Junebug and her dad loved to fly kites at the beach in Miami where her grandmother lived. Junebug was a very sure-of-herself tomboy and the trips to Miami in her boys swim trunks were the most magical. The smell of the beach, the palm trees, the fancy condo building, the doting older women who brought her gifts and her lovely grandmother whose hands tanned the most golden shade of brown. It was there on these trips alone with her dad that she could pretend that she was the one and only rather than the youngest of a rambunctious five.
I imagine my tears for my dad which were hard to find being the salted water a kid finds at the beach when digging a hole in the sand. Maybe that it why on our recent family trip to Miami in December a few months ago, I became so curious about this place I visited as a child. I wanted to find sweet memories and buried salty tears but it was all lost in the era of an older Miami washed over with the hip and trendy wave of the 21st century.
I did not realize on this trip to Miami that I was about to re-visit a different place in my childhood. It makes sense now why I was so consumed with finding this magical place on our vacation. It would have been so much nicer to stumble upon that rather than the tragedy I would two days after our return.
Sometimes I feel self-conscious writing and sharing something that is so sad. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Junebug rubbed ice cream on her face in first grade to make her friends laugh and distract from her broken heart. At age 45, my longing to distract so I can fit in and belong is still a pull for me. But as an adult, I also have a desire to find comfort in my truth and aloneness.
True grieving is a hard path. While others can walk parts of it beside you, ultimately it is yours to walk alone when you choose to do so. I think it a worthy path to take because as I will write more about later, not taking this path as a child came at a cost to Junebug.
Writing this blog is helping me stay strong... Junebug Strong. Thank you for reading!
Below is a photo of me and my grandmother and the song is "Pretty Mary K" by one of Jay's favorites, Elliot Smith. His grandmother's maiden name was Mary Karr and this song always reminded him of his very pretty grandmother we all loved so much.