The Long Ride Home

Monday, August 31, 2015
 It's been a rough few months in our little part of the world.  John's mom was diagnosed with cancer in May.  Until then she'd led a pretty healthy and active life, a life that involved years of volunteer work.  For 30 years, Anna was a tour guide at Cherry Hill (a historical house museum in Albany).  Not only was she a tour guide, she led the effort to save this landmark.  She was so instrumental in this effort, the local newspaper published an article about her. (Link below)  Anna also volunteered at Albany Medical Center Hospital where she helped run the library cart and in later years, the thrift shop.  She also was active in her church where she volunteered in a variety of capacities over the years but her passion was sanging in the church choir.  When she wasn't at one of her volunteer gigs, Anna kept busy knitting and crocheting, reading and keeping one of the most organized homes I've ever seen.  There was a place for everything and everything was in its place.  Anna was a quiet but strong individual and although she was not a warm and fuzzy sort, she was a loyal and caring human being.

We'd spent a quiet summer sticking close to home so John could be available to help with Anna's care but as the end of August approached and both of our granddaughter's birthdays, we made the difficult decision to get away for the weekend to Indiana.  Anna's condition was stable according to her Hospice nurses so on Friday we took to the road and made the 13 hour trip to Indy.
 Just a few weeks before this while visiting Anna, she talked about the Frank Sinatra song, My Way.  She was trying to remember the lyrics so I pulled it up on ITunes and played it for her.  She sang along, from beginning to end, and when it was finished she said, "that's my song".   Well, that was accurate because Anna did do things her own way.  She was steadfast in her faith and held strong to her convictions.  Her diagnosis, her treatment and everything regarding her care those last months was exactly according to her plan....right down to the very last days.  On Saturday, the day after we left for Indy, her middle son headed back to Minnesota.  He'd been traveling into town (by car) to spend time, a week or two at a time, with his mom.   That night, Anna had a bad night.  On Monday morning we left Indy for our long ride home, hoping to see Anna at the end of our drive.
Anna once again did things her way and just 4 hours into our trip we got the call that Anna had passed.  As you might imagine, our 13 hour trip was filled with a firestorm of emotions.  They ranged from guilt to grief and everything in between.  While John drove I made phone calls and sent emails and at times the road ahead was blurry from tears.  But as we talked about Anna and second guessed our decision to go to Indy, we came to the conclusion that Anna and God had a plan, and our trip to Indy was part of that plan.  Still.....what is normally a ride home with one sort of grief was replaced with another form of grief.
Until our daughter moved to Indiana, the furthest west I'd traveled was Utica.  The route to Indy is filled with farmland.....and cornfields and soybean fields.  The untouched beauty of this part of the country is a perfect picture of God's creation and one I have to share.  Although taken from a car at 70 mph, these photos will give you an idea of the pristine countryside.  While you look at some of the views we got to appreciate, think of Anna.  As we were heading into the sunrise, she was experiencing her own Sonrise.   I'm pretty sure she's enjoying a view even better than this one.   And as for Anna's ride home......I'm pretty sure it wasn't long.  I think she made her journey in record time and heaven is a bit brighter and a lot more organized with her in it!
Indiana to New York
Sunrise in Ohio
A new day
The Long Ride Home
Rural America

 In loving memory of Anna Welter

The Long Ride Home

To read the Times Union article about Anna, click on the link below.
Paul Grondahl's Story about Anna Welter, Dedicated Volunteer

1 comment

  1. I am so sorry to hear of your loss Gail. Big ((((((((HUGS))))))))) to you and your family during this sad time. She sounds like she was a wonderful and giving woman.


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