*the following seems choppy to me ... I need to go back and re-work it so any comments are appreciated!*
Navigating through that spring and summer without my father proved more difficult than I had anticipated. The struggles came from all that was left unsaid. I had received two more postcards from my father before the Fourth of July. The months of May and June had been focused on my mother’s gardens. I realized that my mother was spending more time tending to the mundane tasks of the garden than she had in prior years. She had instructed her gardeners to keep their maintenance visits to once a week as she had decided to become more involved in the daily upkeep of her grounds. She was waking before sunrise in order to be out in the shade garden by dawn. She had been discovered pruning one morning by the housekeeper who relayed her sighting to me. My mother had never been a morning person and so this information surprised me. I chose not to confront her about her compulsive gardening as I was sure it was a place for her to work out her feelings in the quiet solitude of the early morning river mist that hung all around her.
My parents had vacationed at the mountain house for July and August since before I was born. The summer heat at our main house became intolerable, as did the mosquito population that swarmed the yard. They found me particularly sweet and it was nearly impossible for me to travel from my car to the house without suffering several bites. I had wondered if my mother would make the trip north that summer. In my heart I knew that she would not relent. Despite her heartache, my mother closed-up the house and loaded the car with her animals and books and headed to the mountains as though it were any other summer.