This year for our family vacation we decided on a cruise. This was my second and the very first for my princess, who had watched the Titanic once too many times. Partially thanks to the fact it happens to be one of her mother’s favorites and she was a little scared. She actually stated she was going to wear a life jacket the entire time, including while she was sleeping.
As stated in Let’s Launch into Vacation the timing was a little bit crazy. I almost canceled my trip. There was so much happening and I felt I was leaving too much behind. I stepped on the ship feeling overwhelmed and concerned. I had a scared daughter and work had been nuts. But anyone who cruises knows once you step foot on the ship, there is music, frozen drinks and lots of food so it’s a little hard to stay mad.
We enjoyed the atmosphere. I forgot about work and all was good. That all changed the first morning of the cruise when my sister sent me a message that her one and only best friend of almost 20yrs had passed away from cancer. My heart sank. I cried but hid my tears not to ruin the vacation. This was like a little sister to me. But the most difficult pill to swallow; she was a mother of 4. My heart literally hurt.
My Swim Team, my real friends, is literally my lifeline. They are the people that keep me grounded. I love them more than family. And I have been blessed with more than one real friend. How is my sister going to function? And what about her babies? I literally could not imagine.
Fortunately, we were able to get dressed up for the elegant night and the princess felt beautiful! The princess helped me to get back into the vacation mode. We must always remember to check on those who appear the strongest. I contacted my sister as much as I could to make sure she was okay but I also made sure the princess was okay.
We met some friends while traveling also. And they were also dealing with the death of loved ones. i thought I was better but I realized, at that moment, how much I had avoided grieving. In less than six months, my grandma, my aunt, and now my sister’s best friend had passed away.
I was pretending to be strong. I had stopped crying every day and acted as if everything was okay but here I was sitting in a bathroom stall balling. My sister hadn’t cried during any call because she too had been trained to mask the tears in front of others. This lady I met on the cruise ship was on vacation with her children, making sure they were having a good time yet I saw the pain in her eyes. I mean as mothers, we are expected to put on our superwomen capes and keep it going. When do we have time to truly let it all out?
So I sat there and decided to ask God to reveal the true me. To allow me to be supportive to others and let them know it’s okay to love and it’s okay to hurt. We may never be prepared for the death of a loved one. However we can grieve. The grieving process has no time and we all deal with it differently, but we have to address it.
Prior to losing a loved one, you don’t realize how the little things remind you of them. It’s sayings they would say, certain scents you smell, songs being played and sometimes just your mind hearing their voice, their laughter and even their smart mouths.
Each day is difficult and some days are more difficult than others. We can be like a turtle and hide from others and holding on the pain or we can release. We don’t let go of memories and mask our hurt but instead, we learn to cherish the memories, cry when we need to and try to learn to do life again. So take the time to get away! Do fun things again. It doesn’t have to be a vacation, it may be reading a book or going to have coffee. But we are all here for a temporary time. Losing someone you love will never be easy, but life is short and sometimes we need to just take a break and enjoy it.
This vacation was more than just fun times, it was a reminder that it’s okay to just be me, the me God wants to reveal to me.