I suppose this doesn’t look like a terribly dangerous picture, but I still get that squeezy feeling in my stomach when I look at it.
This was from the last overseas trip my parents took together. Nine years ago they went on a tour of Greece and Macedonia — I think it was called something like, “Footsteps of Paul.”
My father had been so excited about this trip. He had ordered all the books and done the recommended reading.
My mother, however, was declining in her mental capacity. At first, my father was in denial about that. Little things are easy to excuse. As the trip grew closer, it became more and more undeniable. I wrote a post several years ago about that trip and called it “Scary Travels With Alzheimer’s.”
But there she is, in the picture above, smiling, because she has no clue how close she will come to being lost in Greece. (She wandered out of the hotel room without my father but was seen by other members of the tour and kept safe.)
After that trip, my father said their traveling days were over.
Now we’re preparing to take him on a trip. For years he has talked about wanting to go to Normandy to see the beaches of the D-Day invasion. Every time one of his friends came back from Normandy, he would smile and shake his head sadly, saying, “I’d really like to get there someday.”
When my mother was still alive, he wouldn’t leave her. Then his own health issues overlapped with her final days. It’s been a tough go.
So we (my siblings and I) decided it was now or never. We’re going to Normandy. We’ve arranged for a private guide so everything can be done at my father’s pace. We’ll see the beaches and hear the stories, then we’ll spend a few days in Paris.
Yes, danger — on so many levels and so many fronts.
I’m praying it all goes well.