This has been a summer of many adventures, family reunions and unforgettable trips. But also deep sadness due to the loss of family members. Our 46 year-old niece Kim Thabault, a gifted equine veterinarian in Costa Rica, passed away on June 21st after 18-months staving off an aggressive glioblastoma brain cancer. Five weeks later, on August 1st, my beloved sister Karen Ariel Wahl succumbed in her sleep to complications from kidney cancer. I was able to be at her side for her last two weeks, where she received wonderful care in a skilled nursing facility run by Lacoba Homes, near her home in (the aptly-named) town of Rocky Comfort, MO.
My heavy heart does take comfort in other memories from the summer of 2019. I flash back to a sunny Memorial Day weekend on Cape Cod; our 5-day cycling trip on the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD; a week in Cape May, NJ at our bi-annual Dunham family reunion. Perhaps the most “bucket-list” thrill was a return to my maternal family’s roots in Alberta, Canada. There, under the wide blue skies in the farm town of Coaldale (6 miles from Lethbridge), I stood in the wheat field where my grandparents homesteaded on 1100 acres back in 1909. These are all balms for my soul - reminders of my large extended family, the inspiring blue-collar history of the Eastern US, and the breath-taking beauty of southern Alberta.
But for now, I do the work of grief.