Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"Vacation" or NOT
It's been a while since I have written. This summer has been a familiar place and so foreign at the same time. I wanted summer to come, because it is my favorite season. I love many things about summer. I love gardens, flowers, produce, sunshine, warm summer nights, lightening bugs, the sound of locusts on a hot summer day...to name a few. We have had many sweet trips to the beach over the years. I love the beach! My kids have always loved the beach as well.
We decided to start our summer the day after school let out. We took a last minute trip to Jacksonville Beach, Fl. I was amazed that we found such a nice place to stay so last minute. The place was well equipped for kids...which turned out to be the biggest blessing. We spent much of our time in the condo and were thankful for an open toy box. Despite the fact that we can't get away from our grief (actually sometimes going away magnifies our loss), we sometimes feel the need to get away from this environment no matter how comforting or painful it may be.
It was good to be away from home, yet feel at "home" in the condo. We had time to relax and be together. Vacation means something else to us now. Rather than a nice getaway from home, it's an attempt to escape the furnace...only to realize that the affliction just comes along. It's a learning experience..trying to get to know each other again as who we used to be and who we have become now. We have to figure out how to be a family again with people that we don't recognize. It's also alot about figuring out who "I" am now. Even the kids are trying to find themselves apart from Ashley.
Sitting and playing on the beach is something we used to spend all day doing. We couldn't get enough of it. Ashley especially loved the beach. She made friends with every child she met, swam in the ocean, played in the sand, looked for shells and sand crabs...there was never a dull moment. The last time I went to the beach with Ashley in the summer was two years ago (we hadn't made it there yet last summer.) She was old enough to enjoy jumping waves and boogie boarding. I remember swimming with her that time. It was just us two. We spent a long time together sharing a boogie board far out in the water. I think she met the kid in me that day...doing the things I used to do with my Mom when I was young...she loved it. She couldn't wait till we could do it again sometime. Me too, Ashley. I was so excited to see her grown to a point that we could do those things together. I loved the bond of friendship we had begun.
The water in Florida was gorgeous. One day I went out swimming, jumping the waves, floating. It was lovely and relaxing...but I was missing someone. My Ashley should be with me. I ached over what is now out of reach....remembering the fun we had that we should be having again. The kids tolerated the beach for small amounts of time. I was frustrated, craving what it "used" to be. Feeling angry that it wasn't the same. I realized that they were "lost" on the beach too. Ashley wasn't there to show them what to play....and teach them all the fun things to do on the beach. They don't even realize it. Needless to say...it was one more place to feel broken. Broken is the word that best describes us now. It's hard to get anything that is broken to work right...including a family!
I am glad we went...even though it was a challenge at times. We still had moments to enjoy together and it was a breath of fresh air even to be in a different place. We all craved home more than half way through the trip. Home hurts, but is also a place of refuge and safety. We were all glad to be home again. Looking back, I am so glad we went. God provided just what we needed. I have a hard time calling it a "vacation" though, because it sure feels different from what I knew before.