September 2020 – Leaving the Emerald City

Sep 27 2020
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September 2020 started off quite tragically for all of us here in north country Minnesota. It FROZE two nights in a row. I know we weren’t the only ones hit by the deep freeze but wow did that come on hard and fast. Fortunately we did return to “normal” temps but, of course, summer was just over after that. The constant joke I saw on Facebook was, “The temperature went from 90 to 50 like it saw a state trooper!” And it REALLY did. I’ve seen that meme just about every year on Facebook that I can remember but it has never been more accurate than THIS year. I guess it is 2020 so nobody is exactly surprised… maybe a little disappointed though!

I spent a lot of time thinking about my past this month. (Most likely because I spent so much of September 2020 with my Mom.) I didn’t mention much of what is was like being in Rochester at the Mayo clinic in my last post because I was still there when it published.

Mom and I had five hours to kill before we could check in to our hotel.

We made the best of it. We went shopping, ate appetizers and pretended like we were having a girls day out. (With Covid it was literally the first time we did anything like that in nearly a year!)

It was great and it was awful for the reason why we were there.

We found the pool at the hotel that was bizarrely difficult to get to between lack of signage (half the place was under renovation) and the need to use two different elevators and a hidden stairwell. Of course that meant no one else was there though which made it our little Heaven.

Rochester was over 100 degrees those days with heat advisories. Because our hotel was under renovation it meant our room never got under 87 degrees no matter what I did to the thermostat. I was broiled.

I dove into that pool and felt OK physically in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time.

My Mom (who notoriously does not like water) even swam with me.

We took selfies. We had fun. Mom caught me in a picture doing a cannon ball into the pool which definitely hasn’t been done in at least 20 years and we had an awesome meal at the hotel that night throwing all diets right out the window.

Because of Covid I was fortunate they even let me go in with her before her surgery at 5am. (Strictly enforced visiting hours from 8-6, I was lucky they let me see her when she came out of surgery too.) I held her hand one last time around 7 before they wheeled her away.

And I waited.

And for anyone who knows me at all knows that I am notoriously incapable of waiting for anything. I have NO patience. What I did was put thousands of steps on my converse all stars and thanked my own lucky stars that I took my ENTIRE office with me or I might have just completely lost my mind.

(I don’t own a laptop so, for a laugh, just imagine the several miles of trips it took me to haul my entire desktop to our hotel room from the parking garage…)

When it all got to be too much I would go up to the empty pool and just throw myself into it. (August became September 2020 when we were there though I didn’t notice.)

Wonderfully they have text message notifications now so I didn’t feel entirely out of the loop. Going into it I knew it would be a 6-8 hour surgery and they told me flat out: “Go back to your hotel. Its going to be a lot longer than that.”

It was over 11 hours before I saw her again.

I got to calling Rochester the emerald city. Glass, steel, stone, concrete and asphalt in awesome quantities that pictures cannot capture. It reminded me of down town Chicago in a way. Spectacular restaurants and amenities etc.

But Rochester MN doesn’t feel like a city at all.

It feels like its own planet. Built around the Mayo clinic. Funded entirely by the sick. Beautiful and awful. I’ve never wanted to leave a place more in my life.

Bringing Mom home was glorious and spending the entire next week with her was a gift.

It was slow for her. Much slower than she expected or wanted. She’s healthy, tough, busy and stubborn and generally bounces right back from everything. But this was a long haul: months of treatments leading up to a very hard core surgery.

But every day she got a little bit better and she is beginning to feel like herself again.

Someday I may feel emotionally like myself again too.

I have not shaken those endless waiting hours alone, so far from home, surrounded by boiling concrete, just trying to keep myself together. Maybe I never really will.

September 2020, this time of the year, reminds me of so much of my past.

I came home for good from Oklahoma in 2010 this time of the year. I realized this home was going to be mine back in 2013 this time of the year. I got married this time of the year in 2015 and I knew, this time of the year, two years later, that I wanted a divorce.

I met Lodi last year, this time of the year.

And now, this time of the year, my Mom has beaten cancer.

I know we’ll all remember 2020 as the shittiest of years (and none of us will be sorry to see this one finally go) but I will also remember that this year my Mom triumphed.

September 2020 started off quite tragically for all of us here in north country Minnesota. It FROZE two nights in a row. I know we we

September 2020 started off quite tragically for all of us here in north country Minnesota. It FROZE two nights in a row. I know we we


  1. September 27, 2020 at 10:07 am

    So happy about your mom. Blessings to you both!

  2. Deborah Gehman
    September 27, 2020 at 10:50 am

    O holy crow!! LOTS of prayers for you and yours.

  3. Marybeth
    September 27, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing so much with us. For those of us that live 100 + miles from a “big city” it is hard to imagine all that your mind was going thru while in the “big city”. Prayers are staying in place for your Mom!!

  4. September 28, 2020 at 3:26 am

    Such a wonderful post. Thank you so much!!

    September 28, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    Praying for a great recovery for your Mom! It’s still really HOT here in southern Az. My hubby had knee surgery last Weds. and I wasn’t allowed to even stay in the waiting room becuz of Covid restrictions, so didn’t see him until it was time to go home.
    It sucks not knowing what’s happening! 😢
    Thankfully he’s doing well too.
    Keep the faith GF! 😷
    Ready for 2020 to be over with for sure!!! (((((HUGS)))))

    • September 30, 2020 at 8:36 am

      Linda, its so hard right now on patients and their families with Covid! So glad to hear your hubby is doing well, thanks for commenting!

  6. Sandra D Camp
    September 29, 2020 at 3:55 am

    Dear Tarahlynn,
    Bless your heart, I feel for you and your family. Sounds like this year has been draining for you and you need a break. I’m praying for your mom as it takes awhile for one’s strength to return. Believe me, I know! So happy that you have the support from Lodi but do you have any siblings? You remind me of my daughter who also just plows through whatever needs to be done, she just gets on with it and I admire that so much. Blessings to you and your family and hopefully for some freshening cooler weather!
    Hugs from (hot as hell) Georgia!

    • September 30, 2020 at 8:40 am

      Thank you so much Sandra and YES I totally need a break for awhile. I think things will get better now that the worst of it for Mom is behind her. Now its just taking the time, one day at a time. HUGS!

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