I'm sorry I haven't written here more. We--Tom, Mons, Erik, Erik's girlfriend and me--left on December 20 for our son/brother Konrad's wedding in Vancouver. We drove, taking three days to get there. I wanted to do most of the driving but I found myself unable to so Mons took over. I'm a terrible passenger and that night, as Mons drove, the sky was blacker than ink, broken only by thick fog that covered the road. I tried to distract myself with my computer--I'd bought an adapter so we could plug our computers into the power outlet of the van--but it wasn't enough to keep me from breathing in through my nose sharply when I got scared, alarming Mons in turn who thought I was seeing a danger he couldn't.
I took over the wheel again the next morning. It had snowed all night and the accumulation was threatening to keep us in the small town of Glendive, Montana. I wanted to get as far away from it as possible but the highway didn't make that easy. It was so packed with snow that none of the painted lines showed through. I followed the ruts and did a lot of praying. At the end of four hours I was so exhausted I let Mons drive again and hid myself in the back cubbyhole of the car.
The cubbyhole was the seat closest to the passenger side in the back bench of the van. The two seats beside it were piled high with luggage, sleeping bags and pillows. Erik and Jenn were in the middle row and Tom was in the front beside Mons. The cubbyhole was a good place for me because I couldn't see out the windows so easily and get scared. It wasn't fair, however, that when Mons took over driving, the weather and roads were perfect. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time alone.
I did some crying for Mikael too, later in the day when I heard Tom snoring in the front seat. Mikael's soft, rhythmic snoring was the last sound I heard from him before he died--dying within earshot and I didn't know it. I haven't done enough crying for him so it was good to do so. Maybe part of the reason I haven't really fallen apart yet is because I need to be strong for everyone else, but in that little hidey hole I could cry silently to my heart's content and no one would know.
When it got dark out, I wondered what I'd do to occupy myself. Our adapter for the computers had died after just one day. If it wasn't dark out, I could read. Then I remembered my radio. For months I saw the radio advertised first in Hammacher Schlemmer catalogues and then in Signals' and National Geographic's. It's the coolest thing. In addition to the ordinary ways of powering a radio, this one has a solar panel and, for when there's no sun, a crank. Furthermore, it has a reading light perfect for the back of a car on a dark night. How useful!
We had good weather the third and last day of our trip to Vancouver and I took over the driving once we were out of the mountains and about to head into urban areas and the border crossing. It was hard driving past Seattle, knowing all the people there I'd like to visit but not having the time to do so. Customs was quick and easy, however, unlike the warning we'd received--only a car or two in front of us. That was a relief. The boys helped Tom and I carry in all our luggage to the motel room and then took the van to Konrad's, where they would spend the next twelve days.
To be continued