And speaking of gorgeous weather, Ireland had it as well- 4 days in a row. Bluebells newly bloomed decorated a park near John's cousins' house in Lissycasey, County Clare. We enjoyed a lovely walk with his cousin and his cousin's grandson couldn't resist sitting among them.
An apple tree starting to bloom next to the lake in their backyard captured my eye. This is the view from their kitchen window.
Heather scattered throughout the grass on the cliffs of Kilkee by the sea. John's cousin's daughter and her son toured us through their favorite gradens and a sea hike.
A view from the cliff walk on a gorgeous day.
A scattering of ladybugs painted on stones in the enclosed garden of an old estate now revived for the public. They made me smile as did time with an energetic eight year old.
Me on a chair woven of branches and embellished by children in the same garden.
And a whole different sort of activity at a nearby pub listening to traditional Irish music with John's cousins. It's something we share in common and look forward to whenever we visit. The added bonus, of course, is relaxed time with extended family we've come to cherish.
Travels of the Heart:
Next was a trip last week to Jacksonville, Florida to be with my sister-in-law, Georganna, who lost her husband of 32 years although they've been divorced for ten years (my younger brother) and her Dad within three months of each other. We're good friends and we needed time together with no agenda other than to talk, share, reminisce and take solace in each other's company. That's just what happened and it felt good. The healing power of love.
And in a dear gesture of love, my niece, Colleen, my brother's youngest daughter (he has three), took some of his shirts and made aprons from them. She gave them to her Mom, her sisters and me. It's a clever idea and I felt his presence when I put it on. She's talented and thoughtful that way.
As is Danielle, his middle daughter, who came to her Mom's, planned the Memorial Day barbecue, hosted the guests, cooked the food with her husband, Ben, and cleaned up afterwards. What a class act. It was a wonderful day and I felt so proud of her. She's pictured below in the photo with her sister, AnneMarie. She has the same premature gray hair as my brother, her Dad.
I also had a wonderful time with my niece, AnneMarie, who is getting closer to her goal of walking again after a devastating closed head injury in a car accident ten years ago. She does regular water exercises in their pool to further this goal and walked 50 feet while I was there using a special walker assisted by her personal trainer. She also works with therapists at Brooks Rehab. using a harness hung from the ceiling which gradually gives her have less and less aid in the process of walking. She has to qualify each month by making sufficient progress to receive more therapy the following month, so she's motivated! I was better able to understand her speech by the end of the week which was a bonus and thrilling for me. I'm proud of her efforts and her positive attitude despite her obstacles.
I wasn't able to write during all these travels. It seemed I could pay attention to the folks I was with and take care of myself or I could take quiet time apart to write but I wasn't able to master doing both during this stretch of time. Losing my brother took the wind out of my sails and left me with less energy. I can feel more of it returning after time with my sister