August Ups and Downs

Before you ask, no, I don’t have exciting progress on a new book to tell you about. I wish I did. I will have to count that as one of the “downs” of this month.

But I always look forward to August – good weather, our anniversary, often a trip to the lake – and this year was no different. In fact, we had two trips planned this time – unusual for us, since we hardly ever go anywhere.

First, though, I had a week of jury duty to get through. Not necessarily a “down.” I’ve done it before and found it interesting. It would just be an inconvenience – driving into Tacoma every day, dealing with city traffic and city parking, getting nothing else done. That’s what I anticipated. Instead what happened is that my group number never came up, so I didn’t have to report at all.

Then we were off to Sunriver, Oregon, for six days of vacation! We visited friends in Bend on the way, which was a delight, and we were meeting other friends at our destination. It promised to be a fun getaway!

That promise was mostly kept. We hiked beside the Deschutes River to a falls, and we also traversed the subterranean caverns of a mile-long lava tube. We explored the quaint town of Sunriver Village, ate overpriced ice cream, and floated the Deschutes River. All good.

Mom’s 89th birthday

But while there, I received the upsetting news that my 89-year old mother had been hospitalized with a significant stroke. We left Sunriver early to begin a bedside vigil that lasted ten days until she passed away.

My mom and I were very close, so obviously this was a severe blow, as those of you who have been through it know all too well. And yet, even in this most-serious of downs – loss of a family member – there were blessings. I’m grateful for my mom’s sweet spirit. I am grateful that she didn’t suffer a painful death. I am grateful there was time for everyone to come and say goodbye. I’m grateful that instead of lingering, possibly for years, in the ever-increasing incapacitation that her dementia would have caused, she could talk and walk and recognize her loved ones to the end. And I’m most grateful for the hope of heaven, where I will see her again someday. In the meantime, I’m glad to know she is freed from her struggle, restored, and at peace, safe with Jesus and reunited with my dad and others who have gone before.

One more thing I’m grateful for: that we had a peaceful place to retreat afterward. Although our trip to Montana was delayed, we decided not to cancel it entirely. So this is where I sit now as I write this post. When something bad happens, we more than ever need reminders of what’s good and beautiful in our world. It’s easy to see that here. In fact, it feels like a little taste of heaven.

“I shall soon be rested,” said Fanny; “to sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.”

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

About Shannon Winslow

author of historical fiction in the tradition of Jane Austen
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12 Responses to August Ups and Downs

  1. sheilalmajczan says:

    So sorry to read of your loss. May GOD provide comfort for you. Hope your vacation is pleasant when you finally take that second one. Sounds like the first one was a good one. Our anniversary is tomorrow so we are also in August. Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Sheila. Yes, there is much comfort in God. I may not have been clear, but we are on that second vacation now. The last picture is the lake where we’re staying. Our anniversary was this past Friday. Congratulations on yours. 🙂

  2. Judith Williams says:

    So sorry to hear of the passing on of your mom. Please take comfort of the love of God and I hope you and the family had a restful holiday. The scenery looks heavenly.

  3. Glynis says:

    Lovely photos! I’m glad you enjoyed your first trip but so sorry about your Mum! But as you say, she didn’t suffer too much and you all got to be with her 🥰
    I’m certain you will get to see her again, my Dad was on two oxygen machines and confined to a wheelchair, he died during the night and before I knew about it I had a dream that we had a family get together and he walked in without his oxygen, he was always teasing people so we were saying that he’d obviously been teasing us about the state of his health 😉, he replied that he was fine and no longer needed the oxygen or the chair. I’ve never dreamt anything like that before or since so I’m positive that he was letting me know that he was in a good place and happy.
    I hope you are enjoying your second trip and many congratulations on your anniversary 💐

  4. I am so sorry for your mother’s passing, Shannon. (((((hugs))))) You are so right to celebrate that your mother was able to walk and talk and knew you until her Homecoming. When I visited my dad this week at the dedicated memory care facility where he lives, he did not know us for the first time. He was also in a wheelchair for the first time; at Christmas, he escaped from his former facility and walked eight miles!! Now he cannot walk at all. It’s been a slow decline over the past twelve years since he received his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but right now, he is declining quite quickly. I take my mom from her assisted living facility to see him weekly, and she was so depressed after seeing him on Thursday. He truly was not himself at all for the first time. My mom has dementia (although she is in denial because she can still do her daily crossword puzzles in the newspaper), so it’s just rather hard right now for both of them.

    My siblings live out of state, and I and my grown kids are remaining here despite the exorbitant rental prices so that I can take my mom her groceries every week (she likes certain cookies, granola bars, toiletries, and single-serving bottles of wine). We’ve had to stop going out to lunch because of the high number of Covid cases here, but we’ve been swinging by a drive-thru and taking our lunch to a shady area to enjoy before driving to see my dad. I am savoring every moment with them because each week they slip away a little more, mentally and physically.

    I will pray for you and your family, Shannon, for God’s comfort and peace. We have lost several family members in the past year: an aunt, two uncles, and a brother-in-law (in his mid-50s), plus our beloved dachshund who would have been 16 years old next week. (((((hugs)))))

    Soli Deo Gloria!!

    In HIs love,

  5. caroleincanada says:

    The beauty of nature is so restorative especially when you have lost your beloved mother. May your strength, your memories and belief in God bring you a measure of peace at this time. I am so glad you were all able to say your good-byes. My mother-in-law, who lived with us for 14 years, died peacefully in May. She was a strong, pragmatic, and lively woman who lived life to the fullest with a great sense of humor. She had just celebrated her 96th birthday on April 30th. When she was in the hospital, she and my husband were joking and laughing. She finally had to tell him to stop by saying “Stop! Stop! The laughter is killing me!”

    God Bless,

  6. Luciana Campelo says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Nobody will love you like your mother loved you. A gift from God for our life. May the memories be always sweet, even if the lack is still very recent and brings you moments of sadness.

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