At sunrise on August 26,2009 I will be standing atop 14,505 foot Mt. Whitney above Lone Pine California. I will do this in honor of my mother, Jane Posada, who passed away from cardiac arrest on August 26,2008.
Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the United States -outside of Alaska. It is also the culmination the 211 mile John Muir Trail. I will complete the trail, which for me will be the "Jane" Muir Trail, and I'm sure she will be with me every beautiful step of those 211 miles. (Plus the 11 more miles down to the Whitney Portal.)
I'd like to do something to honor my mother and at the same time raise money for The American Heart Association. My mother would like that. So, if you'd like to contribute a lump sum or calculate your gift on a per-mile basis, it would be greatly appreciated. Your kindness will help me through the rough patches along the trail.
I actually had planned to do the trail last summer, but my mom suffered a massive stroke right before Memorial Day which robbed her of the use of the left side of her body -and she was left-handed. She battled as hard as she could against the effects of the stroke. Her battle was made all the more difficult by diabetes which had ravaged her body for over thirty years. While trying to re-learn how to walk, she also had to begin dialysis due to failing kidneys. The struggle was monumental. We were so very proud of her. If you could have seen her face when she was finally able to take a few assisted steps or raise her left arm a few inches, you'd have tears in your eyes like I do as I type this.
Well, after three months of rehab, My two brothers and I were able to move Mom and Dad out to California where she continued her battle.
She was only able to make it twelve days. My mother had survived back surgeries, eye surgeries, diabetes, and quadruple bypass surgery. She was a fighter, but she just couldn't win that last fight. She passed away in my father's arms around 3:30 am that August morning.
It was as though she had borrowed just enough time from God to reunite her family and make sure Dad was out here with us. Then it was time. She had always said, "When it's your time to go, it's your time to go." As devastated as we were, we truly were grateful that she wouldn't have to suffer anymore.
If you had known my mom you would have really liked her. Jane was a force of nature. She was smart, funny, and incredibly strong. She and my father raised three boys and put them through college while going back to school herself. She got her nursing degree and then spent eighteen years in the psyche ward of a maximum security prison in Texas. Just like with her boys, she set those fellas straight! Respect was demanded and given in return. In fact, those "worst of the worst" actually grew to love her. To many of them, she was the mother they never had. They even went so far as to hand-make a get-well card and convince Mom's supervisor to take it to the hospital when they found out she'd had a stroke.
Mom never wanted anything for herself, but she would go out of her way to help others. She was an awesome lady who could talk to strangers as though they had been life-long friends -which always amazed us. If you were hungry, she would feed you -no matter who you were. Like I said earlier, you'd have really liked her and you possibly would have loved her. But then you'd really miss her like we do.
If you'd like to read about my preparation for the trail and a little more about my mom, you can go to http://www.trailjournals.com and click on "journals" and find "paul p." under the "John Muir Trail" section. I will also be writing about the trip when I return. Thanks for your consideration and anything you may be able to contribute.