Saturday, June 22, 2019

June 15-22, 2019 Holden Beach Family Vacay

June 15-22, 2019
work puzzles,
go to the ice cream store,
watch the sunrises and sunsets.....
and repeat.
Before actually crossing over that bridge to the beautiful Holden Beach, several stops were made.

We arrived at our designated beach house, threw on beach attire, and made our way to the deserted Saturday afternoon "beach crowd". Sticking our toes in the ocean and playing in the sand seemed to be first on the agenda....before shopping for food!

In a matter of moments, our family of 8 settled into RELAX MODE! Cloud coverage, to clear skies,t o beach and pool time, to gorgeous sunset, to full moon.... all demanding photo sessions,  we were excited for the week ahead!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday........ all of the days started intermingling with each other.
Each of us did our own thing.
Some of us slept more than others.
Some of our group ran early morning runs.
We all did our fair share of reading!
And we all took turns cooking, and ordering pizzas.
Some of us went to nearby Wilmington, and others went to the near by zoo.
Me? I was thrilled to spend time with my camera, learning new things, like multiple exposures, and practicing silhouettes.. My models were ready available!

We read, played card games, and worked puzzles.

EVERYONE went to the ice cream store
......... at least once!

Shown above is the little yellow house next to the point, which boarders Oak Island. The public beach here is beautiful, and very wide.
Our house was named COOL FISH.... Perfect for viewing sunsets, and sunrises.... complete with elevator and pool. 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 decks overlooking marsh views, 1 deck overlooking street/ocean. Click on link ☝ to view photo of our accommodations.

Until next year! We managed to get a little sun, a lot of sleep, and worked in some much needed DOWN time.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

June 9, 2019 Remembering Cousin Eddie Through Abby's Eyes

June 9, 2019
"Just like that, a year has gone by. There were days the pain of grief made it hard to breathe, and find the energy to do anything. Other times, loss was a distant memory and life seemed back to normal.  Such is the journey that all those who love deeply must endure. Sharing life with Eddie taught me many valuable lessons and connected me with life-long friends. His death, rocked my world and changed me profoundly. I expect there will be more to learn as I continue to celebrate life, and honor his legacy moving forward. Today, I heed his one advice - no pouting! Instead, let it be a day filled with love, gratitude, and happy remembrances of a life well-lived. Love you my dearest!" ~~ written by cousin Ed Hamilton's wife Abby Verdillo Hamilton. June 9, 2019

A  good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you were born. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. Ecclesiastes 7:1, 3, NLT

Abby and my cousin Ed were married on a Monday, June 4, 2018, in a hospital room, knowing that his time on earth was short.
Abby's monthly/bimonthly updates on social media, since his 'home-going", a year ago, have been a poignant reminder of the passing of time.
It has been painful, wretched and piercing to read..... but more profoundly, Abby has shared her grounded Christian beliefs.
She chose to share the precious moments with the world, even in the midst of her grief.
She has been a tower of strength to all that know her and to those who have also experienced grief.
She is the epitome example of how we all should live our lives.
Thank you Abby for making the world a better place to live.
For some extraordinary, phenomenal reason, God brought us together this past year.
Could it possibly be that I desired her friendship and companionship?
We bonded.
We shared.
We cried together.
We talked into the wee hours.
And we laughed.
And we traveled together.
And ate together.

Abby writes on June 4, 2019:
"Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together." Matthew 19:6 ~~ Remembering a most special day a year ago surrounded by dearest family and friends. It was a bright ray of sunshine in the midst of a dark day with difficult news.

A few pics of that special day:

This year, Abby revisited many of the places that she and Eddie had shared throughout their relationship.
Abby writes on May 24, 2019.
"Couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day out in the woods. Happy to be returning to my and Eddie's favorite place after missing our annual pilgrimage last year. I was rewarded with this magnificent view from the summit of Max Patch - it was incredibly hard to leave!#ATadventures #natureishealing #alwayswithEddie #thewoodsarecalling

Abby writes May 9, 2019:
"Around this time every year, Eddie would start making preparations to section hike the AT. He would inevitably find a magical spot like this that makes the worries of the world just fade away. That's where I see him in my mind's eyes as we enter month 11 of his absence. Content and peacefully soaking in the beauty and peaceful surroundings. Until we see each other again, save me a spot next to you!"

