In late October of 2018 while my Dad was ill a promise was made to my sister. I suggested when the illness was over that we visit New York City and make some positive memories. In planning for that in October of 2019 I did a reconnaissance trip to New York City to see what the city is like. I am determined to keep that promise made during a difficult time of life. After all travel does not have to be as a result of illness and dying.
“Memories are like a garden. Regularly tend the pleasant blossoms and remove the invasive weeds.”
Linda Fifer Ralphs
Staten Island Ferry to New York City
My father’s brain tumor was growing throughout 2018. In October my sister and I took him to Kansas and Missouri. Dad always wanted to go back and see the University of Missouri in Columbia. And even as Dad was dying we took him there and let him enjoy himself. Its a humbling experience to help a sick parent. Helping Dad in the restroom or to assist him get dressed is difficult. What do you do when the roles are reversed? When the trip came to an end I flew back to Washington, D.C. and Dad and my sister flew back to California. The next trip was for them to come to Washington, D.C. for Thanksgiving.
Sadly that trip was never to be….
A Phonecall in Late October 2018
In late October my sister called me and was stressed out. It was a bad day and she was struggling. The challenges of taking care of an ill parent is hard. As I remember I offered to my sister that I could come out to help out at any time. Then I said something that came out of the mind. Where it came from I do not know. What I said to my sister is something like the following. “When all this is over one day why don’t we take a week or so and visit New York City? We can see some museums, watch a couple of Broadway shows and make some positive memories that are not related to illness and hardship.” For my sister it was taken really well and she got excited. Within about two weeks or so I was told that I needed to come home. It would be my final trip home before Dad died on November 21, 2018.
New York City subway
Reconnaissance Trip to Explore New York City and to Plan for a Trip
As life has continued I have been insistent with my sister that we should do this trip. It could be a positive way to have time and make some personal memories. Plus it would not only be something to look forward to it would also be a fresh start. When you spend three years and much of it traveling due to illness, how healthy would it be to travel for recreational reasons? And yet as my sister works on the details here is the problem. I don’t know anything about New York City. I never visited, never stayed nearby or explored. If you were to ask me how to get around or what a trip to New York City would be like I would not know.
So I resolved to change all this and get some answers. On October 12 and 13th I drove up to New York City. I stayed in a motel in Staten Island. Learned quickly about how expensive the area can be. Then I rode the Staten Island ferry across the bay and found myself in Manhattan. I spent time walking around. Went to the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum and explored. I jumped on the subway the following day, went the wrong way before I started to learn the subway system. Then I ventured into Uptown and explored. In all this prices were checked out and challenges were explored. Issues had to be mitigated especially as there were questions that came up. (What was the subway like? How efficient was the ferry? How easy is it to move around? What prices were you seeing for food?) The trip I undertook was a reconnaissance one to help get some answers. For me a promise was made during a difficult time in life and my intent to keep it to offset the negative of death and loss remains as strong as ever. My sister wants to see a couple of Broadway shows and we already agreed Dear Evan Hanson will be one of them. After all the loss and pain, all I want is to have some positive family memories as well. This post is a reminder to myself that this promise needs to be kept. And it will in the fall of 2020.