“Always.”

It was noon on March 6 that I got the dreaded call. “Your mom is in the hospital. It appears she had a stroke.”

Once stabilized, my mom could not walk, swallow, play Rummikubes, or smile. She wanted to talk but could not reliably get out words. On the other hand, her cognitive functions were intact; she understood everything that was going on and everything that everyone around her said.

When it was clear she would not regain living the way she enjoyed it – independently – I took her to the family beach house for her last days. Upon awakening there the first morning, she said, clear as day, “This is heaven.”

The hospice nurses alerted me that, if we had anything left to say to her, we shouldn’t wait. I summoned the courage. “Mom, I have a favor to ask.” She looked at me a bit incredulously. “If you go to the other side, will you watch over me on my bike trips?” “Always,” she said.

She’s been in heaven for over a month now. She’s had plenty of time now to reacquaint with my wonderful stepdad, Frank, and with my brother, her son John, who she lost when he was 28. Maybe she’s even checked in with my dad. It’s time for a project for her.

My friend, David Goodrich, supplied one. He’s riding from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Austin, Texas, following oil flares in his ongoing project to document climate change from his bicycle seat. For two great reads written by David, see A Hole in the Wind and A Voyage Across an Ancient Ocean. His wife Connie is driving SAG (support and gear) from Santa Fe to Carlsbad. Connie and Dave kindly accepted my self-invitation to join them for the New Mexico portion. With Mom watching over me, I have to be careful to be careful.

I’ve only flown my bike with me a few times. Each time, it was excruciating to watch a bike mechanic disassemble it into dozens of pieces and pack them into a box for reassembly by a different mechanic at the destination. I decided that this was the time I’d try a Scicon (pronounced she’-con) bike bag, one in which the bike stays intact except for the wheels. In theory, I could pack my bike myself. I applied my stepdad’s method for flying a plane. Walk around and around it until you climb into it and fly away.

On my first morning in Santa Fe, my bike emerged from its cocoon.

Tomorrow morning, we head out into cold 20 mph headwinds. “Mom, are you ready?”

Virginia West Martin
1924 – 2021

© 2021 Lynnea C Salvo


38 thoughts on ““Always.”

    1. Lynn, I was so happy to meet your mom after riding with you at the Beach. She was graceful and elegant and I am sure she will always watch over you in all your wonderful adventures.

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  1. I am so thrilled to hear you are seeing Dave and riding one more time with him! Please give him my love. When you get to Carlsbad, you must go to the caverns. At sunset join the ranger of the park and watch the 1000’s of bats ascend from the cave to go eat the nightly bugs in swarms.

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  2. Beautifully written, as always, Lynn! So excited for your trip. I’m sorry I can’t drive out to see you. Too far and this week is last week of classes. I am thinking of you, and your mom, watching over you. Love you, friend!

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  3. So very sad to read this, Lynne. We did enjoy getting to know her on the Great Lakes cruise.
    Wonderful she lived so long.

    Barbara Moum

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. My mom lived a full and long life. She chronicled her extensive travels, including the Great Lakes cruise, in many many journals. She constantly learned throughout her life.
      Stay well and keep on moving!

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  4. A beautiful way to remember your mom, so sorry for your loss, may she forever be at your back moving you forward.

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  5. hey lynne. a heart breaker for sure. mom’s are so hard to lose but i’m convinced that they will ALWAYS be looking out for us. rest assured, she meant what she said.

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  6. Dear Lynn,

    I talk to my mother, who is in heaven, all the time. You are the first person I know who also believes her mother is in heaven, and talks to her. That is another huge connection we have. I can hardly see as I write this because my eyes are overflowing with tears.

    Love, Lynn

    PS. There are so many reasons why I’m grateful to have met your mom. One is that I can hear her voice in my head. I can hear her respond “Always” to you.

    On Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 11:53 PM Life is Like a Bike wrote:

    > lynneacsalvo posted: ” It was noon on March 6 that I got the dreaded call. > “Your mom is in the hospital. It appears she had a stroke.” Once > stabilized, my mom could not walk, swallow, play Rummikubes, or smile. She > wanted to talk but could not reliably get out words. On the” >

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  7. Lynn, so sad to hear that your Mom left our world – but she is in a different beautiful world now joining with those that arrived before her and watching over those that will follow her some day. I find it so nice (if that’s the correct word) the way you remember your Mom and keep her by your side – you two must are an awesome pair. Have fun with “eating the miles” in NM and may the climbs be gentle, and the downhill coasting be long.

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    1. Thanks, Peter! As you may have read in today’s post, the uphills were long and the wind was contrary, but we made it. And I’m sure my mom watched over me. I hope she was entertained!

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  8. Thinking of you, Lynn!! So very sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom. She’ll be watching over you, for sure! Safe travels… will you be cycling to Austin?

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    1. Sara, I complained so much to Dave about my 27 days in Texas in 2015 that he thought better than to invite me for the Texas part. (No offense – I know you live in TX!) Plus he’s staying in man camps. I’m peeling off in Carlsbad and Dave’s wife, Connie, and I are driving back to Santa Fe to fly home. Dave is going to cycle over 600 miles solo and self-supported in Texas. More power to him!

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  9. It’s so nice to read your stories again. I love this one…… “always”. Although I only spent about 30 minutes with you- you have impacted my life. You also impacted Joe’s….. he still talks about the “lady we met by the river”.
    Be safe and enjoy your latest adventure!

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  10. Hello from the UK. We are very sorry to learn of your mother’s passing, Lynn, and send our condolences. We remember your mother from the Pearl Mist voyage in 2017. Good luck with your latest bike ride. Gill and Ralph Burwood

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  11. Hello Lynnea, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I still miss my mother. I very nearly lost my son this week to brain hemorrhage, but it appears he will survive. Have a great trip! Your Mom will keep you safe.

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  12. Your mother was classy and generous. I’m so sorry for your loss. You mentioned the headwind. You must have had an experience when you were young when you cried. She couldn’t stop the tears back then, but I bet she made them bearable. She couldn’t stop the headwind now, but I hope she made it bearable.

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  13. Thanks for sharing. I am sorry for your loss. LA

    On Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 10:53 PM Life is Like a Bike wrote:

    > lynneacsalvo posted: ” It was noon on March 6 that I got the dreaded call. > “Your mom is in the hospital. It appears she had a stroke.” Once > stabilized, my mom could not walk, swallow, play Rummikubes, or smile. She > wanted to talk but could not reliably get out words. On the” >

    Like

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