My mother passed away March 1st, 2019. My sister coordinated services, which were held March 16th, 2019. My role was to focus on the business portions. There were certainly moments where we had to step in for each other to fill a void left only by the emotions of the other. During the service the celebrant read what I came to call A Son’s Eulogy that I posted to mom’s main Facebook wall. For the follow-on social time we created a museum of some of mom’s things; some of which people could take with them. The idea of spreading, growing, and staying alive being a theme in her life. One such takeaway were dozens of shells she had collected over the years placed in a vase, from which we asked participants to take one.
By the end of the ceremony, there were still dozens of shells.
When I moved my mother from Colorado to New Mexico one of the first things we did was to buy her a new car; having left her 20+ year old van in Colorado. It was the first new car she had ever owned. Instead of leaving the car in New Mexico and trying to figure out what to do with it from out of state, my sister and I decided I should take it back to Tennessee.
When I spoke with one of my mentors about it, he said:
If I can offer some advice - take the drive back to Nashville slowly. Use the time to see some of the country you haven’t spent time in, and to sort out your thoughts a bit. I drove from south eastern Georgia all the way to Leavenworth Kansas in one shot several years ago, and I regret the fact that on that entire trip all I saw were truck stops and Waffle Houses.
While the circumstances were unlucky, the timing wasn’t. I was in a position of not needing to rush back to an office while also having a decent amount of money saved up. What started as a need to get the car to Nashville, some friendly advice, and well wishes of friends and vamily turned into a gamified road-trip my mother would have appreciated.
For my mother, “HiDo” was an abbreviation of her own design. It was short for “Hi, how are you doing?” or “Hi, how do you do?”
It seemed only fitting that the project pay homage to this unique word. Who knows, maybe it will spread and travel similar to the trackables. An inside joke we’re all in on.
My mother was the type of person who, when traveling cross-country, would point to or stop at off the road attractions. My father was kind of the opposite in this regard, he just wanted to “get there” and rest more. I landed somewhere in the middle; I can grind out the miles when necessary or take my sweet time. Therefore, it seemed fitting that the project would be a road-trip, done in the Kathy Denisee (KD) Bruce style. I would pick out specific stops along the trip while simultaneously leaving myself open to stop whenever I just felt like it. The planned last major stop would be the site we stopped at during our last cross-country road trip (technically this was not our last road trip, this was).
I was torn on doing any type of crowdfunding for the project. The surrounding circumstances were such that I could see the argument that it might cheapen the emotional quality of my mom’s passing. I decided to do it anyway. I made it clear that the project was going to happen whether self- or crowd-funded. I also made it so individuals trackables would be dedicated to the person. For example, The Daughters trackable was dedicated to one of mom’s sisters and her husband.
Building out the trackables was a welcomed distraction. The task was mundane enough not to require excessive mental or emotional investment while allowing me to feel I was making progress and marinate on some of my own thoughts and emotions. I started the journal here as well as a discussion thread on Geocaching and created a flickr album.