An Unexpected Trip to New Jersey

On October 5th, my mother’s sister, Ruth Carey, passed away following a recurrence of breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver. She was 76. Unfortunately breast cancer has reared its ugly head much too frequently in my mother’s family, with all four of her sisters having been diagnosed, and two of them losing their lives. My ‘Aunt Ruthie’ was living in Florida, but had traveled to New Jersey for her grandson Zack’s birthday when her condition worsened. She eventually succumbed at her daughter Colleen’s home, under the wonderful care of Hospice. 
I loved my Aunt Ruthie and her passing was unexpected and devastating. My heart breaks at the thought of my Uncle Mike heading home to Florida without the love of his life, or her grandchildren growing up without their Nana, or her children, sisters and other family and friends living life without her. Cancer can be so very cruel and she will be terribly missed.
Uncle Mike, Aunt Ruthie and two of their grandchildren this past summer.
Once the arrangements had been made, my mother and I jumped in the car on a Tuesday morning (on a wing and a prayer!), and headed north to spend time with family, and attend the services for her beloved sister. EZ remained at home to hold down the fort, keep appointments, and care for our dogs and cats. We arrived safely at my Aunt CC’s house 11 1/2 hours later, due to a diesel spill on I-95. Whew!
On the way up we stopped at a fast food restaurant that we had never seen before, but our choices were very limited. What a pleasant surprise it was to enjoy some tasty food, served by some of the nicest people, on real dishes with real silverware, and with a smile! Anyone familiar with Pollo Campero?
Though it was an emotional time for us, it was also a time of re-uniting with family members that we don’t see as much as we would like. Here is my cousin Kathy and I, along with many of my girl cousins, all daughters of my mother’s four sisters. What a blessing to have so many girls to hang out with as we were growing up.

Maureen, Amy, Me, Kathy, Becky and Colleen. (Maureen and Colleen are my Aunt Ruthie’s daughters.)
Mom with her sister Ruth’s grandson, Zack. He sure loved his Nana…
Before heading home we went out to dinner and were able to enjoy a delicious ‘specialty of the house’ pork chop at a local restaurant. It did not disappoint. If you ever travel to Manasquan, NJ, you must eat at Harpoon Willys!
Before we knew it, Friday had arrived and it was time to drive home. I loaded up on caffeine and we tried a different route, stopping at a beautiful marina to break up our trip and have lunch. The trip home took us about 10 hours, and we were grateful and happy to arrive safe and somewhat sound.

As we struggled with the loss of Aunt Ruthie, two particular bible verses gave us great comfort. She no longer occupies a body where cancer got the upper hand. She is in paradise.

2 Corinthians 5:1…”Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” 
Also, John 14:2…”Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”