In 2005, my daughter died unexpectedly. She was 15 years old. I had two other young teenage daughters at the time, and shortly after, my youngest was invited to attend a soccer camp in Norway with her team. The chaperones let me accompany the team, and while there, I arranged to get away, alone, for a few days on a horseback riding trip in the mountains of Norway.
I boarded a train in Oslo and was met at the destination stop and transported to the camp where four Norwegian women and a guide were waiting for me. I spent four glorious days sleeping in a Laplander tent on reindeer fur. Each night, after a dinner cooked over an open fire, we built a fire in our tent and communicated to the best of our ability. We rode the mountains on Norwegian Mountain horses during the day, and when it was time to leave, all of us cried as we said goodbye. Despite the language barrier, we had built a bond that we hold dear to this day.
When I look back at that trip, I am very proud of myself. I was in the throes of grief, and that trip helped me become a stronger and more resilient mother and wife. It was a challenge I successfully conquered, and it made me realize that I was stronger than I ever imagined I could be.