As one can hardly NOT notice, Abby placed an uplifting spin on a heartbreaking reality.  We all could learn a few things from Eddie.....and Abby!
Eddie's love for nature, especially FERNS, was executed to a T within his living quarters. He was gifted with an interior decorator's eye.  Abby has continued to create her outside living area as if Cousin Eddie had left written instructions!
Abby writes April 29, 2019 :
"Today (and this past weekend) was spent at home working outside like Eddie would've done this time of the year. Lots of hard work and I can almost hear him giving me instructions to make sure everything is done just right. I think he would've been pleased with the outcome. #thefernsareup #wateringbegins #illbeoutbackifyneedme "

Almost monthly, Abby would pay tribute to the burial grounds, placing flowers and flags around the markers of  Eddie and other members of the Hamilton/Trenor family.

Eddie was the photographer that I hope to be one day.😍😍😍
His portfolio was extensive.
Many of his photographs were shared this year.
Below πŸ‘‡  are the vibrant colors of spring on display at Burkes Garden, Va

And here πŸ‘‡is a fall photo of Eddie's from 2017.
  "He was always on the hunt for the perfect shot."
I personally loved seeing the world through his eyes.

April 9, 2019 Abby writes:
"Teacher and student are reunited this month as Eddie's long time friend and beloved mentor, Buddy Baker, hung up his early apron to take his place in heaven just a few days ago. I'm sure these two kitchen comrades warmly greeted each other with a pat on the shoulder and their usual 'How you doin' Chief?" #missing Eddie #10monthstoday #OAkitchenchiefs

Eddie's love, passion, and commitment to the Boy Scouts was exceptional, and unparalleled.
His devotion to the kitchen crew never wavered!
Abby not only loved her man, she loved her Eddie's family.
 March 23, 2019, Abby writes:
"Remembering a dearly loved man, today, my father-in-law, "Pop Craig Hamilton, Sr. who is sure to be giving a big thumbs up as he's celebrating another birthday in heaven! This one is from 2011. It is one of my favorite pictures and birthday memories with the Hamilton boys over the years. What a great time it was"

March 10, 2019 Abby writes:
"Once upon a time, a little boy was born, who,  many years later would grow up to be the love of my life. He had the same kind eyes and warm smile back then that continues to brighten my world today. Happy 1st birthday in heaven, my darling. Until we see each other again, save a piece of cake for me..."

March 9, 2019 Abby writes:
"Stovetop finally makes it back to Ocracoke! A short visit as we reach the 9th month since Eddie's passing, and celebrate his birthday weekend. This was his special place for over three decades, and he missed going on his annual trip by just a few weeks last year. I'm honored to be here like a fly on the wall, enjoying a time of quiet reflection as I visit his favorite haunts and see old friends."

February 9, 2019 Abby writes:
It's February, heart month, and notably, the 8th month of Eddie's absence. If you happen to drive along 220 and spy a bright red heart on top of a parking garage, take a moment to remember the man who brought the "Carilion heart" to life, and the one who will always have my heart!"
Article below from The Roanoke Times in February 2013 accompanying this amazing photo by Stephanie Klein-Davis:
Ed Hamilton, who has worked for Carilion Clinic for almost 41 years, along with the Strategic Development Department he is part of, came up with a concept to erect a giant Valentine heart atop Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Hamilton did the prototype drawing and a 30'x30' frame was originally constructed in 2011 from conduit and galvanized pipe with steel cable. Roanoke's blustery February winds took their toll, however, bending and breaking sections of the frame. Hamilton jokes that he suffered from "four broken hearts" during a two-week span. Carilion's maintenance and engineering department, which is responsible for securing and maintaining the heart, was able to make repairs and keep the heart shining that first year. This year, the heart is supported by a new, sturdier frame constructed by Budget Signs that is designed to withstand gale force winds with a resistance up to 80 mph hitting the grid. The heart itself is constructed of LED Flex Neon, from a company based in Indianapolis, Ind., "LED Rope Lights and More." The outer red band is 97.5-feet-long. The inner band is 95 feet long. The amount of energy to keep it illuminated from sunset to sunrise for the month of February as a Valentine's decoration (and the added reminder that it is Heart Health month,) is the equivalent of burning four 60-watt light bulbs each night, according to Hamilton.

Does anyone reading this blog notice that Abby is sharing JOY in her GRIEVING?
January 9, 2019 Abby writes:
"A January memory from a year ago as we were ushering in 2018. Seven months gone today, and missed every single day."

