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On May 30, 2020, my father died.

He had been living with Stage IV lymphoma for a decade, so it wasn’t exactly unexpected, but when it did finally happen, it happened so quickly it felt somehow surprising. And no matter how much you try to prepare yourself for the death of a parent, it’s still a shock. The fact that we were in the throes of a worldwide pandemic made it all even more complicated.

After matters had settled a bit, my mother decided for multiple reasons to move to the opposite side of the country. Given that she lived in a senior community that wasn’t allowing visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions, she had multiple pets, and she was discovering the unpleasant results of putting off that hip replacement surgery for too long (note to my future self: if you ever need a hip replaced, just have it done – pronto), this too was complicated. Also, we were still in the throes of a worldwide pandemic.

After giving it considerable thought, mom concluded that the ideal solution to all of this would be for her to rent an RV for a one-way tour across the U.S. with her dog, her two cats, and whatever items she didn’t trust the movers to ship safely, and for me to drive.

I was not initially impressed with this idea.

My mother and I share many traits – we’re good with plants (she maybe takes this to extremes), we like dogs and cats, we read a lot, we drink a lot of coffee, we’re suckers for good ice cream, we get cranky without a certain amount of alone time (this is pertinent) – but we are two very, very different people. Still, she’s my mom. I love her and want her to be safe and happy, so…

I have never felt more like Felix Unger in a series of Odd Couple episodes than I did on this trip.

Of course I had to write about it.

Mom, having a blast

Me, not so much