Home again

I’m home again after a whirlwind trip to Alabama, north Florida and Georgia. In spite of two very long travel days, my luggage not arriving until the morning after I did, and bringing home a summer cold as a souvenir… it was a wonderful trip.

Due to several unexpected changes in plans, I ended up having only one night at the Florida beach house (and spending two nights with my friend Christi in Georgia), but that night was absolutely perfect. From the moment Dana and I pulled up at the beach house and were wrapped in big squishy hugs by all four women, I felt at home… and more relaxed than I’ve been in months. Drinking beer and laughing on the patio of a raw oyster bar just up the road, I was completely content to be in that moment, in that place, with those particular women.

After a scrumptious family-style dinner, passing everything from a bowl of gumbo to platters of oysters and shrimp around the table… we packed a cooler with beer and wine, jumped in the Jeep, and headed out to the beach. A bonfire on the beach, a midnight dip in the bioluminescent ocean, which was like swimming through stars… It was magical.

It was also bittersweet. Walking in the surf in the moonlight, I couldn’t help but think about Mike swimming in the same Gulf waters when he spent his summers in the Florida Keys, which he always told me were some of the happiest days of his life. We were planning our next vacation together in Florida, so he could show me all the places he’d loved and teach me how to snorkle. Suddenly his absence, the loss of him, was unbearable. I let the tears flow as the waves lapped around my ankles in the darkness. Then one of my girlfriends was beside me, putting her arm around me, and we cried together until the ache in my chest eased.

The rest of the trip went by in a blur. Swimming (and spotting dolphins) in crystal clear water, delicious coconut shrimp at a cute little diner, dinner and karaoke with my friends in Georgia, getting loved on by my friends’ adorable toddlers, and lots of laughter… It was too short, but it was just what the doctor ordered.

Looking back on those few days, I notice a couple of things about myself. At the beach house, though I enjoyed everyone tremendously, there were two women with whom I felt more deeply connected than the others… and though I didn’t know about it until later, both of them are dealing with their own pain and grief at this time. These days I seem to be instinctively drawn to people who are grieving, or have been through grief and out the other side.

I’m also learning to go with the flow, which is new for me. I’m a planner, and I like things to go the way I’ve planned them. Sudden, unexpected changes used to stress me out. A lot. But on this trip, everything seemed to be constantly changing, and I just flowed with it. I didn’t freak out when my first flight was delayed and I thought I’d miss my connection. Going back to Dana’s house without my suitcase, having to borrow a toothbrush and a t-shirt to sleep in, didn’t faze me. Rearranging the schedule in the middle of the trip was no problem. I guess once you’ve lost the most important thing in your life, everything else loses its urgency. I’m not sweating the small stuff these days, and it’s all small stuff.

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~ by hourbeforedawn on June 20, 2010.

2 Responses to “Home again”

  1. I’m SO glad to hear you had such a healing and wonderful trip, Lira. You deserve it! It sounds delightful. I hope you look those other two women up and become good friends and comrades in grief.

  2. sounds amazing lira! 🙂

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