It's been a year since my dear mother-in-law passed away. A year of us missing her, remembering her, wishing to tell her things, smiling at stories and memories and videos of her.
A year of us realizing that we will live with heartache this side of heaven.
So this past weekend, on the anniversary of her death, we decided to remember her and honor her with little things she loved.
Saturday morning, we arrived at Lake Michigan in the eight o'clock hour, when they had finished combing the sand and there were plenty of parking spots and space to spread out.
It was warm, but breezy and so long sleeves were comfortable and the boys were so eager to just play in the sand. My father-law-law helped Cooper dig a big hole in the sand, and Cooper walked back and forth, carrying buckets of water from the lake.
We had snacks and we sat and talked and just before we left, while everyone else hiked up a dune and ran down it, I cuddled some (more) with Finn and savored his sweet, sleepy smiles.
Besides the beach, over the weekend we went to church, per usual (oh, how she loved our church!) and visited her grave on a rainy morning. We enjoyed a rendition of one of her signature desserts, piping hot coffee, and time together, talking about her and what she loved.
I'm praising God that she's spent an entire year in heaven with her Savior, and looking forward to when we get to join her someday.
Last year, when I wrote about her passing, I mentioned her love of daisies. And very often, I've written about how joy so frequently coexists with grief. On Saturday, our first daisy of the year in our front garden opened up, making me smile, alongside missing Karen, a bright spot of one more little thing she loved.
As I mentioned in this recent post, sorrow and joy often intermingle. While my family was visiting recently, we got the news that Nicholas' grandpa passed away.
With the changing of the seasons, I'm reminded that sorrow and joy can exist alongside each other, and they often do.