My friend Jackie! is in town. This past Tuesday marked one year since her brain cancer diagnosis. Not exactly an event to toast to. With my birthday looming on Saturday, we decided that the three of us should get away. So we decided to go to Catalina Island. I was there last August under much happier circumstances. And while my body is still unable to refine diamonds, we went big and traveled to the island in style:
It was crazy. None of us had ever been on a helicopter before. Every other time I’ve gone to Catalina, I took a shuttle boat over. That takes an hour. The helicopter took 14 minutes. We flew right over the ferry.
We checked into our hotel, then treated ourselves to a nice dinner at a restaurant that hung over the ocean. After dinner, we got dessert (fudge for me, waffle cones for Mike and Jackie! and we walked around the island. We eventually found ourselves at the same beach I was at last summer, except this time it was deserted.
We split and spent some time wandering around the empty beach, our thoughts and the ocean filling our minds. I thought back to last August. I remember laying on the warm sand under the warmer sun, calling home to talk to Mike and Maddie. I told them that we were going to come back here this summer, when Maddie was old enough to play on the beach and run in the surf. I really thought the next time I came to this island I’d have my daughter with me.
We would have built some amazing sandcastles.
I’m glad you went. I hope it was good for you all.
Sending love to you and Mike and Jackie! too.
.-= Bridget´s last blog ..Hypocrites =-.
Chrisie Ward says:
Build one for her Heather. Build it anyway. Hugs!
Alexandra :) says:
Yeah! Too bad you can’t make a pink and purple sandcastle…
Mike looks like an action man, coming out of that chopper!
You take really beautiful photos, Heather.
I think that looking at the world, and seeing all the things you could have done with Maddie … while painfully, unbelievably hard … is a beautiful way to always carry her with you.
Love Eden XOX
.-= eden´s last blog ..Feet Fail Me Not =-.
The helicopter ride would have seriously rocked. Wish Maddie could have experienced it with you!
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Helpful =-.
love the pictures…build maddie a sandcastle to remember, mama
Has it really been a whole year since then?
Wow. Time flies so fast. And stands still at the same time. I know you know what I mean.
I am so glad you got time away with Mike and your sweet friend.
All the hugs in the world. For everyone.
.-= Loralee´s last blog ..WEWEASE THE SECWET WEAPON! =-.
Wonderful photos, touching stories. I don’t doubt that she is there with you in spirit.
I do hope that you enjoyed your trip. You deserve it. The helicopter ride must have been a blast! Maddie would have loved it but then again, I am sure she loves the view she has of everyone now. I hope that you made some time to build a sand castle for yourelf?
.-= charlane´s last blog ..Swimming with Cole and Keelyn =-.
Great photos sweetie. I’m glad the three of you decided to get away. I’m quite certain it makes Maddie smile.
catherine lucas says:
Another never. I am frantically trying to find words, but can’t. It must be so darn hard to have a world filled with nevers.
.-= catherine lucas´s last blog ..Same aunts, different places =-.
What you did sounds like an amazing, unforgettable adventure. And I wish Maddie had been there too. xxx
.-= Seraphim´s last blog ..You like me…. =-.
I admire you for not curling up in a ball (although maybe you still want to at times?). What a way to honor your precious daughter’s memory, I’m sure she would want it that way. (And I’m not sure if I could not curl up in a ball under those circumstances.)
Thanks for sharing your day with us. I’m glad you two were able to get together with your friend Jackie. (((Hugs))) to you all.
P.S. I meant that as a compliment, I hope it came off that way.
Still reading over here, and thinking about you both. It sounds like an amazing, thoughtful day. Have always been curious about what the heck is on that island!
Thank you for sharing your lives and thoughts with so many folks inside the computer, Heather and Mike. The story of Maddie has enriched my life, although I deeply wish for your sakes that I could have found your blog under happier circumstances.
I’ll keep reading.
Joe @ Irrational Dad says:
I hope there are no horrible bug bite stories to come out of this trip. Hope Jackie!’s doing okay as well. It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on her.
.-= Joe @ Irrational Dad´s last blog ..Happy Blogiversary =-.
I had a dream I was giving you a hug last night. So if you had a dream that you were hugging some red-headed stranger, that was me. Sorry…
Here’s another virtual hug for you, (insert hug here). There, that one didn’t seem quite as awkward, did it?
Still keeping you and your family in my thoughts. Checking in each morning is now a part of my daily routine.
Take care of yourself and each other…
I’m so proud of you for getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other. I hope you have a great time with Mike and Jackie! You deserve it (as do they).
