Saturday, July 16, 2016

My ''Montana Moment''

My brother spoke of Montana all of his life, Whitefish in particular. The day he died I made the promise to go for him. There's probably not a lot of people who know me that don't already know that.  I had no idea how much that promise would weigh on me. When you love someone, your love doesn't end when that person takes their last breath. If anything I think that when a person dies, that's when we finally wake up and realize exactly how much that person meant to us.  It makes us appreciate life and not take a single day for granted. There's a constant pain that won't go away no matter how hard we try. Does it get easier? No. I think as humans we just learn to cope with it. Even in death we can still show how much we love someone.

Over the past year I have worked and worked and worked. I picked up shifts, had yard sales. I wasn't doing this for myself, I was doing it for him. I deprived myself of going to the beach or doing anything fun in the sake of saving money. So much to the point I finally just broke down crying one night when my husband was at work and reached out to my best friend KA. I felt guilty, because if I did something that required me to spend money, I would always feel horrible afterwards because its money I could have saved for Montana. She quickly reminded me that it was okay, she made me realize I needed to get out and do something other than work, and I did. It felt so good! It gave me the strength to keep going, and working towards this goal. Sometimes we just need a little reminder.

Jason has been on my mind every SINGLE day since his death. The pain I feel when I think of him is real, and its deep. This promise was by no means a burden, but it weighed me down at times. I felt like no matter how hard I worked and saved it would never be enough. I wanted this trip to be special, one that Jason would have enjoyed. I wanted it to be a trip my children could remember for years to come. I even researched local photographer until I found the most amazing and talented, kind hearted photographer in the whole state of Montana! Photography has always been very important to me. I knew I would want photos to remember this special trip for all the years to come.

I can remember counting down the year, the months, the weeks, and then days, and then down to the very hour we departed for Montana. My husband, kids and I were all packed on Sunday morning, July 3rd and we were on the road and it still just didn't seem real. I was about to keep a promise to my brother. I felt so many emotions. This trip was way bigger than I had imagined, and definitely more rewarding than I could have dreamed of.

My kiddos got to experience seeing parts of their great country in person, which is why we made the decision to drive.   

I was so excited about the fact that they were EXCITED!

Texas sunset 7/3

Rainy  day in Oklahoma 7/4

We stopped to stretch and grab a Colorado geocache! 7/4

Beautiful sunset over the Colorado Rockies! 7/4 

A quick lesson on Wyoming's Wildlife 7/5

My son in particular was especially excited about all the new states we would see. He kept telling me to make sure I told him each time we were about to enter a new state. So I tried to always keep a close eye on the Garmin. There are certain songs that remind me of Jason, and one I particular that I absolutely haven't been able to listen to without crying since his passing, yet on this trip we heard it on the radio numerous times and I managed not to cry.

You can watch a video of Luke Bryan singing the song here.

When I knew we were approaching the Montana state line, I felt myself becoming more emotional and the very second I laid eyes onto that Montana sign, I began crying.

Montana will forever hold a special place in my heart. 7/5
We made it big bro! Thanks for being my guardian angel and watching over us! 7/5
This moment hit me harder than I had ever imagined. I cried more than I thought I would. My husband held me in his arms and reminded me that everything was going to be okay. I knew this was a big deal, I just never fathomed exactly how big of a deal it was. This was one of those moments that almost didn't seem real, it was almost like I was living inside a dream and I didn't want to wake up. I wanted to soak it all up. I wanted to enjoy it and make memories to last the rest of my life.

I felt different. It's hard to explain but I felt like I could finally breathe again, like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. This was my ''Montana Moment'' I felt like I was slowly beginning to heal, but that's still a long road to walk. I felt like he was there with us, and he was, I know without a doubt he was. So many times on the way there we would see a Camaro, and we would just smile and think about him. So many memories of him, and reflecting back onto so many amazing memories he left with us.

We had dinner at an adorable little establishment called Piggy Back BBQ. I tried buffalo for the first time, and it was the best meat I had tried in my entire life! My husband understands me more than I understand myself at times. So he stayed at the hotel at the end of the day, with the kiddos in the pool so that I could venture out on my own. He more than anyone understood that I needed that time alone in Whitefish to reflect and be alone in my thoughts. While I was out I just kinda drove around for  a little while, I managed to grab two geocaches. While I was signing the log at the second geocache I looked up and saw a double rainbow. I couldn't help but smile through all the tears, because I knew he was there with me for every single step of the way.

Double rainbow in Whitefish, MT 7/5
This was the view from our hotel window at 10:00 pm! We were so thrown off by it still being daylight! 7/5
On Thursday 7/6 we spent most of the day at Glacier National Park. It's by far one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Well worth the $30 we had to pay to enter the park!
I never knew the mountains could be so beautiful.
Heavens Peak 8,987ft
The clearest, most beautiful water I've ever seen.
During our drive the closer we got to Whitefish the more and more yellow fields we would see. We had no idea what it was. It was during our photoshoot that our photographer told us they were canola fields. They were absolutely stunning!
He was with me every step of the way.
After a long day at GNP and having our family photos made for the first time in over seven years we took the kiddos back to the hotel. Again my husband stayed with them while I spent some time alone. I saw a female deer as I approached Whitefish Beach, several of the locals referred to them as being like cockroaches because they are everywhere. I cant imagine being so use to such beautiful creatures that we would begin to think of them that way.
We had met a local police officer earlier in the day. He was extremely nice as he chatted with my husband about police work. They exchanged patches and business cards. I asked him if he knew where a pier was that I could easily access. He recommended the one at the public beach.
 ''Can't believe you're really gone don't feel like going home so I'm gonna sit right here on the edge of this pier watch the sunset disappear and drink a beer''
I walked out onto the edge of the pier, I sat there talking to his photo and telling him how much I wish he could be there with me. Even though I know he was there with me as much as he could be. I turned my iTunes on and listened to the song I couldn't stand to hear for more than a year. I sobbed. I sipped on a beer despite the fact the nearby no alcohol sign and my disliking beer. I never bend the rules like that, and this was the one time in my life that I didn't care about it. Anyone who knew Jason knew that Budweiser was his beer, what I didn't drink I poured into the lake.  {which was almost the whole can} Almost as if I was pouring a beer for him.
I took a drive around Whitefish Lake and visited downtown. I listened to songs that made me think of him, I laughed and I cried and a very small part of me healed that day.
#Montana4Jason 7/7
Our time in Montana may have been short lived, but one thing is for sure is the fact that I'll be back again someday.

On the way home we visited the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota. I hope that they are able to complete it someday.
Our 9 year old son is the reason we visited Mount Rushmore. We went home a different route just so he could see it. He's a special kid, not many 9 year olds would ask to go see it in person.
World's only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

7/10 Missouri God blessed us with another beautiful sunset.
Psalm 65:8
They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.

 In the end we traveled 5,375 miles and then we were home. It seemed as though this trip went by far too fast.

No comments:

Post a Comment