Christmas celebrations were carried out as Eddie was fondly remembered. Stories of Eddie and Darryle made for a full heart.

Abby's work friends surrounded her with  much love, compassion, and girl time.
December 9, 2018, Abby writes:
"As the snow gently falls outside, I sit quietly in the warmth, reflecting on what has now been 6 months. I soothe myself with winter memories from years past. Eddie loved the stillness of nature in the winter time. I have no doubt he would've gone on a snow day outing to take pictures somewhere (before it was spoiled by footprints or tire tracks!) with me as a reluctant sidekick taking B-roll."

Don't you just love these moments that Abby has shared.πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€
What's not to love.πŸ’“
November 9, 2018 Abby writes:
Long week filled with ups and downs, and ending with a full-blown migraine. meanwhile out in the woods somewhere.....

October 9, 2018 Abby writes:
"All I know from my own experience is that the more loss we feel the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means we had something worth grieving for. The ones I'm sorry for are the ones that go through life not even knowing what grief is." - Frank O'Conner
"Gray skies and gloomy rain, nature seems to know that the constant ache just stings a little more sharply today as we enter another month without you."

September 9, 2018 Abby writes:
Entering the 3rd month since Eddie's passing today. Fittingly, this weekend was the Order of the Arrow fall function at Camp Powhatan. His dear friends working that weekend in the kitchen crew held a special ceremony at their vigil site to honor their beloved brother yesterday. Thank you Brian Corell, Steve, Larry, Johnny, Don, Susan, Wimpy, Roy and Larry for letting me be a part of it. You are so terribly missed, but cheers to another month in heaven, GISCHIHAN WULINAQUAT (he who makes clear visions)!
For he who serves his fellows, is of all fellows greatest.

Abby allowed Eddie's dream of hiking Katahdin come true! 
September 4, 2018 Abby writes: 
"After the exhilarating hike up Katahdin last week, it was time to explore the coast of Maine -where the land meets the sea. This was something Eddie and I had planned to do together so I brought his boots for company everywhere I went!"
August 31, 2018 Abby writes:
"Eddie had been planning to finish up the AT with his hiking buddy, Grateful, at the end of August 2018. I assured him during our last few conversations at the hospital in June that he (Stovetop) would get to climb Katahdin, and reach the northern terminus of the AT. We ahd already discussed me joining up to summit with him and Lee since finishing their last section hike. I followed through on those plans this week to fulfill a promise I made before his death. Yesterday (8/30/18), at 12:55pm, Grateful and Chop-chop (that"s me) reached the end of the AT by climbing the highest peak in Maine. I had Eddie's hiking gear with me, and I could hear him walking me through each rock scramble, and encouraging me every step of the way. This one's for you Stovetop!

August 9, 2018 Abby writes:
Two months missing The Most Interesting Man in Roanoke.

July 21, 2018 Abby writes:
"Thank you to the precious folks on both sides of the family for making time to today's picnic celebrating Eddie's "40 days" in heaven. We missed a lot of you in the group picture. I know Eddie would've been so tickled seeing all of us together in that beautiful park setting, and enjoying the spread of delicious fool!. What a special time, and a glorious summer memory! Love you all. "

"Real grief is not healed by time... If time does anything it deepens our grief. The longer we live, the more fully we become aware of who (he) was for us, and the more intimately we experience what (his) love meant for us. Real, deep love is, as you know, very unobtrusive, seemingly easy and obvious, and so present that we take it for granted. Therefore, it is often only in retrospect - or better, in memory - that we fully realize its power and depth. Yes, indeed, love often makes itself visible in pain."~ Henry Nouwen, Dutch Catholic priest, author and theologian.
"Been thinking of my darling Eddie and reflecting on this passage from today's devotional as I mark his first month in heaven. Celebrating what his love meant to me with some of his favorite things: red tulips, ferns, and the flag."
So............. in the midst of Cousin Eddie's loss, I find that I am continually filled with JOY. My grief repeatedly brings a picture to the forefront of my mind and I realize just how fleeting our time is on earth..... it's a vapor.
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.
I know that with each day we are moving closer to eternity. 
And that produces the deepest kind of joy, right in the center of the darkest places. 
Thank you Abby, for sharing your life. 
Thank you for your treasured friendship. 
And thank you for giving the world glimpses of Eddie that only you knew. πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—