.-= Jamie´s last blog ..I hadn’t heard of this until today and yet… =-.
Gorgeous photos. I’m glad the 3 of you treated yourselves and got away. You would have made beautiful sandcastles, but I know that Maddie is smiling that fantastic smile of hers knowing you went in a helicopter and that you took her back there in your heart and soul.
.-= pgoodness´s last blog ..Not caring as much =-.
Kristen McD says:
What a beautiful place to bring the memories of her. (((HUGS)))
It’s nice to see Mike with a smile on his face, even though I’m sure he’s hurting.
.-= Candice´s last blog ..Mamarazzi =-.
Thank you for your honesty. It helps me alot.
I hope you have a nice time. That helicopter ride must have been amazing, the views breathtaking. You should build a sandcastle for Maddie, I know she would love it.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..Pregnancy Exercise: Hot Weather Exercises =-.
Amber Mc says:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
*un-weird little forehead kisses to you* (my husband gives me little forehead kisses when I’m feeling bad and there’s nothing he can do)
I’m so happy to hear that you got away, even if it was painful in many ways. Build a sand castle for Maddie. Thinking, as always, of you and Mike (and Jackie!).
That sounds like an amazing time.
There is something about the beach…my father loved the beach…some of my favorite memories are when my family would rent a cottage on the Connecticut shore every summer and go to the beach every day…he really suffered from arthritis and other health issues…but he was so joyful at the beach.
Now, nine years after he passed, I still really “feel” him when I go to the beach. I always take time to just stand at the water and connect. I would not say I am a super-religious person in any organized sense – but I really can feel him there, with me. Even after all of this time.
xo from CT,
.-= amanda´s last blog ..Eight Minus Jon & Kate =-.
lisa wood says:
heather go and build your sand castle and put Maddie’s name on it. Wish she was in that Helicopter having her first flight with you all, and seeing every thing through her eyes….
Love you guys. Enjoy your fantasy Holiday and have some much needed time away…
Take care and know that Maddie is next to, around you and with you and will always be a part of you….always
I would like to think Maddie was right there with you! Thanks for sharing your photos and pictures with us, very cool way to ride.
way to ride in style! i hope getting away brought you a little bit of peace…
i like to think that maddie is right there with you and mike, enjoying the ocean and the sand.
I agree. Build her a sandcastle. Or maybe write Maddie a message in the sand…
hugs to you
Next time you should totally build that castle. Also, awesome! on the helicopter.
As a lot of others have said, you should build one for her!! She would have loved it! You all are in my thoughts and prayers!
Courtney in New York
.-= Courtney´s last blog ..Movie Review (Transformers)! =-.
Happy (almost) birthday, lady.
.-= Becky´s last blog ..If I Had A Septic System, I Would SO Call Them =-.
It looks like a fun Place. I hope Jackie is doing better. You all should build the biggest sand castle in honor of Maddie. She will love it .:)
My thoughts are still with you.
Colleen Crawford says:
I have come across your blog via the Oprah/Matt Logelin connection and the blog that I wrote this morning was inspired (in part) by you.
You are touching the lives of so many people. A person knows when ‘life as they know it’ will change. It can happen to anyone. http://colleen-lifeasiknowit.blogspot.com/2009/06/reason-season-and-lifetime.html
I silently cheer you on to face each day, as I read your posts.
Thinking of you every day! And random thought following from your beach post – did you ever paint Maddie’s toenails? I bet she looked adorable!
What a wonderful getaway even though bittersweet. I’m still checking in everyday here and on Twitter.
PS..I’m wearing purple today
The pictures look desolate, as is your heart, like they were waiting for Maddie.
.-= Debby´s last blog ..ONCE UPON A TIME…….. =-.
She is with you, Heather. And so are a million other hearts.
Scattered Mom says:
Heather, every time I read your blog these days I can’t help but tear up. Your writing is just so beautiful and heart wrenching.
I’ve held off commenting, because words have never really seemed like enough-but I just want you to know, that we think of you and Maddie often.
Wow, you guys definitely went in style
Glad to hear that you all got away for awhile. Please tell your friend Jackie! that I wish her the best in her recovery.
I’m sorry Maddie was not there with you. I wish I could change that for you So very sorry.
Big hugs, Jenn in CA
Happy birthday, Heather. Glad you got to get away for a bit.
I know it will never be the same without her….but i am glad you were able to go away for awhile…..my thoughts are still with you everyday!
It looks lovely. You’ve made me want fudge, but that’s not hard to do.
.-= anymommy´s last blog ..You Are My Sunshine =-.
