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Traveling Mercies

Last year was a very dark time in my life due to many moments of sadness and grief. One of the most difficult was the death of my nephew who was 22 years old.


The loss affected each of my family members differently. I personally was ill much more frequently than usual. Another family member also developed some serious health problems that required a hospitalization. Unfortunately, this happened during a visit to a friend in another state. It was my responsibility to help with the returning flight after discharge. My plane trip required my presence at the airport at 4am.


In the car as I tried to confirm my already expensive flight, I learned it had been canceled due to weather. When I got to the airport I transferred to another flight even more pricey than the first but with three transfers. It took me 12 hours to get to my destination—which was totally snowed in.  I struggled to find my rental car but it wouldn’t start and had to go back up and ask for a second.


When I finally got onto the road it was dark and icy, and I made many wrong turns. By the time I arrived at the hospital, they told me it was too late for a discharge and I would have to come back tomorrow. I ventured to the hotel and was told I was at the wrong location for my reservation, so once again I went out into the dark and snowy night.  Eventually, at 10:00pm I could finally rest in my bed across from a cheerleading team.


Although, the darkness seemed all around me, the Light was very present throughout my journey.  My mother-in-law graciously offered to drive me to the airport in the middle of the night and stayed with me until I had a new ticket.  Although I usually read a good novel on flights, I ended up sitting by a woman around my age who was flying to meet her child, a competitive horseback rider. We started sharing our life stories. Although I come from an urban center and she from a rural ranch, we found common ground as mothers and sisters. She told me about losing her own nephew in a tractor accident at 14 years of age, and the process of grief for her sister and her family.  I felt a strong connection of understanding and love that I had not experienced elsewhere.  At the hotel, although I broke into tears, I was still greeted with kindness and even given an unexpected free breakfast buffet.


We got home safely, and in my mailbox there was a check from a loved one covering the cost of the whole trip.