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That One Journey
Dedicated to My Mom
Submitted by LaVonne
My mother was born with multiple disabilities that caused her pain, discomfort and inconvenience all of her life. There were many things she never got to experience, such as the longed-for trip to France that she had always dreamed of. Although she was interested in exotic destinations, disability, lack of money and responsibilities as a wife and mother kept her from going to many exciting places. Except for that one journey.
In the early seventies, when I was five years old, my mother heard that her best friend from high school was having problems. Her friend was a single mother who had gotten into drugs and was living with some unemployed, mooching loser. My mother was determined to see her friend and help her turn her life around, but a visit would require more than just packing up the car and toppping off the tank--my mother's friend had moved to Hawaii!
Hawaii was a long way from Phoenix, where we lived. Airfare was expensive and my parents could afford only one ticket. It was a daunting task for my mother to travel by herself in the days before the Americans with Disabilities Act. But she was able to find kind people to help her in her journey.
Unfortunately, my mother's attempt at intervention had little impact on her friend. The two women drifted apart and had little contact after that. The friend wanted to be left alone and my mother respected that wish. But the stories my mother shared with me about the beautiful beaches and mountains, fields of sugarcane, her spotting of actor Brian Keith outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken and the beautiful photos and the seashells she bought in a souvenir shop, captured my young imagination. But my fondest recollection of this episode is her love for her friend that spanned the miles and overcame numerous obstacles. It was also a bittersweet departure of two friends who had chosen to seek different paths. My mother always spoke fondly of her friend even after that encounter and never gave up hope that things eventually got better for her.
When my mother died of cancer at the age of 51, I remembered her Hawaiian adventure and was comforted with the fact that she had taken that one journey.