I used to love summer, it was my favourite time of year. Now I dread it, with Bea’s birthday, and the reminder of her death a few weeks later. Last year was miserable. I can’t not acknowledge these days or the pain in this season, but what does one do!?
This year, I have gotten to know some incredible people. Through working with University Christian Ministries, there are a couple of women that I’ve been discipling with more time and intention. As the summer approached, I asked if they would be willing to plan a day for us to just hang out on Bea’s birthday. (I felt like I was asking something too huge, but they actually got kind of excited about it.)
I also had a chance to go camping in Tofino on the anniversary of her death, and in between my brother and I planned an overnight hike on the Juan de Fuca trail (which I’ve been excitedly eyeing for a while, and even purchased a bit of gear for).
It made such a huge difference, through July – even though I knew that hard and sad days were coming, I also had some exciting things to look forward to.
The girls surprised me with a day exploring Denman Island. It was amazing and SO much fun. They were kind, gracious, patient, and basically spent the day focused on caring for me. It was a really good gift. (Also, at the end of the day, another friend initiated me into some local knowledge: strange sound effects with a strange story.)
Then the hiking trip! It was stunningly beautiful, the weather was perfect, my brother is a really good hiking partner, and I was surprised & pleased that I was more capable than I’d thought.
The picture of me & the km marker was just after we had taken an I’m so-tired-I-think-I’ll-just-lay-down-for-a-bit break. It meant we had done about 15 km, and just had 3 left until camp (less than we thought). It was a victory-is-in-sight photo.
It was also a km or so before this happened:
And so I still went to Tofino [by the grace & forbearance of friends who set up my tent, took it down in the rain, opened things, and, well… all the tasks that require 2 hands (which is nearly all of the tasks)]. It was not quite the trip I had hoped for.
All of that said… I was so grateful my brother was with me when I broke my arm. He was calm & capable, which helped a lot. There were also people who showed us the shortcut out (2 or 3 km with a broken arm was manageable, I’m not sure if 12 would have been). They took my pack, and then drove us to the car (who would’ve picked up hitch-hikers like us, in these times?) I was grateful to know that we were headed to a hospital with competent doctors, and that I didn’t have to worry about how much it would cost. And I am grateful that I don’t need surgery as it seemed when I first went in.
And I’m still grateful that, even though all didn’t go as planned, instead of spending July just dreading the difficulty & pain of the coming days, I also had peace and a certain amount of anticipation at building new traditions.
(photo credits: Dhiya Joseph [1st batch], me, Samantha Dunbar [final photo])