The Helicopter is DEFINITELY awesome. Especially since you didn’t get seasick! I remember that last trip you took. It wasn’t pretty.
.-= AMomTwoBoys´s last blog ..Field Trip Day =-.
april in NJ says:
Looks like you had a fun (if bittersweet) time. Hope your friend Jackie! is doing OK! Lots of birthday wishes (early ones) for Saturday and that you have some sort of peace on that day!
love and hugs from NJ
Andrea's Sweet Life says:
Would it be insane to just go ahead and pretend she IS there? It’s so easy to close my eyes and imagine the look on her face as you flew in the helicopter. To imagine her wiggling her toes in the sand. Looking at her toes, looking at you, smiling, looking at her toes again. The look of delight on her face as your sand castle got bigger and better by the minute.
Love to you all, I hope you had a nice time.
.-= Andrea’s Sweet Life´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: The Mehhh Edition =-.
I want to go to Catalina. Your writing made me want to go NOW! Love the pictures! Hope you enjoyed your time with Mike and Jackie! Sending you hugs! XO
I can’t beleive you flew to catalina in that thing! Actually, I can. Not everyone is a chicken-butt like me.
I haven’t been to Catalina in years…your post reminds me that it’s time for another visit. But I’ll be waving to you from the ferry below…
I know your trip was missing Maddie, but I’m still glad to read that you and Mike are out doing things like this. It seems so healthy and strong and healing. Lame words, I know, but they are what comes to mind.
And yes, she would have made some amazing sandcastles:)
(((hugs))) to you my friend!
Glad ya’ll were able to get away.
Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com says:
I know your trip without Maddie was missing sandcastles, but I hope you all enjoyed Catalina; it’s a beautiful, peaceful island.
mrs. chicken says:
You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you continue to process and think and most importantly, feel, all the emotions that come with grief.
I hope the ocean gave you a little solace.
How cool about the helicopter!
I wish Maddie could be there with you–but I hope you enjoy time w/ your friend.
.-= Jennifer´s last blog ..My Kids Are Weird… =-.
Amy in Oregon says:
I love Catalina! One of my most favorite places. Build that sand castle for her Heather…..
I hope you and your friend find some time for laughs on your trip.
You are definitely due a few.
Love to you.
I’m so glad you got away. It is so needed to go someplace else, to see and feel loss and pain, in a different environment.
It’s so different, to get out of your home, where Maddie always was.
It puts your pain out in the world, for the ocean and skies and all of the cosmos to pick up, and spread across the universe.
Pain at home is so self contained, I remember feeling like my loss was shared with the world , when I stood before the ocean, and just felt the enormousness of it all.
Losing Maddie was so much bigger than what your house can hold, it needs to be felt in front of the ocean, with the world as your shoulder to cry on.
enjoy your time away
Tina Hosko says:
Lisa in WI says:
The first picture is my favorite. It’s good to see smiles on your faces!
.-= Lisa in WI´s last blog ..Weight Loss Update =-.
She would have built amazing castles with you Heather. Keep dancing sweetie. (((hugs)))
.-= preTzel´s last blog ..Day 35: Changes. =-.
No one deserves some time away more than you and your husband. Best of luck to your friend in her battle against cancer.
I know I drop by with notes saying I’m thinking of you, Mike, and Maddie a lot, but pass one on to Jackie! for me. I think of her often.
Hugs to you, Mike, and Jackie!.
I am so glad you are all getting away. Good for the soul. Now go make that sandcastle for Maddie..
I’m not familiar with Catalina, but why would the beach be deserted this time of year?
Sending support and love to you and Mike…
Maria Delgado says:
She is building the most beautiful sand castle in heaven and it’ll be waiting for you when you get there.
Blessings to you.
It’s 12:10 am and officially the 27th of June —
You are now in your 30’s
Happy Birthday to you, Heather.
You are one amazing lady.
.-= Katrina´s last blog ..Daddy Love =-.
So nice to get away and great to see a smile on Mike’s face. Catalina is one of my favorite places, ever. I love SCUBA diving over by the casino.
You can always build one with her. Imagining her sweet hands guiding yours…. That could be a nice meditation for you. A nice way to connect to her spirit. (I tear up whenever I comment here WISHING things were not this way!)
.-= Haley-O´s last blog ..“They’re Real…, and They’re Fabulous”: The Story of Cheaty’s Bewbs =-.
I’m sorry your baby wasn’t with you there, but I’m happy to that you got away, and in style! You’re still in my thoughts! Happy belated 30th! God Bless!