Yesterday we spent the day together as a family celebrating Rachel’s birthday. It didn’t seem at all odd that we would do this. She would have loved it.
We started out eating breakfast at a lovely restaurant in Dundee, the next town over. When I say “we” I mean, John Williams and Oscar, Elizabeth (John’s mom), John’s nephew Grayson, John/Erin/Sage/Brynn, Pete/Linsey/Will, Mauri, and me—13 of us. We regrouped then drove to the beach, Rockaway Beach to be exact. It’s where Harbor Villa is and the place we have enjoyed family time together for many years.
Thanks to the generosity of the Harbor Villa hosts, Ron and Deb Mulkey, we were offered access to Rachel’s favorite beach and use of their restroom (a necessity with young children).
The guys went to work setting up this remarkable wind shield.
And here we spent the day doing what we do at the beach.
It was a glorious day, as you can see.
We were all noticeably subdued as we remembered Rachel and missed her presence among us.
Not at all maudlin though. She would never want that.
A significant selfie in the making. . .
Here’s the result from JohnW’s cell phone and shared on Facebook. A friend commented: “Her 4 heroes”
As the sun lowered we gathered round and talked of Rachel, shared poetry and a prayer and stories and, yes, even sang our family birthday song. We pondered the significance of our loss, how it has affected all of us.
It was good and it was hard, and as we headed toward our cars we walked in unity, a family stronger because we grieve together.