It’s Memorial Day weekend, I’m sitting in a balcony overlooking the Pensacola Beach, drinking my morning coffee while my children sleep peacefully inside the cool, dark condo. It’s the first week of summer vacation, and a cold front has hit the coast, creating a very pleasant temperature and cool breeze. This sounds like any normal beach vacation, but it’s not. Nothing ever feels “normal” to me anymore. 

Kyle’s brother (Brock), and his family are with us this weekend too. We all are sharing a condo. It has been tricky navigating my emotions. I can feel Kyle’s abscence so strongly when I am with Brock.  I’m sure by this point in our vacation, I would have been annoyed by their stupid inside jokes and weird ability to communicate entirely through movie quotes. Even though they shared countless similarities, when Kyle was alive, the brothers seemed so different. Kyle was very structured and detail/task oriented, while Brock is a more laid back and go with the flow type. Now that Kyle isn’t with us anymore, I see even more similarities in Brock. It makes me miss Kyle even more intensely. They even sound so much alike sometimes, and Hamp has even called Brock “daddy” twice since we’ve been here. That was hard for me to swallow when I heard that. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying myself and having a great time. I have loved seeing Myla rip and romp through the waves, and I love seeing sweet Hamp build a sandcastle and tell me he wants to eat jellyfish for supper. They are enjoying every second of this trip. It’s just that it is a little harder for me. I am beginning to think I’ll never fully and completely  enjoy anything ever again. I just feel like such a different person, almost a stranger. I’m not the carefree funloving mom I once was. The bright and crisp edges of my life now seem to have a blurry and dark frame around it. Kyle’s abscence and our pain swirls around everything that we do. Grief has a way of transforming us. There are moments when I felt like I am only defined by brokenness; that my identity is “broken.”

Being with Kyle’s brother and seeing his interactions with his wife and family almost break my heart. I miss the family we had, and the love we shared. I even miss the quarrels and hard times! It feels strange to be on vacation without him with us. 

I pray and try to seek Christ on this, and although I will never be the same, I am thankful that my eyes have been opened to eternity and my need for Christ’s saving grace has been made so apparent. I know one day I won’t feel so shattered and one day I might feel more joy than pain, and God will work in great ways to restore, redeem and heal. It just takes some time to heal and that the transformation of my life  will be greater because of the pain. 

Everyone inside the condo should be waking up by now. I’ll dry my tears and put on my best happy face and Enjoy this absolutely gorgeous day God has given us!


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