2016 Beach memories: Pictures worth 20,000 words.

Two years ago, I spent a few arduous days in L.A. with my mother and husband so I could have an appointment with Dr. Chia. Last year, we spent a few days on the Washington coast while I was very sick. We picked the closest coastal town to our house, so it was the shortest drive and my husband did all the work — I just had to get myself in and out of the car. I did it for the dogs, to see their joy on the beach, to try to make up for two and a half years of no adventures and lessened activity… but I was not in good shape.

This year, though… This year we took TWO TRIPS TO THE COAST. Again, all I had to do was pack (no easy feat — it takes me days) and get myself in the car. My angel husband, with good spirits, loads everything in and out and in and out of the car, including my mobility scooter, all my food, bedding, towels etc. I even brought my air purifier. I love being so low-maintenance.

Last June, was our longest trip since I got sick. We stayed in the same place in the same coastal town as we had in 2015, but I was feeling better than I had in years so, on the day we were meant to leave to go back to Seattle, we found a different rental and extended our visit for an extra two days. This new house was right on the beach and had a balcony. I had no idea the difference it would make to my experience. The first rental was further inland and had a fenced-in yard and trees enclosing the garden. It never occurred to me that a view might be nice — might even be soul-enlivening — I was just happy to see four different walls. But the simple act of gazing at an expanse of nature, even from inside a house, is everything when you’ve been housebound for a prolonged period. That first night, when I saw the vast black sky punctured with millions of bright stars, I started weeping. When was the last time I really saw the stars? I will never forget that moment. And the next day, sitting on the balcony, watching the waves… It didn’t even matter if I was feeling too ill to get to the beach. The funny thing was, I experienced none of that Oh-I-feel-so-much-better-near-the-ocean “locations effect” that so many people with ME report. If anything, I was taken down a notch by the wind, the marine smell, bonfire smoke at night, trying to manage my temperature fluctuations etc. Plus, there were, of course, a few difficulties for my sensitive system (a house on stilts that shook so violently, I couldn’t sleep, overwhelming bleach smell in the bathroom, strongly chlorinated tap water, too many stairs), but it was definitely worth it.

Over four months ago, I wrote a Love letter to my sons as a preamble to the big post I intended to write about the coast trip and then, of course, never got around to writing it. I’m struggling at the moment (this post has taken me a week to put together), so I’m going to let the photos do the talking.

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Half the house packed in the car, ready to go.

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ROAD TRIP!

This was the first night we arrived. A beautiful crescent moon welcomed us to the coast.

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Some days were overcast…

… with dramatic evenings.

Some days were glorious…

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…with breathtaking sunsets (taken from the balcony).

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The beach is exhausting. 😀

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The couple next door got married on the dune in front of our house. I wound up talking to them the day we left because I wanted to send them the photos I took and, in a bizarre coincidence, it turned out the bride had been suffering with a similar illness as mine, had tried many of the same treatments, knew all the same doctors. We both got tears in our eyes. It was a surprisingly beautiful thing to talk to someone so freely *in person, not on the internet*, without having to explain anything.

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The flag on the left is where they were wed.

———————————————

We had no plans to go again this year, but our best friends wound up renting the house next door to the one we had in June, so, at the beginning of this month and at the very last minute, we decided to join them. I’ve gotten worse the past few months, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to participate as much as I would like to (the first night they all played cards and had drinks, while I was in the other house, resting. The second night they had a bonfire on the beach, while I was inside, resting), but there were wonderful moments of normalcy: Z. chatting with me over morning tea, without the time-pressure of a planned visit; my dogs’ excitement when they saw Aunt Z. and Uncle J. on the beach — missed members of our extended pack; watching their family fly kites on the beach; colouring with sweet Anna while she talked my ear off more than she ever has before; eating dinner at a table with a group of friends, with conversation, laughing and music playing in the background (<~ this most of all: just hanging out amid all the normal sounds, feeling part of a group); and the social time my husband got, just hanging with friends he hasn’t seen properly in years.

