My mom was raised in Colorado. Her love for the mountains never left and she passed this on to all her children – a love for the air, the trees, the colors, and the perspective one gains when they are in the mountains.
One of my most memorable Colorado trips was a camping trip we took the summer I was 16. I had just lost a dear friend and the drive to Colorado was full of sad songs and poem writings. The theme song for the trip was RENT’s Seasons of Love. We camped among the trees and I often found alone time to write and think – a still moment amongst those who loved me.
In high school, my best friend and I accompanied my mom to Denver for my grampy’s wedding. My grammy passed when I was very young and my memories of her are fleeting – mostly created through old photos and stories. My grampy remarried a wonderful woman, Donna. She lives just outside of Denver and always welcomes us with a smorgasbord of food before we enter the mountains.
In January 2012, I traveled up with my mom for my grampy’s funeral. Family came from all over and converged for stories and togetherness – perhaps one of the greatest gifts funerals give us. We took my mom up to the mountains for a couple nights after the services. It was snowy and cold but the views were spectacular and the company did not disappoint.
I married a man who has an equally big love for Colorado and we try to make it to the mountains at least once a year. Sometimes we are accompanied by my siblings, sometimes his parents, and sometimes just us. This past summer we went just our family. It was during this trip that my mom went to the emergency room.
My siblings and I began text strands and FaceTime calls about how best to help mom – she had just turned 65, was working two jobs, not eating well, and struggling with depression. This is what we thought we were battling. And perhaps it was. However, as the days unfolded we slowly found answers and realized we were battling a bigger beast – Cold Antibody Hemolytic Anemia.
After my mom was admitted to the hospital, we decided to cut our vacation short. On the last morning in Colorado, we hiked up to Lily Pad Lake – one of my mom’s favorite hikes – and enjoyed the views and sense of family, of being together and of caring so damn much for one another.
We headed back to Kansas and I drove all night – getting back about 3 am. I slept for maybe 2 hours and quickly showered and rushed to the hospital. I arrived at 6:30 am and walked in my mom’s room.
She embraced me weakly and we both sobbed.
“I thought I was going to die,” she cried.
“Me too, mom. I love you.”
She had no energy to move, to lift her head, to speak – that is what Cold Antibody Hemolytic Anemia does. I sat in a chair next to her and we both dozed off until the doctors and nurses started moving us down for her treatment.
This was the moment.
Just my mom and I.
That is really what Colorado is all about. Being together with people you love. At that moment, her hospital room was my Colorado. I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.
Thanks mom, for Colorado.