As we boarded the ship, we were informed that Carnival had changed the itenerary due to tropical storm "Maria". We were now traveling to Barbados and Mexico. My mom was crushed! A very important stop on her trip was St. Thomas and now she wasn't going to get to go. Things worked out, as they often do and before we disembarked the itenerary was changed back to the original plan.
This was a difficult part of the trip for me, as we made a very emotional stop at this particular port. We went shopping and visited a jewelry store. It was very important to my mom that she leave each of her girls something when she dies. A special piece of jewlery, so that we always remember how much she loved us. I have to kind of chuckle (with a lump in my throat) that my mom has to think that we need a piece of jewlery for us to remember that, but this was something that was very important to her. It was one of her last preparations for her impending death to go to this particular jewlery store and pick out something for me because she had something for everyone except for me. I couldn't really stomach to go into that store with her, so I shopped elsewhere until my dad came and found me, as she found something she thought was perfect and she just wanted my approval. As I walked into that store and saw my mother sitting there, she looked up at me. At that very moment, I took a snapshot in my mind and that moment is one that I will never forget. It will forever be etched in my mind how proud, how happy and how sad she was all at the same time. Besides being at her dying bedside once before, this was one of the most difficult moments I think I can remember with her. At my side was my precious little Duckling. It is no secret in our family that my mom has a special irreplacable bond with Duckling. Just then, the salesman offered a pearl and chain for Duckling. My mom's face absolutely lit up. Her immediate thought was that she would put this up for Duckling and that it was to be given to her on her wedding day. She is so heartbroken that she will not live to see that day, but for her...this was a way that she could "be there" that day. When she said that, I took out my camera and started taking pictures. I'm sure they will be as difficult to see many years from now as they are now, as my mom was very emotional during this moment. I will see to it that Duckling receives these pictures along with her special necklace for her wedding day.
We then spent a few interesting days at sea. As it ended up, we went right into the eye of tropical storm Maria, despite rough seas, we made it through safely.
Our last port was St. Maarten. What a beautiful place it was! We took a water taxi over to the beach and there, my mother's wish came true! She finally made it to crystal clear waters and played in the sand with her 10 precious grandchildren. It was quite hot that day and she couldn't stay on the beach long, but her wish was granted!
My flock had a great time planned for our trip back. A little ghost hunting in Savannah, Georgia and a stop to ride a real train...but not all things go as planned and that part of our trip didn't work out.
All in all, it was a very hectic vacation! Traveling with 18 people and trying to get along with everyone and make everyone happy is quite a challenge. This was a bittersweet trip with a happy ending. Knowing that we made my mom's wish came true made all the stress that came with it worthwhile.
The time that we have left with my mom is very limited. We are truly blessed for each day that we have with her. She has fought a long, hard fight. She has given it all she has and yet she still tries to smile for every day she has struggles for. I wonder every day, just what will I do without my mother? But, I'll never forget how blessed we all were to have this chance to make these memories with her.