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Who would have thought leaving Portland would be so difficult? I certainly didn’t. Telling Kelly good-bye before he left for work, I started to cry. I thanked him for his hospitality, told him how thankful I was to have the opportunity to get to know him better as an adult, told him that I didn’t want to leave, said I would miss him terribly, and told him how proud I was of him for bringing his mother to live with he and Krista during her last few months of life. I told him that he and Krista would always be welcome in our home and we would come see them again when we could. As I hugged him I began sobbing, a deep from the inside, shaking sob. (As I am writing this, the tears are starting again!) It was so terribly hard for me. After he drove away, we finished getting ready and loaded the car. Before we left, we told Krista good-bye. The whole process started over again. I started crying again as I told Krista the same things I had said to Kelly. Krista was so good to my sister. It was quite obvious she loved her as much as Kelly and I. She welcomed her mother-in-law into her home and took care of her and she did it with love, gentleness and kindness.  Again, as I hugged her I began sobbing, the deep from the inside shaking kind of sob. We got in the car and began our journey home.

As we left their house, the sobbing continued for at least thirty plus minutes as we drove down the highway. It felt as if I was leaving my sister. Kelly was and is my connection to her . . . to her life’s belongings, which really are not her nor are they important, but they are a connection . . . to her. I felt such a deep sadness and emptiness. Finally, I gained my composure and was able to begin to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Off and on during the day as we drove toward Selah to see Uncle Bobby, I would quietly cry. Dave was so wonderful . . . he would just reach over and hold my hand or squeeze my shoulder or leg. No words needed to be exchanged.

As we were driving along heading toward Selah, there was a scenic drive exit. Since we enjoy the scenic routes and roads less traveled, we chose to change our plans of staying on the interstate and head in the direction of the scenic route. We had no idea that it would add several extra hours to our drive! Maybe if we didn’t feel the need to stop and look at things along the way it would have been shorter but nature beckoned us with her beauty. The road took us into the higher elevations of the mountains; in fact, there were some roads that were still closed because of the snow. It was absolutely gorgeous, a feast for the eyes. There was snow, very deep snow; waterfalls; rushing rivers; and beautiful trees and flowers.   The majesty and splendor of the mountains truly calmed my soul. This sign made me laugh out loud! Seriously! Who needs a sign to be able to see the mountain?  

This is Mount St. Helens.

                                                                            The log was about three feet in diameter.


Driving through this snow was amazing! I have never seen snow piled so high on either side of the road.                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                             We drove and drove and drove through the mountains with all those beautiful trees surrounding us and then suddenly we went around and curve and we were on mountains with NO trees!

AND there was sagebrush! It was so strange. The diversity of the landscapes of our country always amazes me.

We arrived at Uncle Bobby’s in Selah about three hours later than we had planned because of our detour through the mountains. I had tried to call him but couldn’t get a cell phone signal in the higher elevations. He was a bit annoyed with me . . . he is such an “Andrews”! (Andrews is the last name on the matriarch side of my family. Many of them tend to be a bit, shall I say, easily annoyed and short tempered.) Once he shared his irritation with us being so late, I had to go through the whole story of Carol’s illness and death all over again. He and Aunt Candy hung on to every word. They were both visibly upset over her death. They both made comments about how good it was that I could be there with her and that I had done “such good thing”. One of the highlights of our visit was looking at Uncle Bobby’s scrapbook of his days as a country singer in Nashville. He had several pictures of himself with famous country singers of the 50’s and early 60’s. Who knew? It’s always fun to learn new things about family members. We visited with them for a few hours and then much to their chagrin, headed on down the road.

As we left Selah, I had feelings of sadness yet again. Once we were headed on down the road they subsided for a while. We took another little detour along the way and stopped at a memorial for wild stallions which was basically statues of stallions on top of a flat mountain. (Would that be a mesa?) This picture does not do it justice. It really was quite an incredible sight to see. It was something that we noticed in the distance and as we got closer the horses became bigger and bigger. There was not a way to get very close to it but we got as close as we could to take pictures.



This picture is from where we had just been . . . over the bridge and mountains. What a day. Everything was so beautiful.

As nightfall came, we were hoping to make it further on down the road because we were heading to Helena, MT where Dave was born. We only made it to Moses Lake, Washington because of our earlier delay. It is OK though, because the journey to get where we are going is more than half the fun!

Why does everyone keep telling me what a great thing I did by going to my sister? All I did was go there and be with her and take care of her when she needed it, something I would like to think anyone else would do in the same situation. Was it easy? NO, it was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. Did I enjoy being away from my husband that long? NO, I missed him terribly. Did I miss my friends? Yes. Do I regret being there for her? NO. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!!! There was a connection between my sister and me. We were totally different in so many ways, but very alike in so many as well. As strange as it sounds, when I wear her jewelry or clothes, I feel like I’m wearing her. I’ll always have that part of her – that and the crows. (Check out my earlier posts for the story of the crows.) For the rest of my life, when I see a crow, I will think of my sister! AND, I will miss her.