This wasn’t a “vacation.”   This was “a trip to Florida to see family.”    My Dad wanted to see me;  I think he wanted to see for himself, in person,  that I’m okay…by myself now.   

The trip turned into a family reunion of sorts.  Daughter and her little family were nearby on business, so they came down the 60 or 70 miles more to see us.  Son flew down to be with us all and complete the picture.    We were all busy, hurried, aware of how little time we had, but it was good to be together.

And then it was “the last sunset”  on  our trip.   That’s the view out my hotel window as I was contemplating the family issues of the past week:   life, death;   together, apart;   baby beginning life, adults ending life;  good things and difficult things;   the history we are making, the history we have to turn back and face.

I was also contemplating the drive ahead.   Will I drive for three days?  Or will I make it in two?    Will those terrible storms in Missouri reach the Interstate I planned to drive on…when I was driving on them?  Will I be as weepy on the way northward, driving without Hubbie, as I was on the way southward, without Hubbie?

So I started out the next morning, four wheels and forty prayers.    Homeward !!!!

Not much to say about my first day of driving.   Looking out my front window:

Still looking out my front window:

Just stare at those two photos for about ten hours.  Ha Ha – That was my first day of driving.    Homeward !!!

Along the way I said good-bye to the ocean, the incredible blazing heat of the southern sun, the palm trees, kudzu, and the Spanish moss:

That was Spanish moss alongside a gas station that I stopped at.   

Then I noticed that there weren’t many of those horrible Love bugs to scratch and scrape off the windshield, as before.  

Instead of a multitude of Lovebug residue, I had a few giant splotches, like Bug Explosions against the windshield.   Next time I stopped at a gas station I discovered what those were:

About three inches long.    Growing up on the Illinois prairie, we called them locusts.    They were littered all over the gas station driveway every four or five feet.    And on everyone’s windshields.   Bug Explosions.

I drove as far north as I could that first day.     As I drove I was facing the possibility  that this might be the very last family reunion photo op that my side of the family will be able to have.   The end of an era.     I was looking alone-ness square in the face, feeling the miles of distance from my family,  feeling my singleness, settling in to what it feels like to accept the end of things.

The end of the first day….    Looking out my front window in northern Georgia.

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