We had a good trip. I think in part because I did so much hard grieving before we left. The 3 days leading up to the trip were pretty miserable for me … and in turn my kids and husband.
My family drives my bonkers sometimes. I get my feelings hurt.. and I am sure I hurt feelings in return.But my biggest take away from the trip…
I love my family so very much and they love me.. my husband and my babies. All 4 of them. If we can raise my 3 living to be the kids, teens and young adults my nephews/nieces are .. well then I will consider it a job very well done. I just wish that my Jennifer could have been given the opportunity to grow with this incredible mix of people. She would have learned so much.. and I believe taught us so much.
Although I hope and I honestly think that she did.. in her 6 short years I think she taught us all about fighting for your dreams, she was so worth the wait… about the importance of family, she loved her going to coco and papas and getting to see her cousins…about being yourself… she always had a style all her own and was proud of it.. and about coming together in the worst of times, her illness brought out the best in all of us and I am confident that she knew that. That on some level she was able to observe it and feel good about it.
The hard part for those of us left behind is to keep her legacy going.. to live these lessons she has taught us.
I think we made her proud this trip.
The first morning my sister and a sister in law went paddle boarding. We had a great time together. Falling off (them) laughing (me) and just trying something new together. There was a wedding being set up. We were initially joking about having our goofy faces in all their wedding pictures. .. Then we realized the wedding was actually really starting and so we tried to stay out of the direct line of sight and stay still. I was quickly glad we were just standing on our boards.
The bride walked down the aisle to “Thousand Years” which is the song we played at her services before I spoke.
It just took the first note for me to know what it was.. and I was crying. Standing on my board with my sister and a sister in law.. just sobbing. For all that could have been.. for the wedding she could have had.. for walking her down the aisle the way a parent always dreams about for their daughter.. For the lucky man she could have married and the mother she could have been..
.. and for my hope that she lead me there.. in that moment.. to tell me she is here with me still…
“time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years I will love you for a thousand more”
Two families went in together to buy this huge raft. So the afternoon was spent with kids playing in the water and in the sand. Many of the woman floating in this giant thing and the males standing in the lake in a giant circle making up a ball tossing teamwork game. They looked ridiculous.. as I am sure we did as well. But I hope my 3 youngest absorbed a little of what was going on around them.. family.
The whole point of the trip was to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Unreal we planned it a year ago.. before cancer had ever come tearing apart our family.
Its already so hard for me to know if its going to be “ok” to try to find ways to incorporate her into events. We are constantly trying to figure out the best way for all of us. I am finding it harder than I would have thought.. I guess its because nothing is good enough for me.. I want her. Real. Here. Alive.
The next day was a rainy day. We ended up having “the cabin” to hang out in . Because we had indoor bowling and then made up a ball tossing challenge. The final level we named impossible. We thought my brother could do it.. a bunch of us sat around for 45+ minutes watching him trying to complete the impossible.. It was just good silly rainy day fun. Another time I hope my boys just absorbed what was happening around them.
And then some adults went gambling and we talked about what to do. When we planned the trip I saw horseback riding was a option. You were supposed to be 7, but since she was almost 7 I was going to bring her.. I was so excited. They started talking about going. Just talking about it made me cry. .. I wanted to go, but was scared of it.. one of our nieces could tell and pushed me gently.. so I went. ..
I came back early to do a nano course at Stanford. I am actually at a hotel now.. but before I left we rented a boat.. What Tony really wanted to do with the boys. We are not nautical people. .. I got sick and the boys cried .. we brought them back in the middle of our voyage.
We had lots of night time shenanigans .. talking and teasing.. even some beer pong. And lots of stolen moments of reflection. The end of the BBQ night we saw the most amazing sunset many of us had ever seen. It went from beautiful to more beautiful. From pink to pinker.. from brilliant to beyond.. And it just kept getting better and better. I have never been one to say that a sunset was from her. But this I truly felt was. I think she got some of her friends to help her out.. it was just that impressive. I think she wanted us to know she was there.. and she refused to stop coloring the sky until we walked away.. and thats just what eventually happened.. My pictures don’t do it justice at all.. But I will never ever forget it.
never ending sunset.
I love you Jennifer. Thank you for all you gave me on this trip.