Every year, for the past 4 years my husband and I go to St. Augustine Beach, Fl for summer vacation. We usually go for a week with family and we all rent a beach house together. It is usually the week of July 4th. Last year, when after we found out I was pregant-but before I knew Ella had anencephlay, I thought about our vacation. I knew my baby would only be couple of months old this summer- but I imagined taking her on a trip(I always knew she was a girl). I imagined staying inside with her or sitting on the deck with her enjoying the ocean breeze. I never imagined the trip would be so different this year .
When I left work to go on maternity leave, I didn't plan on a vacation at all this year. I knew that Ella had anencephaly-and I hoped that I would get months with her after she was born. I knew this was very rare with anencephaly. But it has happened before. As you all know, I didn't get months with Ella after birth. She lived for 20 hours, and I am so blessed to have gotten that time.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I decided to take a trip to St. Augustine just to get away. I go back to work next week, and after being off for so long- I won't be able to take any more time off this summer. So, we wanted to do it before my maternity leave is up. We booked a hotel for three nights. My cousin and her family were also in St. Augustine at the same time.
We left for the beach last thursday after Jon got off of work. I wasn't in the best mood on the way there. Then when we got to the beach, we went for a walk. The next morning, Jon and I got up and went to the beach with our dogs( they love the beach too!) That first day on vacation was so hard for me. I saw so many families with their little babies and toddlers on the beach. The little girls in their tiny little swimsuits really got to me. I just want that so bad-not just a family. I want it to be Ella with me and Jon. I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like if her neural tube had closed and she were healthy, happy, and here. I struggled to even enjoy myself that first day. I still don't really know how to enjoy life and not feel like it is all so wrong.
After we had been at the beach a little while, a dragonfly flew by. This may sound crazy-but I have seen so many dragonflies since Ella died. I see them at the cemetary all of the time when I visit here grave. I have told Jon about this many times. Well, a couple of weeks ago I read a story on another blog, Too Beautiful... The story is about dragonflies. Basically, the story was used to explain death to children. Once a waterbug becomes a dragonfly it can't go back to the water to see the other waterbugs-but one day the other waterbugs will become dragonflies and see the ones who have gone before again. As one day we will see our loved ones in Heaven again. I think that all of the dragonflies are little messages to me that I will be with Ella again. I may be wrong-but I have NEVER seen a dragonfly on the beach that I remember-and Jon says the same-and he saw it too!
I did enjoy myself after the first day. I know that we have to live life. I know that it isn't fair to Jon or to myself to be sad the rest of my life-but I have to admitt that it is a battle right now. I did have a good time with my husband, and with my cousin Candy and her family. It isn't hard to laugh around that group:)
The photo I posted is of course one we took at the beach. Jon's footprints are on the left of Ella's name and mine are on the right(one got washed away). Adding our footprints was actually her Daddy's idea. I want to include her in everything I do - she will always be a part of me now and forever.