Photos and a happy/sad tale from one of our favorite holidays in the past few years, as well as our most hygge holiday ever, hands down.
Part of the reason it was such a perfect week was because it occurred during a very difficult time in our lives, and proved not only the ideal respite but, (though we didn’t know it at the time), a deep breath for what was to come.
My mother had been plunging further into Alzheimer’s for some months before you see. And after trying many, many different things with mom we had finally resorted to hospitalizing her for a while, for her own safety and that of others, (she had become quite violent.) Following the hospitalization we planned on moving her into a facility where she could be properly cared for and, hopefully, calm down enough so we’d be able to actually talk with her once again.
Our family had been planing a holiday for months and were determined to go – not too far – to get away from things for a while. And I – in a most uncharacteristic move, for we’re usually “touring like mad” people on holiday, seeing and doing everything and arriving home utterly exhausted – began perusing vacation cottages and such on airbnb and found what seemed the perfect one for us. So…I actually booked it for a week. Making the grand and unprecedented decision of staying at one holiday location for an entire seven days.
My family was shocked.
And I was just a bit worried. Wondering would it be an awful dump, were the photos and excellent reviews all lies? Would there be cockroaches, or cat hair, (sadly, I’m dreadfully allergic), or a major construction project right next door? (These are but a small sampling of the things I worry about. Minute really.)
Still we packed up the car, our kids and ourselves and bee lined it straight to the coast of Oregon.
And had a perfect, picturesque time. I spent most of the entire week on the cabin’s deck, watching an ocean and an always empty wide, long stretch of beach. There were beautiful gardens to walk in, a tree house from a fairy tale, seals and seashells, gulls and gorgeous sunsets.
Honestly – I only left the cabin, its gardens, or the beach once from the time we arrived till the day we packed up to leave.
And the day we arrived home? Well, my mother unexpectedly died that day – having been unconscious for many, many days – and we were shocked, and sad. But honestly, so glad and relieved her long, bewildering fall into, her painful imprisonment within darkness were finally over. She was finally free to move forward. To step into the light.
And so the massive undertaking of clearing out her hoarder home, outbuildings, and storage unit began. A overwhelming job which we’re still not finished with eight very long, exhausting months later. And many, many times over these months, especially throughout the horrible summer and autumn of 2016 when things were at their worst, I would look over these photos, at the memory jar I made filled with beach sand, shells, bits of rock, and take a deep breath; remembering. Close my eyes and see those sunsets. Open them, and remember to notice the sunset happening now, right here in these hills where I live.
And to keep going.
We hope to return to the beach cottage this spring. Though this time we’ll remember to bring The Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings on dvd to watch as we pile onto the couches – windows and deck door open to better hear the ocean’s song – after the sun has set. We’ll take more nighttime walks along the beach, perhaps we’ll try to time our visit during a full moon. Our store runs will be better planned, so that, just maybe none of us will have to get into a car from the day we unpack till we load up to return home again.
And I hope to bring home a bag full of hag and wishing stones. To peer through to a new world, to make a wish and never tell. Stones and shells. Leaves and blossoms. Memories tangible, and memories vivid: the latter you hold in your mind, tasting, smelling, hearing, feeling them again and again. Praying, (believing), nothing is ever forgotten.
Holding tight, careful lest they slip away.