Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Vacation - Part 2

Bittersweet is defined in the dictionary as "pleasure tinged with sadness or pain."  That's almost an accurate descriptor of how our first trip as an extended family without Dad felt to me, except I'd flip that around:  I'd say it was more like sadness and pain tinged with pleasure.

I think we were all a little nervous before we left about how the vacation would go without Dad and with everyone's grief still so raw.  Dad LOVED the beach and talked a lot about going there when he first got diagnosed, as part of his Modified Bucket List.

Like we’re all doing in our daily lives, though, we muddled through, trying to still feel lucky and be happy but missing him so badly our hearts literally hurt.  Personally, I felt a little guilty, too, being there when he couldn’t be.  But I know he would’ve wanted us to go even though he didn’t get to this time, and I realize that it’s just the start of things that will cut me to the bone thinking about how sad and unfair it is that he is missing out.

It helps to be together, though, with the only other people on Earth who love him and miss him as much as I do.  And the beach brings a certain peace to me, as I think it did to Dad. 

The six grandchildren wrote "I love u, Gramps," in the sand.

My mom brought an item of Dad's clothing for each of us to wear to the beach one night so we could have part of him there with us.  

Our group of 15 people walked onto the beach and set down our stuff, and, as we were trying to figure out how we should stand for the photo shoot, we saw a man walking towards us.  We asked him if he would take the photo, and he said, “Even better: my wife will; she’s a photographer.”  The wife overheard and walked over to our group to organize us so that the lighting was just right.  It’s always nice to have a professional show up on the spot.   Thanks, Dad!
The Bullard family - a tribute photo

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