back to Mom. She began sharing wonderful stories and memories. She was thrilled when (after driving down back roads), we found the unmarked cemetery/gravestones of her grandparents. It had been 50 years since she had been there. She stood in awe. What a moment!
We took lots of pictures, stayed up late into the night talking. Though short, this trip meant so much to both of us. It was relaxing, lifted our spirits and helped us create new memories.
You can find more of Dale Carter’s writing and wonderful insights on aging and life on her blog: http://www.transitionagingparents.com/