Summer Journey

Norah loved summer. She loved everything about it. A break from the pressures of school and busy schedules. Long days, including the occasional precious day without anything planned, when the order of the day was pajamas til afternoon, then playing in the woods until the fireflies came out. She even loved the hot weather. In the last few years, some of our best memories were made on summer camping trips.

Two years ago, after deciding we needed a home base at Red Wing, I bought an old neglected travel trailer and fixed it up. Not satisfied to use it one week in the summer, we started taking little trips. To the beach, to West Virginia, to several festivals. Last year we even followed along with the Steel Wheels as they toured up to Michigan. We would call our trips “Brubaker Family Adventures”, and we were always dreaming up future trips.

And then Norah got sick, and everything was put on hold. During those 3 traumatic weeks, we were preparing ourselves to care for a very sick girl for a very long time. I took a hiatus from touring, and Peggy put grad school on hold and quit working, not knowing when or if she would return. She worked at an elementary school and had the summer off, and she had been planning on using her break to continue her grad program with a couple intensive summer courses. Those classes were canceled as well. We basically cleared our schedules to care for Norah and make whatever lifestyle changes were needed to accommodate her new reality. So when the unthinkable happened, when we returned home without her, we were left with an empty calendar and an empty room in our house. 
We have since sought ways to remember and honor Norah. And we are also trying to move forward with intention. As much as we can, we are turning toward people, toward love, and toward each other. And we have decided that, in an effort to learn how to be a family of three, we will spend as much of this summer together as possible. 

Two weeks after Norah’s memorial service, we spent a long weekend at the cabin of some lovely friends on the Chesapeake bay. We found that being away together was a wonderful way to spur us out of old routines, and also provided us with opportunities to reminisce and process. Then, knowing that it was time for me to get back to making music, the girls followed me to a couple shows at the end of May. The community that surrounds The Steel Wheels is a beautiful one, and we are being cared for on many levels. If you come to a show this summer, you may see a couple extra Brubakers along for the ride. We are seeking some of that sunshine that Norah loved so much. We are staying grounded but not staying put. We might just be bringing our little second home along with us. We like smiles and kind words and sometimes hugs. And we’ll try to let you in on some of the sights we see on the way. It’s impossible for us to answer that question that seems to roll off the tongue almost reflexively, “How are you doing?” So we’ll try to show what we’re doing and where, and in that way share a little of our journey.

20 Replies to “Summer Journey”

  1. Lisa Klosinski says:

    I can’t wait to see where your family adventure takes yoU! So glad you are keeping us all in the loop – Thank you for that!!!
    Happy trails to you!

    • Konrad says:

      Brother hope to cross paths this summer via RVs, Travel Trailers, & fiddles. We continue to lift you and family up in song and chorus Eric. Sincerely – Konrad & Family

  2. Richard and Elsie Bowman says:

    Good to hear from you and be in on your Summer! So glad you are having the time to spend in this way. We think of you and pray for you often.

  3. Karen Moshier-Shenk says:

    Thank you. Thank you for opening a window into your journey. Love you so much much!

    • Ben Fraits says:

      Thank you for opening this window into your soul, it’s truly a precious and humble thing to share.
      We are your family, and we are here in mourning, tears, pain & joy. Your family’s perseverance is strong and full of admiration even in these times.
      These pictures and posts are the beauty of life at it fullest.
      So much love ❤️

  4. Judy kishbaugh says:

    Hugs, love and prayers to you all.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. We are all grieving and missing Norah!

  6. On this Pentecost Sunday, may God’s healing Spirit fill you with peace and love as you continue to mourn.
    Bruce & Neva

  7. Deb Hufmman says:

    I love you guys. I have made it my routine to listen to that song “I Will be Grateful” every night after I lay my head on my pillow. I think of you all and of the struggles of so many and it becomes my prayer and my intention to be grateful no matter what life brings. Thank you for being willing to share your journey.

  8. Melissa Long says:

    So glad to hear that beginning new adventures allows some healing to begin. We are grateful for allowing us to share in your next journey as it somewhat helps us heal a bit as well. Here’s to a summer full of new memories and wonderful adventures! Love you guys! Melissa Long

  9. Charles Sterling says:

    Just one day at a time love.
    Love Pop Pop Sterling

  10. LINDA L WOOD says:

    Peggy, Eric and Lydia,
    Thank you for sharing your journey as you move forward. You continue to be in our prayers.
    Linda and Woodie Wood

  11. Kimberlee greenawalt says:

    I’m honored to be allowed to follow in your journey. Many hugs and tears for you.

  12. Cindy Dickel says:

    Thank you for Sharing your journey with us. We think of your family often and praying for the best as you go forward.

  13. Jessica Seibert says:

    Happy to see your smiles. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your family is beautiful!

  14. Bonnie Hamilton says:

    We think and pray for you every day. Thanks so much for sharing. It is a privilege for all of us. We’re “trading places” in August when we’ll be in H’burg and you in Colorado! We’d love to give you our home between gigs to relax, enjoy the view, do laundry and explore the Springs. I mean it!!! Love you three so much and can’t wait to hear the new album, Bonnie (and Jim)

  15. Karen Thomsen says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m looking forward to hearing of your Brubaker Family Adventures this summer! Peace and love to all of you.

  16. Christy Heatwole Kauffman says:

    You are brave and courageous for embracing this tough journey and seeking love in the midst of grief. Around Nora’s death, I played my viola for her…in her honor, and yours who birthed her to life and will remember and cherish her forever.

  17. Vickie Glinski says:

    I am so touched by your courage and ability to embrace gratefulness as you continue down the path that God has planned for you. Wishing you comfort as you continue with your inspiring music with the band and incorporate many wonderful adventures with family and friends as you continue to grieve the loss of Norah. I still go to your Facebook wall occasionally to listen as you play your fiddle on the porch Eric! Wishing you safe travels and peace. 🕊

    Vickie, Ohio

  18. Very good post, keep up the good work. Thanks!

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