An out-of-order blog by Gail mostly written on July 15, 2011
It’s 10 p.m., and I can hear the sounds of sleep. Skye has cycled approximately 550 kilometres in the last 3 days, and although he looked happy when he appeared at the door of the RV tonight, he also looked exhausted. His smile was about the accomplishment of having reached the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, having cycled from sea to sea. We’ve participated in more than 20 events, talked to newspaper, radio and television reporters, and met lots of Cool Communicators, their families, and the dedicated professionals who share our feelings that everyone deserves to communicate to the best of their ability without being placed on long waiting lists for AAC services and supports.
We’re looking forward to what promises to be a wonderful event for AAC awareness on the harbourfront of the Maritime Museum in Halifax next Friday with live music and a live broadcast. We’re delighted to be invited to appear on Breakfast Television that morning. We’re also looking forward to meeting Janice Archer, who is flying from Toronto to join Skye on his cycle from Truro to Halifax the day before. Some good family friends are planning on joining us in Newfoundland as well. In short, there are a number of things to look forward to.
But we’re tired. Skye has fallen behind in writing his blogs for a number of reasons—partly because of all of the recent events, partly because he was fighting a sore throat and realized he couldn’t continue the pace of cycling, events and blog-writing into the wee hours, and partly because Kerr, his assistant Mia, Burns, and our family dog, Sandal, had joined us. As delighted as we were to reunite with them, it was impossible to keep up the intensity of our schedule, to coordinate everything that needed to be coordinated, to travel as inexpensively as possible—and to tend to everyone’s needs and comfort. Where were we yesterday? Where are we going today? What about tomorrow and the day after? Where and when is today’s event? Who are we meeting afterwards? How do we ensure Kerr’s crucial needs for regular meals are met in the context of everything else? The routines were suddenly much more complicated—two vehicles instead of one, the addition of two sleeping tents and a kitchen tent, who is eating what, when and where, and packing and unpacking every day—tents, sleeping bags and mattresses, food, clothing, bikes, Kerr’s bike trailer, exercise table, computers, chargers. Did Kerr’s communication device get plugged in last night? What, this park doesn’t allow dogs?
It became clear very quickly that the stresses of continuing this journey were going to impose a natural limit on how long we could all travel together. We had to make a decision as well—the agreement was that Mia would assist Kerr for two weeks, and then she would need to fly home and Kerr’s other assistant, Chantelle, would join us. The costs of two airline tickets, the costs of two vehicles (the RV and our wheelchair accessible vehicle), the extra costs of three more people on this journey had to be considered. And then there is the issue of the age of our wheelchair accessible vehicle…. The decision was made: Kerr, Mia and Burns would head back to Toronto as Skye and I headed eastward. It was excruciating to say goodbye for another month.
So, as Skye and I have hit the Atlantic, Kerr and Burns have arrived home, and Skye and I want to be with them.
The air conditioning in Kerr’s van resigned a couple hours east of Toronto, and it suddenly began to burn excessive amounts of oil. Over the phone our family joined in a collective sigh of relief knowing that the van will receive some TLC from the Toronto mechanic we know and trust, and that we’re not placing any more excessive demands on it. We need to make this vehicle last.
Yes, it was the right decision for Kerr to head home for a number of reasons. Kerr found the traveling to a new place every day challenging, and he had had enough of life on the road. It was a difficult decision, and we are still struggling with it. We miss him and we miss Burns.