Friday, August 20, 2010

Celebrating our 10th Anniversary at the Beach

For the last week, Bryan and I have been in Panama City, FL celebrating our upcoming 10th anniversary.  (Our actual anniversary isn't until October 21.)  For the past six months, I have been hesitant about taking this trip in August, but it's when my mom, who teaches at a university, could watch Caleb and Joel.  I was hoping that a week away smack dab in the middle of August would be a little grief reprieve, but I worried that it would just be a sad week and not really celebratory. 

Before we came, we talked to Judy, our grief counselor, about our time away, and she suggested that the very first night we arrived, we do some sort of ceremony for Samuel -- do something intentional to grieve him.  She said doing so would make room in our hearts to experience other emotions while away.  I immmediately thought what a great idea it was and how much it could help me.  That's so often how I feel about blogging.  All the grief piles up and grows and grows, and I have to do something to let it out; after I blog I feel the swelling of emotion calm down, and the tide of grief is on its way back out for awhile.  A few days or a week pass, and then I have to write again to make room for the other emotions in life.  Blogging releases a lot of the grief in me that gets pent up, and I could see how intentionally grieving Samuel once we got to the beach would be pivotal for me to be able to enjoy our time on vacation in the midst of a hard month. 

When we left home on Saturday, I felt extraordinarily sad.  I cried pulling out of the driveway, saying good bye to Caleb and Joel.  I probably cried for the first 10-15 minutes of our drive.  And then I cried probably five more times on our drive -- especially after I found out at our first stop that once again I'm not pregnant.  Once we got here (which was a bit of an adventure complete with car troubles) and got settled in to our beautiful condo, we set out for the beach with a candle and matches and heavy hearts.  We lit the candle and wrote Samuel's name in the sand and spent about 15 minutes grieving together in silence.  I cried alot and then cried some more.  After the wind blew out the candle, we spent some time praying and thanking God for Samuel, for this trip together, for the kind and generous people who enabled us to come here, and for nearly ten years of marriage together.  It was a sacred time for me and really did open up room in my heart to enjoy this time with Bryan -- even in August.

Most of this week has truly been a grief reprieve.  In fact, until today I didn't even really have any waves of grief come crashing down on me.  Bryan told me a little while ago, "I'm sorry you're having a hard time today, Babe" and I said, "It's ok.  Honestly, I'm just really amazed it took this long for me to have a hard time."  God has been gracious in granting us this week to rest, enjoy each other's company, sit on the beach and read, swim, go to a movie every day, and eat out for dinner every night.  I feel so, so spoiled by this time just the two of us.  And I feel more grateful for my amazing husband than I could ever put into words.  He is the man I hoped for, the one my heart will always love, and the joy of my days.  And ten years with him have been richly blessed.  Though I wouldn't have written our story the way it's played out, I would never want to walk this life with anyone else.  He is one of God's greatest and kindest gifts to me.

Another really wonderful thing about this week has been how we ended up here.  Last year after Samuel died, three people offered to let us stay at their beach getaways.  We just accepted the first one that was offered, assuming the other offers were a one time thing.  But in May we got to enjoy another one of the places with our boys, and then the third offer was renewed for us to come here whenever we wanted.  Bryan works with small group leaders at North Point Community Church, and every group leader ideally has a couple who they're preparing for group leadership in the future: an apprentice couple.  Well, the Tisdales are apprentices of one of Bryan's friends, and they followed Samuel's life last year.  They own this gorgeous condo right on the beach, and they generously let us come here for free this week.  I've never met them (except to get the key from Neal last week at church).  To top it all off, Michelle and Lori (the apprentice and group leader wives) made us this fantastic goody basket to bring with us, and I have gotten such joy out of all the wonderful things in it.  My lunches every day have come from the delectibles, and the snacks are....well, let's just say I might be shopping at Trader Joe's from now on.  :)  I feel so undeservedly blessed.  And so, so grateful.

We really have had a great week together.  One day we even rented a jet ski and rode out to an island and had dolphins swimming a few feet away from us.  Bryan loved every second on the jet ski, but I did spend about five minutes of it thinking we were going to die.  :)  Once we got past a really choppy part, I had a ball too.  Since it's just the two of us, basically all the pictures are self-portraits (or of only one of us), but here are a few of them even though it's basically the same picture over and over in different clothes.

Thank you, Tisdales and Windhams, for your kind generosity and for enabling us to have a truly wonderful, healing, joyful, celebratory week at the beach!  We are so thankful!!

1 comment:

  1. So so thankful for a blessed time! You two are amazing and such an encouragement and blessing to many. So thankful for you and your wonderful family. Praying for all of you. Love you.