I've been silent for a few days 'cause we took the weekend and got off the hill. Friday night was spent with April's family, eating some great Mexican food and playing Wii games with all the cousins, etc. Then Saturday/Sunday was spent in Monterey with April's sister and fam. We did the Aquarium, Buba Gumps, a little local chowder joint, Denis the Menace Park, and much more.
The time with the family on Friday night was a challenge. It was our first time back with all of them since after Elyse's memorial service and it was hard to be there with the entire family and not have Elyse. It was super hard to try to play games and have fun, just knowing how we felt in the depths of our hearts. She just should have been with us. She should have been sitting in the high chair. She should have been crawling around on the floor. She should have been crying when I tried to put her to bed with all the other noise in the house. But she wasn't, and we had to move forward, and it was hard. I think we learned through it that there are going to be some challenges ahead as to what it looks like when the whole family gets together. We want to be able to cry together and focus on the memories of our little girl, but of course we know we can't dwell and that it's OK to have fun, laugh and create new memories. It's just all so fresh.
Our trip to Monterey was so bittersweet. A youth pastor in town graciously hooked us up at the InterContinental Clement. This is a 4-5 Star Hotel right on Cannery Row and it's simply amazing. Ocean view. Huge room. All the amenities that make you feel like you make way more money that you do. We arrived to check in 4 hours early. When the bellman heard our room number, he said, "You're the Carey's. I've been expecting you! (Turns out he grew up with the YP, and was the one that arranged the crazy deal we got on the hotel.) He took the next 15 minutes to take the most personal care possible of us. Did we have Aquarium tickets? What, no? OK, here's my pass. Use it. Here's an envelope that was delivered for you. In it, a $40 certificate for breakfast at First Awakenings, from "your family in Christ." At that point, on Facebook, I posted, "Overwhelmed by the kindness of God's people." It truly was overwhelming to see the body of Christ reaching out to us in such a difficult time.
Next stop was the Aquarium. Wow, we weren't ready for this. People everywhere. Two hours of chaos. Lots of babies Elyse's age. Yeah, it was tough for April and me. We were constantly holding on to Peter and he was constantly wanting to run here and there with his cousins to see things. We were like the paranoid parents that couldn't let their kid out of their sight. Challenging time. But we'd get some naps later and would spend some quality time with April's sister Sara and her husband Eric and their two boys. They'd simply let us rest when we needed to, and get out when we needed to, talk when we needed to, take Peter when we needed time alone. It ended well, but again it was hard. We just weren't ready to start doing life things without Elyse. But we knew we needed to. And that's where we are... moving forward without moving on.
More to come on what God did in our hearts Sunday night.