When I was 12 I lived in a small town called Ruch, Oregon. Ruch was mainly farming country. Lots of hicks and horses. It got cold in the winter, smoky in the summer, and it was perfect. My brother, my mother, my father, and I all lived in a beautful A-frame home in the middle of nowhere. It took us an hour to get to the nearest health food store, which we visited weekly. Of course, there was only one school in Ruch. My 9-year-old brother and I attended for 3 days. After my parents learned that the school was affiliated with the church next door they pulled us right out. We didn't like it much anyway. However, this left us with no place to learn and no place to go every day. So, my parents decided to homeschool us and while making that decision they could not have seen what was coming.
About a month after we quit public school my mom got very sick. She had been quite sick most of her life but this was something much more devastating. No doctor, natrapath, or anyone else could tell her what was wrong and this time she didn't know how to take care of herself like she had been doing for years upon years. She spent the next year lying on the couch, unable to move. She could barely use the bathroom without help, much less cook or clean. My dad had to start working extra to help pay for the E.R. visits and the hospital bills so he wasn't around much. This is when my brother and I stepped up. With no school, no teacher, and no parents to guide us, we still managed to keep our heads on straight and learn to care for our mom. I cooked Thanksgiving that year, learned how to clean a house, and took care of someone who thought they might be dying. My brother and I spent a lot of time outside in our enormous, country backyard, with our trampoline, and our trees. When it rained we danced around and howled like wolves and when the sun beat down on us like fire we sat in the garden and stuck our toes in the ground. While inside the house our worst nightmares were coming true, outside the day was beautiful and so full of possibility, we could have never asked for more. Well, perhaps we could have asked for more. A healthy mom. That's all we really wanted, anyway.
With no signs of our mom's improvement, we all discussed what was best. The health care, as you could imagine, was not as we wished it was and my dad wasn't making enough to pay for treatment that wasn't helping. We needed to relocate. Washington is where both my parents grew up and where all my grandparents live. They've got great health care, great jobs, and lots of opportunities. We decided to head to Seattle. My dad went up early to find us a house and get started on job hunting. This left the packing to my mom, my brother, and me. I had already lived in about 10 different houses, my brother not much less than me, so we knew what we were doing. We got some friends to help us throw it all together and hired a company to haul it up to our new home. However, on moving day my mom was feeling very sick again. The ups and downs were brutal. We managed to convince the moving company to help us pack up the rest of our stuff and then they were off. Our next mission was to get ourselves there. Not only was my mom feeling sick but I had an enormous sunburn on my back and my brother had the flu. We had no choice though. We had no beds, no food, therefore no place to stay. Our initial decision was to stay at a friend's house who lived about 45 minutes away. However, after arriving there and seeing no one home we didn't see any other options. My mom looked at us and told us we could do it. We hopped into the car, me with aloe vera gel slathered all over my back, my brother with a puke bag in hand, and my mom with a left arm not working properly.
We made many stops on that trip. Rest stops, gas stations, forest trails. We even tried to get a hitchhiker to drive us there but his pack didn't fit in our car. I often had to take the wheel from the passenger seat to let my mom readjust. Much more groans, panic, and throwing up later, we arrived at our location. My dad stepped off the front porch to greet us. Being home had never felt so good and it wasn't even home yet. We sat there and laughed as we checked out the place we would live for the next 2 years. My dad got a much better job that helped us afforded my mom's health care, which was wonderful. She was soon diagnosed with Lyme disease and a few other things but was able to begin the process of healing. My brother and I went back to public school and are learned how to readjust back into society. We are all still thriving in Washington, though in a different house. But that is another story for another time.