From my journal dated August 24, 2002:
People ask me if I’m excited about going to Hawaii. I don’t think the word “excited” is in my vocabulary right now…but I’m looking forward to it. We are all so weary. Going to Hawaii sounds wonderful.
At the time (in 2002), Joe worked for a telecommunications company that handled some of the major hotels, hospitals and businesses in the Puget Sound region. The manager of one of his contracts, The Westin Hotel, offered us employee rates at the Westin Maui if we wanted to get away for a bit. We found great airfares and decided to take him up on the offer.
It was the kindest, most thoughtful gift anyone could have given us at the time. I will forever be grateful to the kind people at the Westin!! We were all so drained and weary. We were worn out, worn thin. Exhausted physically, emotionally, spiritually. I don’t think any of really realized how much we needed something to look forward to, how much we needed a break from our day-to-day lives. Grieving is hard work, and we were just plain weary.
I honestly don’t know how we would have made it through the next six months without this time away. It’s like it took us away from the empty house for a while, away from driving by the accident scene every day, away from people we knew, away from dealing with overwhelming issues every day, away from the loneliness and abandonment we felt. It’s hard to explain. We took our grief with us, but secondary issues weren’t constantly in our faces. Being in a place of such beauty gave us a different focus for a while. It physically took us away from looking at certain difficult things (people, places, events) every day.
Joe and Eric had gone back to work the week after the accident. Jenna and I had gone back to school one week after the accident, and were about to start another year the beginning of fall quarter. We had continued on with what we had to do at the time…on top of dealing with Jason’s death and all the surrounding issues. None of us had ever been to Hawaii before, so it gave us something to look forward to.
It almost felt wrong to be taking a “vacation”, particularly without Jason…especially to place where people think, “Ooohhh, ahhhh…Hawaii!!” We really needed a respite, though, to a place of beauty. It was exactly what we needed at the time.