Friday. Of Chris’ first week back at work. I had been really looking forward to him but have also been very anxious and full of sadness as this is the day we head up to the mountains to let Mara’s ashes go. Chris left school a little bit early so we could head out to to Shenandoah as early as possible. I did work around the house all day and did some packing and a lot of research about different locations that we might want to use. I felt sad all day knowing that in a way, this was going to be another goodbye. I also knew it was going to be hard for me to be away from Aaron during such a sad time.
During the drive out to Front Royal, the sun was in our eyes and it was a chilly and clear afternoon. We listened to music in the car and I cried several times.
We tried to go in the Front Royal entrance to the National Park, but it was closing too soon for us to make it to the next exit on Skyline Drive. So we took highway 340 down along the western edge of the mountains to Luray and found a Best Western where we stayed that night. I felt very very low and sad and just had no spirit in me at all. Chris tried to keep me smiling. We had a really delicious dinner at a nice little restaurant in a historic building in the very slow and sleepy town of Luray. We were very quiet through our dinner and while going back to our hotel room. We were planning to look at the map of Skyline Drive and talk about some of the overlook turnoffs and just rest together and give each other strength and support. But Chris was so exhausted from a trying week back at school and he fell asleep while I was learning how to use my new camera remote and looking at maps. He woke up to look at the maps with me a bit, we decided the route we were going to use in the morning, and then he was snoozing again.
I couldn’t fall asleep because I was feeling so emotional, so I stayed up until about 11 alternation between crying and reading Love, Mom, a book about a couple who had a stillborn baby girl. I finally got to sleep around 11, but I couldn’t sleep soundly. I tossed and turned all night, and kept waking up and seeing light out the hotel room window, afraid that I had overslept. We wanted to get an early start because we wanted to see a beautiful morning sun.