The only downside was my dogs are showing their age much more now than they were even four months earlier. I couldn’t use my scooter as much as last time because they simply didn’t have the stamina to walk distances and were both limping after our first short excursion. The last — and warmest — day, Bowie didn’t even get out of the car for more than a minute. He was pooped. And Riley just sat next to me like a sentry, wondering why I was lying on the sand. I fear it really might have been the last hurrah on the beach, which makes me even happier that I pushed myself to go and create new memories.

The boys were thrilled to be back!

Our best friends frolicking. 🙂

Bowie and sweet Anna flying a kite.

One day was dark and brooding and that night it stormed with 50 mph winds.

Another day was sunny and clear.

 

Small steps with payback… But new memories and happy dogs are everything.

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19 thoughts on “2016 Beach memories: Pictures worth 20,000 words.

  1. i am so so happy for you & i have tears in my eyes because i understand….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do what you can, as long as you can. The memories will stay in your photos.

    Just got back from a beach vacation, and am exhausted – hubby is, too, and daughter has a bad cold – but the vacation was wonderful.

    We should have skipped the trip back! CFS is a bad thing to take on vacation, but we hadn’t gone anywhere in two years. And it was daughter’s and middle son’s first trip to the Riviera Maya.

    I hope I’ll be better soon – it’s been a week already.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alicia, I’m thrilled for you! After 2 years, what a precious thing to share with your family. I’m sending you healing energy and hoping you don’t catch that cold. Thank you for the encouragement. X

      Like

      • Thanks, Elizabeth. I’m hoping what I have is NOT the cold, but some minor stomach thing (I’ve been okay, but not entirely so, and though maybe it was just too much rich food), because the spouse has something, too.

        Isn’t it horrible to hope you’re sick, instead of the other?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. marilyna1 says:

    Very beautiful post, Elizabeth – well done, the living and the recording!
    Thankyou for sharing this joyous and poignant journey Xx

    Like

  4. Jackie says:

    What gorgeous photos! I especially love the “glorious” blue sky photo. I’m so proud of you, and filled with joy for you! I too have a husband who does all the loading, and it’s the best. Yay for thoughtful, helpful husbands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jackie! I’m glad you mentioned that photo because I almost didn’t include it, thinking it had no subject, so might be boring. But I’m sure people’s eyes glaze over after the twentieth dog photo. 😉
      I’m so glad you have a devoted (and able-bodied) husband, too. I can’t imagine where I’d be without mine. X

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan says:

    Wonderful post, wonderful photos. Thank you for sharing this. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stan and Heather Robinson says:

    Dear ‘Dear’,

    Thank you for sharing the beauty in your soul in the posting of your thoughts and photos.

    The latter are very beautiful with such balance of shape & colour.

    What you are experiencing must all so hard but you show that there is still so much beauty to be enjoyed and that it actually becomes more precious in the hardship … and worth the effort to enjoy and see others enjoying.

    What a blessing for you and your new friend, the bride, to be able to share on the same issues!

    We are experiencing one of those nature ‘housecleaning’ times of year with high winds clearing faded leaves and needles and sometimes branches from the trees. The colours and shapes in the sky and ocean are so changeable depending on time of day, thickness and type of clouds, amount of activity in the ocean, and such a contrast to the brassiness of the various colours in the remaining leaves. The noise at times be a little too invigorating for the nerves.

    Don’t bother responding.

    I look forward to your next post.

    Thanks again,

    Heather R.

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jak says:

    Absolutely gorgeous photos 🙂 I’m so thrilled you managed to go – food for the soul, even if it makes the rest of you feel crap-o-la with the effort! x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The pictures of the dogs were nice. Hearing you laugh, which I have never done. A gift.

    And meeting somebody who ‘gets it’, in such a ‘random’ circumstance (perhaps not random at all, but more complex than we can explain). Wonderful!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. william picon says:

    IF you have not read Briggs Protocol please do very interested and explained a ton to me.

    Like

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