We had a really nice time at the beach. We are so thankful the Moessners agreed to come with us, as we loved the company and Holly loved having little friends to play with. There were moments of sadness for me, but overall I just enjoyed the beautiful weather, gorgeous sunsets, and having the beach practically all to ourselves. We also played my favorite game "Boggle" almost every night and stayed really late like we were in college again. What a blessing to have good friends!
The unexpected hard part for me has been coming home. It was really emotional for me coming back into the house, because the last time we all returned from a trip was our last trip to Memphis, the day Joseph died. All those emotions just rushed back and in some strange way I feel like I'm experiencing those first days all over again.
I've been reading a couple of books on grief, and both of them talk about not being able to focus on anything and feeling tired all the time from expending so much emotional energy, which I could totally relate to. I feel it takes all my energy when I cry or am just feeling sad, but also to try to take a deep breath and move on with the day. Normal tasks are no longer easy and normal.
One man also talked about a real physical sensation of having cement blocks on your shoulders. I couldn't quite articulate that to myself or anyone else, but that is exactly how I feel. He also said he felt like he was constantly breathing very shallowly, and I also feel that, and find myself taking deep breaths every now and then after I realize I haven't been breathing normally. I never knew grief could affect you so much physically.
Holly is doing well and continues to tell us she is fine and doesn't miss Joe P. We know she does, but this is her typical answer. The one manifestation of her grief I see is that she has become very attached to me, which is fine. She started gymnastics class yesterday and absolutely loved it. I was so proud of her as she jumped on the trampoline and did her "bear walk" along the parallel bars. I think her favorite part was playing with the parachute at the end and getting to run underneath it.
Oh, and I mentioned in the previous post that it would be hard to see all the places at the beach where Joseph used to have fun. One of those places was the little fountain near all the restaurants in the village; Joseph used to jump around in it while we waited for our table to be ready. Well, as we walked past it last week I noticed that it was broken in the three places and there was an orange cone on top, which seemed very appropriate to me. If Joe P. can't play in it, then it should just be broken (so selfless of me, I know :)).
So, overall I think we are doing okay. Allen has been writing lots of beautiful songs out of his grief, which helps ease my sorrow too. I feel like God has been meeting me in nature--through being outdoors and just seeing his creation and beauty. In some situations words just are not enough, but I do feel He speaks very loudly through creation. In the song "Shout to the Lord" there is a verse that says "Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your Name." The Bible also personifies nature a lot, and I have never felt that nature truly does glorify and worship God as much as I do know. It is a very non-intrusive and gentle way that God is reminding me that He is here and that He loves me.