Friday, August 12, 2011

The Bittersweet Vacation

Today is the last day of our annual beach vacation. It’s a once-per-year tradition that I cherish. My extended family is a riot and we don’t spend enough time together.

The reason it’s been a bittersweet vacation is because my mom’s sister—my sweet Aunt Dot—passed away during the week. Mom would not leave Aunt Dot’s side so she didn’t start the vacation with us, which seemed odd. Our annual family congregation is the high-water mark of Mom’s year; she says she’s never happier than when all her chickens are under one roof.

It was weird, being at the beach trying to have fun while Aunt Dot was suffering and Mom was with her. Yet Mom insisted we continue with the annual pilgrimage. She insisted we come to the beach and make merry. She didn’t want to let anyone down, especially her grand-kids, so we came without her.

After 2 days, Aunt Dot died. My brother, my sister and I made the car ride from the beach to her funeral. Anticipating this possibility, we had tucked funeral clothes into our bags, right next to our bathing suits and beach towels.

The drive to the funeral is the only time I can remember being alone with my siblings, just the 3 of us, as adults. It was a special time, which added to the complexity of contradicting emotions.

Once we arrived at Aunt Dot and Uncle Jerry’s house, we were greeted by distant relatives that we only see at weddings and funerals. I know that’s fairly typical of big families but it would be nice to see them more often.

After the funeral, visitation and family gathering, the sibs and I made a late night road trip back to the beach. Mom and Dad joined us the next day, so by Wednesday we were all together.

I’m waxing nostalgic because that’s how I feel. It was a wonderful and sad and hilarious and frenetic and heartwarming and heartbreaking week.

We’re already planning next year.   



  1. Awww, I'm sorry. This must have been incredibly difficult for your mom, especially. In a way, though, it was a blessing that this was the week--you all had each other and you were in the very place that has been witness to countless family memories. Seems fitting, somehow. {{{hugs}}}

  2. Very eloquent, Langley. Sounds like quite a memorable vacation, for better and for worse. Sending you wishes for continued strength for your entire family.

  3. How difficult it must have been, yet in a way, a good place to be to recover from it all. And, it kept a level of norm for the kids. I'm sorry for your loss, Langley.

  4. Langley--so sorry to hear about your Aunt Dot--I know this was somewhat expected as she had been ill. It isn't easy just the same. Perhaps she chose this time to leave as she knew you would all have comfort in each other's presence. Many hugs to you and yours!! Cheers. Jenn

  5. My condolences to you, but I'm so glad you had your family around you so that you all shared the loss together.

  6. Hi Langley. my condolences to you and to your family...

    God bless.

  7. Condolences to you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Langley,
    Mom (Aunt Dot) would be honored. Beautifully written...
    I enjoyed reading both blogs about my amazing mother. I am so glad you two shared such personel thoughts. I guess you were alike in that you both are not afraid of words spoken in truth and love. In fact, they could not go unsaid or neither of you were being true to yourselves. What a precious gift.

  9. So sorry to hear that Aunt Dot has passed away.


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