In the heart of tragedy you will find a community that embraces the pain, lends support and gently loves you as you drift through grief and sorrow. Days pass and years go by but the grief and pain, though faded, remains.

It is then you recognize how much you rely on that love and support. The calls to see how we are doing and the texts to brighten our days. It is the remembering of milestone dates like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, memorials and random Tuesday’s because sadness comes in waves and never at convenient times. It is the understanding that we will never be the same just as our lives, however normal we try to make it, will always be a skewed version of what it was.

You appreciate the people that continue to stand by you on the day to day.

And that is why saying goodbye to Nana and Papa ,who are our biggest family support as they head home for the winter, is so hard.

Compounding that sadness is the uncertainty of COVID and the political and civil unrest down South. And the fact that, for the first time in a long time, we won’t be able to go see them.

Oh I know that Nana will continue to share … everything and more than once. She will call us and check in daily. But I will miss squeezing that face or having Papa making me “fake “ coffee in the morning or handing me a glass of Amaretto after a hard day of doing nothing.

I also know that our friends will always step up to give us the extra love while they are gone.

I just ask that Nana and Papa’s community of friends that have become family to them make sure they aren’t too lonely, that they don’t head to Costco excessively and that stay as safe as they can.

Because they are so very important to us.

Thanks to Angela Angela Dawn Ellis for making their masks to keep them safe as they travel.