We all gathered at the farmhouse for dinner.
It's been four years since Joey went to Heaven, but this annual ritual is as important and necessary as it's ever been.
My big, tall, handsome grandson, Chase, twirls the soccer ball as he awaits the arrival of family and friends.
Our dear friends and Maui pastors, Craig and Kathy, made the long journey to be with us. Such a precious gift to have them here. We were with these dear friends on the night we learned that Joey had died.
Jaime and Aidan (with board shorts and a towel on his arm) are discussing the advisability of him jumping in the pond at this moment.
Everyone is glad to be together. On the right is my blue cabinet that holds many of Joey's precious things.
JoAnne and Rachel look on as Joe thanks our friend Christian for bringing catered dinner to our house. Christian was out in the deluge picking everything up for us. He also brought lots of beautiful flowers. Though I love to cook, this is not a day when I choose to be preoccupied in the kitchen.
Drew and Sean chatting...unfortunately I caught Sean in motion. But please notice the Joey tattoo on his bicep. Birds are one of our symbols for Joey. We all have a tattoo in Joey's memory.
We all sat down together to eat. Aidan is being a little silly with his spaghetti noodles.
As our evening ended, we tried to hang on to this moment with a snapshot. Bad lighting in back, so we try again.
The veil between heaven and earth is a thin one.
We love you, Joey, and can't wait to see you again.
An added gift to my week was being able to meet my dear friend Chris. Her daughter Sarah went to Heaven a few months before Joey, and they were the same age. Chris and I both experienced the sudden death of our children. She is from Ohio, and a fellow blogger. Before this moment, I had only ever known her through my computer. She and her husband were in Virginia for a cool motorcycle vacation, and I jumped at the chance to meet her. She has been an integral part of my bereaved mother's fellowship, and a huge comfort to my heart these past three years. She has a steady faith in God and her beautiful poetry and pictures always speak to my heart. Her blog can be found here at True North.
The next few days were spent playing together. Joe and Craig took the canoe out to a Back Bay lake. Kathy hilariously captioned this one, "What could go wrong?"
We also took the pontoon boat out several times, just to be on the water and take in the natural beauty. Nature is a great salve on a broken heart.
But finally, our gathering came to an end. Here is another in our large file of pictures of Rachel being dropped off at the airport. Rachel's love and presence have been a huge comfort to us, over and over again. What an amazing girl our son loved.
Maui people love road trips. They don't get to do that there. In this sunset shot of Joe and Craig, we are on the Lewes-Cape May Ferry that runs between DE and NJ.
In the beautiful Victorian seaside town of Cape May, we stayed at the Congress House hotel. It's a gorgeous historic hotel, a reminder of a bygone era.
When we got tired we took a nap in the park. This was our view looking up. We need to look up more.