"Kathy," I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
"Michigan seems like a dream to me now"

Another week, another airport, another hotel room - but this should about wrap it up for 2009. My travel agenda is empty for the remainder of the year and I am ready for the break. I've been all over the east since February and returned to some places two or three times. Visited every major city in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina - by car. Enterprise Rent-A-Car probably had a sales increase just because of me this year.

Mentally, I'm just about exhausted.

This would explain why at dinner tonight that seeing popcorn shrimp on the menu at Red Lobster reminded me of going there with my mother starting from age 4 or 5 and always ordering that. I guess that was our tradition and "our time" through the years and these are the little details that start hitting you randomly when you realize you are watching someone slowly fade away. Then, you feel guilty because you haven't been there and preserved "our time" as much as you should.

To say my mother is not exactly healthy is an understatement but there is an incredible amount of uncertainty to what that means exactly. I started writing here right as she was admitted to the hospital for surgery in 2007 but she is avoiding the doctors and a diagnosis this time. Part of me understands when there is no desire to go through all of that again but then there is the constant fear of that unexpected phone call (much like one I got in 2007). And then  part of me wonders if it is all in my head and this is all moving much more slowly than I think.

The bad part is that I'm not usually wrong about these things. I can only hope that this time I am and that these holidays won't be a series of lasts. Yet, I can't help but treat it that way. We'll do what we always do - have faith and move forward. What other options do we have?