BEING ALONE…can have healing properties

The first 12 days of August 2013 I traveled with my eldest daughter Erin and eldest granddaughter Denali to Alaska, a trip I’d originally planned to take only with Denali as a graduation gift from high school. It is a chance to bond with her as I feel my dad’s spirit within her and we have been very close during her growing up. She spends most of her time with her parents, as it ought to be, so I cherish our times alone. As plans progressed, Erin asked if she could go along. Wanting to have a closer relationship with her as well, I agreed as long as she paid her way, myself not having abundant financial resources. We made our ticket reservations in January and as time drew closer for our departure, Denali shared her excitement with me several times. I was excited too, both of us having some wonderings of how the three of us would fair. Denali chose to go to Denali National Park because her mom was pregnant with her while volunteering for the Student Conservation Assn. in Alaska; it was 1992 when Erin and I backpacked in Denali National Park while I visited for 9 days… so she named her daughter Hannah Denali, myself being the only one to call her Denali and not Hannah. We camped and hiked in Denali National Park for five days, and although Erin and Denali took up a faster pace, I kept up with them except when I chose to stop and look closer at a bear paw print, a wild flower, or a sand bar forming the shape of a heart. We also enjoyed a boat trip into the Kenai Fjord National Park to see harbor seals, otters, whale spouts, etc. and eat fresh halibut at the only restaurant in Resurrection Bay. As the days progressed I noticed that Denali and Erin usually paired off on the trails, in the stores, museums and even chose to sleep together in the Naughty Otter’s hostel’s one double bed. Still, we had fun, played rummy at our picnic table, and slept together when tenting which kept us warm in more than one way. By the 11th day, I could not hold my tears back as I wrote in my journal, but kept them to myself, knowing “these tears always win” as the new Alicia Keyes song sings. So, when they chose to sit separately from me at Anchorage Airport for our return home, Denali noticed that I was blowing my nose and asked me, “Are you reading (tears now) something sad? (11:11am)” I answered something like not really; I’m okay. (My family is familiar with healing tears.) I walked into the rest room and sobbed and sobbed as I sat on the toilet. I connected with seeing myself alone with my feelings because my mother never wanted me, being a child of rape. (I am very glad I am here!) Mom and I never had the mother-daughter-bond Denali and Erin have until a few months before she died. I was holding my mother’s hand when I heard her last words, “I love you too.”