Our Trip to the Mountains of North Carolina

On July 3rd my husband and I went on our ALMOST annual motorcycle ride to the mountains of North Carolina. We didn’t go last year. We made the 6 hour or so drive to Weaverville, NC (right next to Asheville) and stayed at a very nice bed and breakfast. Our plans were to ride as far on The Blue Ridge Parkway as we could north one day, and as far as we could south the next day to get back by supper time and that’s what we did.

My husband and I have ridden The Blue Ridge Parkway many times and have been on the whole 400 and so miles of it on our motorcycle since 2002. We have also taken our girls with us before we got the motorcycle (and a few times after we got the motorcycle and left it behind) and took our girls on camping trips. We have done so many things in the area of The Great Smoky Mountains. There is so much to do plus breathtaking scenery. We love the Cherokee Indian Reservation, Chimney Rock, Maggie Valley, waterfalls, two different caves in TN, and the list goes on.

So we decided that even though we are probably the saddest people on earth, we would go ride the Parkway to try to get away from home and this unending pain that stalks us.

Though we had a good time, my mind was thinking of Kaitlyn every single minute continuously. In every mountain, valley, flower, rock, stream, tree, campground, and grassy field I thought of Kaitlyn. I thought of Kaitlyn as we passed the place where we mined for gemstones at a mining place. I still have the stones she mined. Some of them surround her memorial sign in her memorial flower garden here at home.

I thought of her as we passed Chimney Rock and remembering the time when we took both our girls up the mountain and went on every single trail there. I remembered her when we passed Cherokee and remembered the camping trip there with her. I thought of her as we passed through little towns and all the activities and fun things we did with her and her sister.

She was everywhere. She was on the lips of me and my husband as we lay on the bed of the bed and breakfast and talked about her for an hour, still wondering how this nightmare could be real. How could this have happened to our wonderful child?

She was in all the flowers I saw in the mountains that just so happened to be mainly purple. Our room also had purple pictures of flowers on the wall and a flower arrangement. I thought of her at each breakfast down stairs every morning that started out with a bowl of fruit….all of the fruit that Kaitlyn loved; cantaloupes, strawberries, blueberries and orange. Every morning I would tell Allyn, “Kaitlyn would have loved this.”

Even the few things that Kaitlyn never had anything to do with that we did, I STILL thought of her.

All the memories I have of Kaitlyn are attached to the most horrendous pain. But if memories are all that I have left, which is, in fact, all I have left, I will take the pain for as long as I can. Her memories are too precious to try to let go.

Sometimes I feel like there is a magnetic field surrounding me, just as the earth has surrounding it. However, instead of protecting me from anything, like the earth’s magnetic field protects it from solar winds; I feel like my magnetic field prevents all the happiness that surrounds me that is trying to reach me from getting to me. It deflects happiness and won’t let it in.

Sometimes at certain areas of the earth, the solar wind hits our magnetic field with charged particles and creates a beautiful display of colors called the aurora borealis. It’s beautiful with so many colors. The aurora borealis of my world, works like our earth’s aurora. The colors are my Kaitlyn…..showing all that was beautiful and all of her future that will never be and will never reach me again on this earth. Like earth’s aurora, it can be seen but never touched.







Below: Old picture of Allyn and Kaitlyn mining for gemstones in the mountains. She was 12.

old pic

Below: Kaitlyn, Stephanie and Allyn in the mountains years ago.



About gatito2

My name is Rhonda. I'm a registered nurse, for the last 20 years, that has not been able to work since the day I learned of my daughter's death by suicide 4-12-13. (She actually died 4-11-13 and her body was not found until the 12th) Me and my husband have been married for 32 years and he's a wonderful man. We grieve in different ways. He works, I write. This is my journey through this horrible land of losing a child..
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10 Responses to Our Trip to the Mountains of North Carolina

  1. Anonymous. says:

    I know this might feel irrelevant to the exquisite pain you feel, but I wanted to say you are a beautiful writer and you are so sensitively observant of our world- the good, the bad, the sorrowful, the beautiful. Thank you for sharing these pictures. Looking at them, we share a sense of the burden you feel: how could such a thing have happened to this lovely child? I can only say, I believe that she is at peace now, and that she is indeed in the beautiful things you see.

    While the loss is tremendous and ever- painful, I hope you receive some moments of respite from this nightmare. You deserve that, and I hope Kaitlyn will somehow bring you some moments of peace.

    On a superficial note, the matching jackets that you and your husband have are adorable 🙂


  2. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. Riding around looking at the world always makes me think very deeply. Now especially. Thank you for your words of comfort.

    The matching jackets were jackets we bought at a Harley-Davidson dealership in 2002. We wear them every year because there is always some point of coolness at some time most places we go. On the two days we were on the Parkway, we wore those jackets all day both days. It’s always cooler up there while everywhere else is in the 90s. Those jackets are in perfect condition. Also, I have the same Harley-Davidson riding boots since 2002 and I wear them every year during each ride. (I used to ride with my husband so much more than I do now). HD things may be expensive, but they last almost forever.


  3. AnnetteM says:

    What a lovely childhood you and your husband gave your two girls. I do hope that one day all the wonderful memories you have won’t be tinged with quite so much pain. Magnetic fields do become weaker with time.
    Beautiful photos and words – thanks for sharing.


  4. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. We always had a good time with our girls. Those memories are good and painful now. Both mixed in together.

    My magnetic field is pretty strong I’m afraid.


  5. grahamforeverinmyheart says:

    “How could this have happened to our wonderful child?” is a question that we constantly ask ourselves. It sometimes seems that maybe knowing the answer would help us to undo what has happened.
    Your photos are outstanding, but I know that they are now viewed through the lens of pain and mystery.


  6. gatito2 says:

    I think you are right on everything you just wrote.


  7. Anonymous. says:

    Amazing, I would not have guessed you’ve had those jackets for a dozen years!

    And you are so welcome. I always look forward to your writing.. You make me think, you always have an interesting perspective and words of value. I wish the world had less pain in it.


  8. gatito2 says:

    Thank you.


  9. Nancy Rutherford says:

    Hello Rhonda:
    I admire very much how you both make the supreme effort to carry on each day, and try to find some moments of peace and relief in the beauty of the world. I agree with the earlier comments that you’re a wonderful and talented writer. It’s very easy to see that Kaitlyn got her sensitivity and gentleness from both you and your husband.

    Coincidentally, I just bought a video on the Aurora Borealis a day before I read this blog! I was thinking how beautiful the lights must be. Although I live in Canada, we’re not far north enough to see the lights. That is a powerful analogy.

    I feel very strongly that Kaitlyn’s gifts as a healer are being put to use in some spiritual realm that we cannot see. There are several books written by doctors who had near death experiences, and I have found them comforting when I think of the deaths of my loved ones. Just trying to think of something that might give you, Allyn and Stephanie a few moments of peace :).




  10. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Nancy. I wish I could see the Aurora borealis some day. I don’t live anywhere near where it can be seen, but I have dreamed of seeing it at least once in my life. But I doubt I ever will.

    I am comforted thinking that Kaitlyn is somewhere somehow using her amazing gifts in ways we can not understand.


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