A couple of years ago a camper, Susie Smeal, told me about her friends' blog Howeth's Travels. Alan and Joan spent summers nearby at Fun Valley, but time got away from both of us and we never actually met.
Then tragedy hit last summer when Joan died in a rafting accident. Alan revealed his grief through his blog. I really connected to him through his words. Readers saw him through learning to use the on-board washing machine, cooking meals, socializing as a solo. We saw his shift in becoming more confident, doing a checklist by himself, being the only driver and setting up by himself.
So many things were new to him and he has done so, so well taking it all on. Without ever meeting him, I was so proud of how he has led his life this last year. I read his blog through visiting family, planning trips, doctor visits, a surgery requiring a period of a restricted diet, and finally I read he was on his way to South Fork for the summer. Alan and I promised each other we would meet this summer no matter what.
Alan arrived in South Fork on Wednesday and was knocking on my door on Friday. I didn't recognize him because he had lost so much weight...he didn't look like his profile photo at all. After introductions we had a quick chat before a forest service ranger needed to talk so we made plans to meet for breakfast Saturday.
Jim and I met with Alan for breakfast at Feelin' Good Coffee Shop and enjoyed a good conversation getting acquainted. We definitely will be visiting each other again.
Joan, Alan is doing well...you would be proud...he is loved and cared for...and, oh, how he loves you!!!
Remember, all of you....you are loved.