Category Archives: travel

Snapshots.

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Snapshots.

After very little sleep last night, I decided to take a quick cat nap this morning after getting the kids off to school. Knowing I have a long full day ahead, I usually cannot nap and don’t like to, but thought it was necessary.

I closed my eyes and immediately had a dark sensation overwhelm me. I thought how lucky I was to be afforded this time, and also how peaceful it was at that very moment, but how quickly things can change in an instant.

After a stressful morning and short fuse, I really needed this rest. But my peaceful moment was now being flooded with memories swirling like snapshots in photographs…

Within seconds I was there again…so clear and vivid…so chilling.

My mind was telling me a story again that I think about occasionally, but always on this day…every year…for eight years.

The time span of these snapshots this morning was not even thirty seconds maybe, but enough (coming fast and furious) to bring me to tears and wide awake.

The hotel lobby…the room…the smells…the pool…our luggage…

There were no cat naps or resting now.

I remembered the dark room in the spa. The knock on the door. The annoyance visibly spread over the masseuse’s face. No one ever interrupts a massage.

This was my moment of relaxation after several days in Disney with family-we finally planned it right…de-stressing from a whirlwind five days in Disney, now in Clearwater at a quiet hotel on the water.

The de-stressing never happened.

The car ride to Clearwater was more stressful than the visiting of the parks…the children were tired and cranky. We became tired and cranky…we should have just headed home.

But after several trips to Disney, we saved for this treat, knowing we always wished to find some chill out time after long full, yet fun days in the parks.

The following morning after we arrived in Clearwater, I was treated to a massage-a little Mommy pampering (maybe a belated birthday gift from a few weeks prior?), then back to the husband and kiddies for some beach or pool time…whatever we wanted at our own pace…we were relaxing…finally.

The knock on the door during my massage immediately made me think something was wrong with the kids, or maybe my husband’s 98 year old Grandmother back home who wasn’t well before we left…

The girl at the door told the masseuse it was an emergency and I needed to find my husband right away.

I quickly got dressed and found my phone buzzing away and noticed several missed calls from back home…oh shit.

What on Earth is going on????

I walked back into the vast lobby and see my husband charging down the stairs white as a ghost…where are my babies?

What is going on?

My husband was running to the car to search for his cell phone after getting a call in the room from a friend back home…

It’s gone…all gone.

Our home burned, not to the ground…but everything is gone…

The rest of the story now leaves me in tears as I write this…the hysterics on our children’s faces as we tell them what happened…

Their toys, their clothes, pictures…everything…their stuffed animals and trophies…their beds…

Where will we go?

What will we do?

The nightmare trip home of begging to get on a flight…only to have it delayed overnight because birds flew in the engine…

Are you frigging kidding me??

Why? Why now? How much more bad karma can one family take?

It could be worse, we were told…after almost 24 hours trying to get home, then arriving to family and friends covered in soot with tired eyes and heavy hearts…

These snapshots will haunt us forever.

We rebuilt a stronger and safer home…our family and community surrounded us with love and food and shelter and clothing…even Halloween decorations to cheer up our girls…

We came out of it all that much stronger…

When we feel weak and can bare no more, we remember these snapshots as I did this morning from eight years ago today, they lift us up and tell us we can and we will be stronger.

 

October 20, 2008

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. Strength comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t”- Unknown

 

 

Something About Mary.

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Mary is my middle name. Mary is my Mother’s name. I pray to Mary everyday…even more so when I am worried or afraid. I am not a Holy Roller, but find comfort in praying.

I prayed hard to Mary, and God, and my favorite Angels in Heaven (and pretty much anyone that would listen to me) on Tuesday that we would make it home safely to our children.

Then she appeared.

Mary.

I didn’t know her name. She came up behind us in the security line and made a joke about hoping to not have to run through the airport to catch her plane because the lines were so long.

That was it. We all made it through…then waited. Our flight was delayed. More waiting and more worrying for the big chicken.

Finally the time came to board…here comes my praying again.

mary

 (Reminding myself to bring the Blessed Mother like this one on my next flight)

My throat gets tight, I get shaky, my head spins…trust me, flying anywhere with me, is no fun. But I so desperately want to see the world.

So I muscle through.

I thought to myself I can do this…knowing how so many people wish they could be traveling…I can do this.

Then it happened… there she was.

The woman behind us in line in security was boarding our plane. We find that to be cool in a strange sort of way, when you see people from your flight or in an airport, at random times in a trip.

And wait…she couldn’t be…she is taking the empty window seat next to me in our row…woah.

That’s weird.

We exchanged pleasantries, my husband, as usual, fell sound asleep in seconds, and I am left alone with my thoughts and prayers and warnings of a bumpy flight…all to myself.

A little while into the flight, I checked my air vent…the nice woman next to me was covering up her chest and said I could use her air vent as well, it was bothering her…she explained she had a port, and it hurt for some reason…

This small comment turned into a funny, emotional, and strange conversation that lasted until we landed…

As we packed up our things,(I was relieved to be home yet thoroughly freaked out), she introduced herself…Mary.

Wow.

I know it is a fairly common name, but as she talked of family, and her illness she was recovering from, and trips she has taken, there was one similarity after another…I had started to think to myself…is she my guardian angel to get me through this flight or something more?

Near the end of our conversation, she was giving me strength to get through some challenges we are facing in our family, and comforting words…then she told me that someone in her church had told her she was like a Prophet of sorts…she was determined to take this trip to go help guide someone who was suffering and needed support…then she looked at me, and said “ya know, I think this kind of happened for a reason too”…I gently touched her arm and said “I think so too”…I then told her why…how each story she told me, was so similar to our life and things that were going on right now, that I felt she could be in it with us…I cannot get into detail of all the little things and big things right now…

But I can say, I am a believer…in Mary.

She may have been just a cancer survivor sitting next to me on the plane with a terrific sense of humor…or she could have been a prophet somehow…or all my praying sent her to sit with me to distract me from all of my fears…

Whatever it was, it worked…I will never forget that flight.

Or Mary.