I have to admit, life has been pretty good to me overall and when it comes to summers, I've been dealt some pretty good hands. I've been fortunate enough to have had every summer off work since...well, since I started working many years ago. Things just kind of fall into place for me when it comes to having the best time of the year to myself to do as I please. The first two years, I was a student and traveled back home from the city to be with my family. I later found myself a job at a company that allowed me to work as much overtime and weekends as I wanted throughout the winter so I could take the entire summer off if I wanted to...and, of course I wanted to so I worked my butt off all winter to save up enough money and time to be able to take a leave of temporary absence from my job. This summer is a little different. I had a job but I got laid off...you guessed it, right before summer began! Not that being laid off is a good thing but it fell at just the right time. Now don't all be hating on me now. I don't know how well I would fare if I ever found myself having to sit in an office every day from 9-5 while the sun splits rocks outside and the beach calls my name but I know the time may come when my luck will run out.
This summer is different in another way. It's different because, unlike other summers that have been all fun and good times, this summer has been a roller-coaster of sorts with an equal mixture of good and bad. Don't get me wrong, the bad was really bad but the good has been really good. It's just there is one thing missing; my Mom.
April 22nd is a day I will never forget. That was the day that I was unable to reach my mom for an extended period of time. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of guilt, grief, sadness and shock that overcame me when the uniformed police officer who was sent to break into my mom's apartment to check up on her informed me that the reason she was not answering her door or her phone was because she had passed away in her sleep. The following weeks were a blur of activity that had me making phone calls, making funeral arrangements, dealing with lawyers, doctors, funeral directors, bereaved friends and family members, landlords and utility companies on top of having to deal with the heartbreaking task of cleaning out mom's apartment filled with life-long memories and treasured heirlooms. I was so busy, I barely had time to grieve. It wasn't until well into the next month when the activity died down, the funeral had come and gone and my pink slip came in the mail that I was finally able to break down and let reality set in that my mom was gone and we wouldn't be doing all of the things we said we would be doing together this summer.
Now, if you have been reading or following this blog for a while, you know I am not one to get depressed or to let life's hurdles get in the way of living the one life I have to live. I'm more of a "plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead" type and this quote certainly rings true when I think of all the things Mom wanted to do but never got the chance. We just never know when our time will come. My time could be tomorrow or it could be 50 years from now but I'm not going to sit around wasting any of the time I have left. I made a vow to do exactly as Mom would have wanted me to do...to continue living my life to the fullest no matter what happens. And that is what I have been doing these past few months.
I created a mental bucket list to complete before the end of the Fall. Summer really began in mid-June for me. That is when I decided, at the spur of the moment, to take a road trip. Road trips are not something new to me but this road trip had special meaning because I was traveling to a city I had never been to before (Dieppe, New Brunswick) to visit a person I had never met before - my great-aunt who Mom had never met and intended to visit for the first time this summer. Summer 2013 bucket list item #1...completed! I also did another thing on that same trip. I always wanted to drive over The Confederation Bridge, the massive structure that takes travelers across the Gulf from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, so I veered off course, drove over the bridge and took the scenic route home through PEI...bucket list item #2...done!