I was feeling selfish and a little guilty about making this trip to Colorado for my niece’s graduation without Mom. But over and over in the past three days I’ve found myself feeling so grateful that I listened to the people who told me the trip would be too much for her and didn’t try to bring her along.

First there was the flight, which was three hours late due to severe weather that forced an unscheduled landing in Colorado Springs. We didn’t land until 8:00 p.m. and didn’t get dinner until after 9:00. (To say nothing of the hassle of getting on a crowded train to the Baggage Claim building with an elderly traveler in a wheelchair.) My nephew’s flight, scheduled to arrive in Denver at 7:00 p.m., was also late. We didn’t get back to my sister’s house until 11:00 p.m. It was exhausting for me, and it would have been WAY too much for Mom.

The very next day was graduation day. The ceremony started at 7:00 pm, but we wanted to get good seats so we left at 5:30 to arrive at the auditorium at 6:15. Sarah, my niece, was the fourth or fifth person across the stage to receive her diploma – out of a graduating class of 110. The ceremony lasted two hours, then there was a reception with photo opportunities, and then we FINALLY went to dinner at 10:00 p.m. I was delighted to be there and share in my niece’s excitement on her big day. But Mom would never have made it through all of that. She has the attention span of a toddler these days and would have been restless and bored through most of the ceremony. By 9:00 she’s usually getting ready for bed, so I would have needed to take her back to the house and would have missed all the post-ceremony celebrations.

And if we’d stuck with the original plan, we would have been on a plane first thing this morning to travel to Ohio for the annual Memorial Day family picnic, which is tomorrow. I was so tired today that I slept until noon. I was deeply thankful NOT to have to get up and get to the airport. Mom would have been so exhausted from all this hectic activity, I doubt she would have had the energy to enjoy the family reunion even if we’d made it there.

No, it was definitely for the best that Mom stayed home – with her new friends at the board and care and her comfortable routine. I’m not feeling guilty anymore. And I no longer feel selfish because I’ve been able to help my sister in myriad small ways while I’ve been here, which I would not have been able to do if my focus had to be on taking care of Mom. My sister and I had a deep heart-to-heart talk today that I think did both of us a world of good. All of this made possible by me making the “selfish” choice to take this trip alone. I’m so glad I did.


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