Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity of accompanying my mother on a trip to New York to visit family. This was the first visit for both of us in a very long time, and frankly, we weren’t sure it was ever going to happen. The regiment of chemotherapy my mother endured left her winded and weak, and was worried she wouldn’t have the strength to travel. Under the advice of her Oncologist, we paused her treatments and agreed that this was a good time to visit New York.
My sister planned the entire trip, made the reservations with Delta, cashed in points to upgrade my mother’s seat and talked her way for the three of us to hang out in Delta’s Sky Club. Thankfully, we were able to ease back into traveling and if travel was once considered enjoyable, this was a close second. Delta’s royal treatment included incredible passenger assistance reps who provided curb to gate chariot service on both legs of the journey. The trip to New York was a breeze, reminiscent to the days when travel was fun, despite our adorning masks. And this is where our story begins...
Susan, also known as The Queen of Everything, a moniker her siblings gave her growing up, most presumably for her ability of taking charge, is the eldest of four. It’s no wonder the title stuck! The plethora of information she has stored in her brain, the uncanny ability of turning a frightening situation into something manageable or her endless amount of energy is something I have always marveled at. The Queen of Everything title is certainly fitting as my mother has always been the go-to person literally for everything. Once we made the decision to fly our mom to New York, my sister and I gladly served as her ladies in waiting, assisting our Queen with packing, setting up her social schedule, and organizing the Queen’s calendar to hold court while in New York.
Armed with masks, face shields and disinfecting wipes, it was time to embark on our journey. Since our mom needed some extra assistance, she was granted permission to board the plane first, christening the plane with her regal presence and took her seat, in first class (of course). The short flight from RDU to JFK airport was on-time and took off and landed without incident. As we deplaned, my mom insisted on taking her carry-on bag with her, ignoring our pleas of “leave it Mom, we’ll grab it!” from a few rows behind. Other passengers in neighboring rows found the exchange of a mother ignoring her children quite amusing, one even commenting “They grow up so fast.” Fiercely independent, my mom pulled her bag off the plane and walked to the waiting chariot (AKA wheelchair). She greeted the waiting attendant on the jetway who held an iPad with her name lit up like on a marquee. She said, “How do you do?” as he took her hand to guide her into her seat. The attendant treated her with quiet admiration as if he knew what we all felt, how lucky we all remain to be in the Queen’s presence.
The kind man led the way in the unfamiliar and unchartered territory of the re-imagined Delta terminal at JFK airport, as our Apple watches recorded 9000 steps and counting towards our final destination – passenger pick-up. We walked down the long corridors, up and down elevators of the terminal; it was as if everyone knew our Queen has arrived. My sister recorded a video of mom arriving, and without hesitation she perfected the royal wave. As we reached the lower level to retrieve our luggage, our bags were waiting for us! And to make the trip complete, our brother, the son of our Queen arrived moments later in his coach as we rolled out to passenger pick up. Jon jumped out of his car and enveloped our mom in a bear hug as the attendant loaded up the luggage and we headed to our final destination.
Upon arriving at her Majesty’s sister’s Manor, we started our visit with the Lord and Lady of Rockville Centre. To attest their devotion to this Queen, their doorstep was decorated with a display of colorful balloons, a noble gesture indeed. On a side note, the Lord and Lady, both recently retired legal aces, humbly and faithfully served the citizens of the great state of New York.
Throughout the week in New York, many visits from friends and family ensued, where the queen held court at her sister and brother-in-law’s Manor. His lordship Michael of Rockville Centre waited on her hand and foot, provided ample sustenance to Queen Susan -
morning, noon, and night. And most importantly, served libations and canapés at sundown. Sister and Brother-In-Law, Lord and Lady Brown of Morristown, New Jersey, Sister-in-Law Lady Schultz of White Plains, New York and niece Lady Schultz of West Palm Beach, Florida had an audience with her royal highness Queen Susan, spending time with the matriarch of the family. A few days by the ocean soaking up the sun, visiting with family, walks around the estate enjoying the warm temperatures, bountiful meals were enjoyed by all, a warm feeling of love and affection enveloped us, knowing with a full appreciation the time and attention given by Queen Susan.
On the last day of the week, the Queen and her ladies in waiting traveled north and east along country roads to visit Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor, two beloved towns in which the Queen spent a good portion of her life. We drove through the quintessential towns reveling on how much has changed and remained so familiar. We visited the cottages from her progeny’s early years and embarked on a planned visit to the famed Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where this Queen held a prominent position of Director of Grants & Contracts and served the lab for 28 years. As Director, our Queen oversaw the distribution of large sums of money awarded to renowned scientists, many of whom have reached nobility themselves, earning titles of Nobel Laureates. Upon arrival to CSHL, we reminisced with former colleagues and had many laughs, hugs and tears.
On this particular Friday though, the two of us accompanied Queen Susan and met with the President of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Principal Investigator in charge of developing treatments in Pancreatic Cancer. Both are two loyal servants in the continuation of scientific discoveries in the fight to cure Pancreatic Cancer and wanted to thank them personally for their assistance and guidance from the moment our Queen’s diagnosis, 4 years ago. The Queen of Everything is living proof and a testament to the ground breaking research currently being conducted and proclaimed her continued support of their efforts now and in the future.
As the week in New York came to a close, the Queen’s wishes were met with overwhelming support from her adoring family and was considered a great success. The Queen of Everything returned home, well rested, recharged, and ready to continue the fight in the county of Durham, North Carolina. And, is actively planning her next official New York State visit.