Prior to our 2019 road trip, I had never been to South Dakota and had zero expectations. I fell in love with the whole state. The crush began when we crossed from Sioux City, Iowa into Sioux Falls, South Dakota and grew with each passing mile. The only planned stops we had for the South Dakota portion of the trip were Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. We also spent time exploring the famous Wall Drug.
One of the first things that appealed to me were the gigantic teepees present at every SD rest area. They make my heart happy.
I had seen photos of the sculpture named Dignity of Earth and Sky. However, I had no idea that it is located in South Dakota until we pulled off at a rest area near Chamberlain and… there it was. Squealing may have been involved. My pictures absolutely do not do it justice, but I’m glad I got to see it in person.
Until next time, happy trails! And remember, life isn’t just about the destination, it’s also about the journey and the unexpected finds along the way.
February tends to be a rough month for me. In 2010 Kenn and I moved my parents from my childhood home (their home of almost 50 years) to the house right across the street from us. They remained there until my daddy died on February 16, 2016. Daddy had been Mama’s primary caretaker until about 3 months before his death. However, Kenn and I were both still working full-time and in-home care for Mama was prohibitively expensive so she moved to North Carolina to live with my oldest sister and her husband. Daddy’s death was hard enough but Mama’s move immediately afterward felt almost like losing her. We made regular trips to NC to visit but it was obvious that Mama’s health was also failing; she died on February 24, 2017. (My sisters and I would not have been surprised if she had died on the anniversary of Daddy’s death.)
Everyone’s grief journey is different. My experience is that grief lessens over time but it doesn’t completely fade. I also don’t look at the calendar and go “Oh, wow. It’s February. I need to be sad.” Invariably what happens is that I find myself feeling blue and wondering what in the heck is going on and eventually realizing “Oh. It’s February. No wonder my heart is aching.” Kenn is a great support and is always willing to provide hugs as needed. I also turn to Mass Effect, my favorite video game, and spend time saving the galaxy with my virtual friends. (What can I say? Some people have comfort foods or books or movies. I have a comfort video game.)
The picture above is one of my favorites of Mama and Daddy. It was taken at our local Cracker Barrel (their favorite restaurant) in February 2015.
This year, I have something new to ease the February blues. Earlier this month, our oldest son and daughter-in-law welcomed twins. Meeting (and cuddling) these new little ones has definitely brightened my life. I will always miss my parents and the anniversaries of their deaths will always be hard, but having two new lives to celebrate (year round, not just in February) will certainly make things easier going forward.
Until next time, happy trails and… take the time to hug your loved ones and tell them how you feel.