Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Home, hearts and Montana!

   The month of October sure did arrive quickly at my house! I can account for every moment of the last several months since I last wrote a blog of my random (very random) thoughts. Can you? Are you making the life moments count toward something meaningful? Are you appreciating the very life breath you have?  Have you counted your blessings and then told those blessings of your love for them? I've decided my tombstone should read someday...Lorraine Estelle Bridges- She tried to live a life of no regrets. It really is my life mantra!
   I have spent most of my adult and married life living away from all of my family in Montana. California has been my home longer than the years I logged in the Big Sky country. I usually feel the pain and separation most when I am with them while visiting my home state. However lets be clear, I don't feel ANY regret during those long winter months while I enjoy the beach temperatures of Northern California.
    I recently traveled back to visit my mother Shirley who is failing slowly, but still failing quicker than we all are ready for. She's preparing herself for entrance to her new home in heaven. She told me during our last visit that she is ready to go and is at peace. Comforting words that I'm thinking about a lot these days as her body is declining and we all say the long slow goodbye to our dear mother/grandmother/great grandmother.
    I had a task of sorting through bins and boxes of photographs in between brief visits with my mom in her assisted living home. What a life passed before my eyes as I sifted through the pictorial memories. There were so many pictures of Montana landscape, animals hunted, fish caught and proudly displayed on the grass, formerly owned cars, trucks and campers, pets, family road trips and decades of family events that cataloged lives well lived. Everyone... smiling for the camera. So much joy pressed in on me while I worked on my laborious job.  I took handfuls of pictures to my mom for her to identify for me. Some people she knew and some forever forgotten. I surprised myself at how excellent I was at my sleuthing abilities to name each family member from their birth! After a week I felt like I had been on a long family adventure with my entire family! I'd spent time with beloved relatives and friends that had passed on as well. I heard their voices as I fingered through the photos. I will admit to a few tearful sessions I experienced alone as I would find a moment captured on film that brought deep emotion. Mom holding her first grandchild Erik, My dad showing my son Grant how to clean his first fish. Pictures of close family friend Shirley Hasenkrug laughing as she blew out a birthday cake. Sister Cheryl kayaking in Alaska with a twinkle in her eye. You know, now as my  mom is slipping away, sorting through those pictures seems to be a treasured gift I received during my visit.  I believed that the longer I'm away the more disconnected I would feel, but it simply isn't true. As my older brother Ken drove me half way across the state to catch a plane home(thanks again my dear brother-extra bro points for you) I felt comfortable with the familiar mountains and valleys in my surroundings. It was like putting on a old comfy pair of shoes or my favorite sweater.  I sure love to visit that place I call "home"!  I like the old saying, " Home is where your heart is." I guess my heart is there and always will be. For my birthday my sister Terri gave me a lovely necklace with the shape of the state of Montana and a heart on it. Appropriate gift for me don't you think?  So many I love are there with my heart including my sweet momma for now.  Maybe I have lots of "homes" and it isn't just in California.