In the middle of June, the girls and I set out on a summer adventure with my parents, GrandMary and Captain. When I was growing up, my dad worked as a sea captain in the Merchant Marines. He made a career change as my siblings and I began getting older so that he could be home more. I am forever grateful for the family time that change allowed us. My dad spent his entire life calling land-locked Fort Worth, Texas home, but never lost his love of all things maritime. Now that he is semi-retired, he has been spending more time at sea and has embarked with my mom on the Great American Loop. They were delayed on their journey this year for obvious reasons, but with hurricane season approaching, the girls and I joined them to move their boat up the east coast as far north as we could.
I was grateful for the chance to be relieved from the sole and daily responsibility of feeding and taking care of the girls. We drove from their house to St. Augustine, Florida and back in an RV to avoid public stops and quarantine as much as possible. The boat was the same way. It was as good a place as any to practice social distancing and I had the luxury of my mom taking care of all the meals. Some people might think it’s crazy to drive cross country and willingly set out to sea in a confined space with small children for a month, but getting away from home and spending time on the water with my family was a welcomed and pressure free opportunity for me. I got to enjoy the fresh air and form some special new memories with my parents and now family of three. Also, as cliche as it may sound, being present in the vastness of the open water is one of the greatest ways to tune in to God’s truly amazing creation that is our world.
My family has always been close, but we were never the best at expressing ourselves or talking about feelings. Working through my grief with losing Taylor, I found that my mom and dad were some of the hardest people for me to talk to. That has subsided now and we enjoyed lots of quality time together, but I felt guilty over my inability to open up to them at first. I could always sense their pain and it hurt me deeply on top of my own. They loved Taylor like their own son and they certainly love me. As a mother myself, I know that you would do anything to protect your child from heartache. Not only did they lose a child, but their daughter is working through unimaginable suffering. I felt like I needed to comfort them myself and couldn’t bear to see them grieving for my loss.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to the others.”Romans 12:4-5
I started taking medication around two months after the accident that, for the most part, keeps the nightly tears at bay, but leaves me in constant terror of who I will be talking to when the floodgates occasionally do open. The UPS man? My daughter’s preschool teacher? The unsuspecting teenager bagging my groceries? These hypothetical interactions keep me up at night and I want to preemptively apologize to anyone who might make eye contact with me and trigger the release of my trauma. I try hard not to think about it, but can’t help worrying who will be in the line of fire when the next breakdown comes.
Sometimes the people closest to us are the ones that are hardest to talk to and I think this is why we have a tendency to avoid our loved ones when it comes to serious conversations, but can occasionally connect to and open up with strangers. I believe that God facilitates those connections. The Lord created us all with special gifts and to work together in this world because we are all part of the same body-His body. If someone confides in you, honor their confidence. If you find it strange they would choose you to share things with because you didn’t think you were that close, appreciate that they felt safe enough to open up to you and know God has chosen to connect you with another one of his children. Know too that your loved ones want to help you and are ready to listen and be there for you. We owe it to them to be honest if that’s difficult instead of pushing them away or avoiding. The Lord tells us to be kind to one another, to encourage each other and He did not intend for us to go through life alone. Be aware as you go through your day that everyone you cross paths with has been put in your life for a reason.
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