(2) Consider where you would go on your "last ride." Where would you start, where would you finish, what stops would you make to live a memory? What memories do you have about those places?
This was a hard one for me, because I have lived long periods in four different locations during my life, none of which is where I am living now. So those areas have far more memories attached to them, but I'm planning to live in this area for the rest of my life, and if I go to hospice, it will likely be here. In addition, I have been traveling here regularly since 2007, so that's another 10 years of memories to add to the 2 1/2 years of living here.
I think I'll start with my current residence, as Randy did. That's in Gresham, a suburb to the east of Portland. Since I arrived in 2017, I've been saying that I lived in my house in Oakland for 24 years, so I intend to do the same here. By that time I'll be 79; maybe I'll be ready for hospice then. But the hospice will be in Vancouver, across the river in Washington State, so that's where I'll end.
In Gresham I'll visit the apartment where my middle granddaughter lived with her father and his second wife. I went there several times to visit. And before leaving we can pass the school where my granddaughter used to go; I picked her up from that school once, under the watchful eye of teachers.
From Gresham I'll go south and west to Milwaukie, to the home of my friends KR and Jan. They are members of my group of dinner friends, the first people I met in Portland when I started visiting. For the seven years before I finally succeeded in moving up here from California, I stayed with them when I came to visit. While in Milwaukie, I'll have the driver go past the Stone House, the former home of my ex, which he showed me on one of my first trips up here. He loved that house so much he named his company after it.
Heading west from Milwaukie will take me across the Willamette River to southwest Portland and Brian's house. He's another member of the dinner group. I've been to the house many times for dinner and for gaming. A few miles from there, also in southwest Portland in an area called Hillsdale, is where John and his family lived. Another place of many dinners and games, and also of backyard barbecues. One of my favorite photos of myself was taken there.
From Hillsdale we will head further west, out to Aloha (or Beaverton, or Portland; the name seems to depend on who is talking at the moment), where my older stepson lived for quite a while. I helped him move in there, and I drove out several times to visit and have lunch with him. Sometimes I dropped off my youngest granddaughter there when she was visiting; sometimes I picked her up from there after a visit.
After Aloha we'll go almost due north to North Plains, off of Highway 30, way up in the hills, where my boyfriend lives. I haven't been able to visit much recently, but the house has lovely views of the Columbia River.
Next we'll head south and east, back across the Willamette River and into Portland, to the St. John's neighborhood and my friend Jody's condo. That's another place where the dinner group has gathered, and I also visited many times outside of the dinners.
From Jody's place it's a little more east, just past I-5 and still in Portland, to the odd little duplex where my ex and his housemate currently live. That's also where my ex was living when I first started coming here, so I know the house well. There were many parties and barbecues, several of them with tandoori chicken cooked in the tandoor I gifted him for his birthday in 2007. We used to cook a lot together in the small kitchen.
At this point we'll leave Portland and Oregon and head north on I-5 to Washingotn State. I'll have two stops there, both in Vancouver, before going to the hospice.
The first stop will be where my daughter-in-law and my three youngest grandchildren live now. Not only are there plenty of memories and many, many visits associated with them, but that's also where my younger stepson lived when I first came up here. Many visits there to see him over the course of almost ten years. That home and KR and Jan's home in Milwaukie were the first two places I learned how to get to on my own.
The second stop in Vancouver will be where my younger stepson lives now. Not only have I visited him there many times, that was also the starting point for all of our driving lessons, when I taught him to drive. I wasn't sure how well I was going to do as an instructor, but I couldn't have been too bad, because he passed the test for his license on the first try.
One of the reasons for making that the last stop before the hospice is because he has promised me that he'll take care of me when I get old (something I need to be concerned about, with no spouse and no children of my own). So he'll probably come with the driver and me as we go to the hospice and help me settle in. And I know he'll visit me while I'm there.