Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Tribute to my Mother

I got my love of gardening from my mother. We've spent countless hours together designing and planting and harvesting; bonding with the soil and each other. After we left San Diego and hit the road I looked forward to our return each fall and another opportunity to play in the dirt with her in her garden.

In January she was diagnosed with a Lymphoma brain tumor and started chemotherapy and our gardening dynamic changed. She would sit on the deck overlooking the backyard while I would do her bidding around the yard, using the healing power of nature to relieve our mutual stress whenever possible.

I also inherited a love of cooking from my mother. One of her joys while her energy was low these past few months was to spend hours going through her massive recipe collection, looking for interesting dishes for me to create each time I came to the house.

She'd help me start the cooking process but as her energy flagged she'd retire to the family room and I'd take over. Going through her cupboards reminded me where all of my cooking habits started. I suddenly realized where I'd learned to alphabetize my spices and the unique way I stored certain dishes or foods came from right here.

My love of travel came from my parents. In the early 1970's they bought their first RV. Soon afterward we took a memorable six week road trip around the US; visiting cousins in Arkansas and Tennessee, seeing the monuments in Washington, DC, scary lightening storms and the fascinating Amish lifestyle in Pennsylvania, amazing wildlife in Yellowstone.

Two years later we took another six week family trip to Alaska by RV, this was before the Al-Can highway was fully paved. The wonders experienced on this trip combined with many subsequent years of desert boondocking had both my sister and I hooked on travel at a very young age.

The night that Hans and I met in 2006 we talked about how my parents had just returned to San Diego after two years on the road in their RV. Clearly their decision to buy an RV when I was a kid was ultimately a factor in our decision to RV full time.

Amazingly, my mother could say she beat brain cancer. The chemo treatments she received over the past four months eliminated the brain tumor and she was in remission when she entered the hospital this past week. Unfortunately the pneumonia she was diagnosed with was too much for her weakened immune system and she passed away peacefully at age 75 on May 23, 2016 with her immediate family by her side.

Though our relationship had its difficulties like most any mother-daughter relationship, we also shared many fine traits and adventures and memories. Phyllis Lea McGuire will be missed but our time with her will be cherished forever.

My parents met us in Ouray,CO in June 2013.

My parents were a strong influence on our decision to RV so it was fun to be able to meet up with them on the road.