As I sit here in the still of the morning, smelling the coffee brew, with the kids still sleeping, I actually have a moment to breath. And think.
Last week, we went on our annual vacation to Folly Beach, SC. We go with my parents, my sisters, and their families. We stay in one big house and have a wonderful time catching up and enjoying one another's company. With all those people, it is not a quiet time. So I try to awaken early each day to have that quiet with God. I slip downstairs and tip-toe out the door to the most lovely ocean view. Usually, the sun is just peeking over the edge of the horizon and the beach is speckled with only a few other people. There are those who are setting up their poles to do a little fishing. There are people out walking their dogs. I even see a woman doing some kind of meditative thing while sitting in the surf.
I walked and walked and wondered. This year, the beach trip coincided with another annual event. The day Ben died. How could it be three years? How? My stomach would tighten at the very thought. Sometimes it would seem that he was right there in the midst of all his cousins, playing in the sand. But mostly it seemed empty without him. There was someone missing from all the fun. Ben. A quietness in the noise that no one could fill.
Even more daunting was returning to Georgia to finally have him all in one place. You see, when we lost Ben, they kept his brain for study. I can't tell you if they were able to make any discoveries or not. When it was returned to us, we decided to have it cremated. My original intent was to have it placed with Ben's body, but we were in the middle of packing up to move to Virginia and I had second thoughts. I thought I wanted part of him with us. And for a while, I was glad we did. But then I started listening to EWTN more and I came to know that really, we should have all of him in one place. On Wednesday morning, the family awoke early to make the three hour drive to Georgia from the beach. Not many words were said, knowing that tears would follow if we did. I hugged my parents and got in the car. We were back by dinnertime that evening.
For three nights, we all gathered on the back porch to gaze at the stars. The Perseid Meteor Showers are also an annual event that just happen to peak at this time. On the first anniversary, we were in a dirty hotel in a new town and the city lights made it impossible to even see the stars, let alone any meteors. On the second anniversary, it was a cloudy night with rain in the forecast. Tony and I drove away from the city, yet the cloud cover was so complete that there was nothing to observe except our disappointment. This year, conditions could not have been more perfect. The moon was just a sliver and no cloud could be seen. In fact, what I originally thought was a cloud was in fact part of the Milky Way! The brilliance of the stars against the black of night was spell-bindingly beautiful. And then, a flash across the sky! Some were so faint that I wondered if it were my imagination. Others were so bright that they cut a path across the entire sky.
There is more, but I am being called to my job as mom, so the rest will have to wait.