Saturday, October 15, 2011

There is a ladder up from the abyss

Dear friends,

I know all of you have been very concerned about our family, and especially our son Jaye. I'm here to update you. Since my last post, there has been tremendous improvement. Jaye (and Kelly, too) has been responding to therapy in a positive way. He is laughing a little when he talks about Lauren, remembering good times with her, and is able to think about her in a way that he wasn't before. Of course, the sadness and heartache will never completely go away, but that he is able to talk about her without breaking down is a huge step in his healing. I'm not naive; I know there are times when he is alone that he relapses, but now he is able to pull himself out of it relatively quickly. I also believe that he has become more accepting of the fact that they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he had no control over that.

We felt confident enough in his recovery, that we were able to take our planned camping trip to northern Michigan to see the beautiful fall color, and it has been spectacular. This is our first trip here, but I know it won't be our last. We've fallen in love with the Lake Leelanau region and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We made our plans months ago, but we were right on in the timing for peak color.

I want to apologize for my lack of attention to your blogs, especially considering how wonderful you all have been to me. You are good and loyal friends. I will get back to them someday. I hope it won't be long. I will have a lot more time as the cold weather sets in and keeps me indoors. I will leave you with a little of the beauty of northern Michigan in autumn.

Love, Susan

The view from our campsite at Lake Leelanau RV Park.

Young turkeys crossing the road. They joined a huge flock of thirty or more.

One of the many vineyards in the area...Crooked Maple Vineyard.

The birch trees are everywhere, and the bark is outstanding against the fall color.

From atop Sleeping Bear Dunes, looking out to Big Glen Lake.

And, of course, you know this is a milkweed pod. It's hard to believe this sand could support the diverse vegetation.

From atop Sleeping Bear Dunes, looking toward Betsie Point in Lake Michigan. It is a 450-ft. drop to the water.

No explanation needed.

An inlet in Omena, on Grand Traverse Bay.

A funky little airport/park, where the airstrip is grass, and there is no hangar, only tie-downs.

At Grand Traverse Lighthouse...the wind was 50 mph, and the waves were fast and furious.

Nearly big enough for surfing, but kinda scary.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse. The flag was flying half-mast to honor National Fallen Firefighters.

Historic Fishtown in Leland, Michigan

Again, Historic Fishtown

Waves breaking on the seawall in Leland, Michigan


Wanda..... said...

Northern Michigan seems to have been a wonderful place to provide an interval of rest and restoration for you, Susan. Wishing Jaye and all of your family continued healing and peaceful comfort in the sweet memories of Lauren.

Dutchbaby said...

Oh Susan, this is fantastic news. It will be a long road to replace all those feelings of guilt, and anger I suppose, but I am buoyed that he has taken the brave step to seek professional treatment.

You are wise to go through with your planned trip. I imagine that the beauty you are encountering has healing effects for all who see it. My neighbor is visiting the colors in Michigan through Vermont during these two weeks. I sent her this link:

You may find it useful too.

Thank you for sharing the good news and for showing us these gorgeous images.

steviewren said...

I'm happy to read that things are getting better for your son and that you and hubby were able to renew your spirits on your camping trip. The photos are beautiful.

VaNeSsA said...

I love you!

Natalie said...

This is welcome news, heartening.
What courage you all have, even when it must seem otherwise... (((hugs)))
Your trip looks amazing. I can feel the bracing wind, and through your beautiful pictures I am transported. Thank you for sharing these.

Ruth said...

It is awfully good of you to let us know that Jaye (and Kelly, too) is doing better. I'm positive that this is much a result of you and David, and your incredible love and support at every level.

Oh I love seeing these gorgeous photos! You already know how I feel about that part of my state and world, and to know that you are enjoying it, even in this misty weather, is the best. Upstate New York Vermont, New Hampshire, they have nothing on "upstate Michigan"! Lake George or Lake Placid may be bigger than Lake Leelenau, but I see plenty to enjoy. Have fun as you move up to Charlevoix now!

Barb said...

So glad you posted, Susan. I've been thinking of you. Your family's loss of sweet Lauren is so massive, Im sure only a great deal of time will blunt the sorrow and pain. I'm happy that you were able to enjoy the fall scenery - the lake looks like the sea in that wind.

Kathryn said...

I'm so relieved. I've thought of you and your family often.

Deborah said...

Susie, this is kindness itself for you to give news of Jaye. I have seen little signs of him here and there on Facebook and interpreted that positively.
I'm very glad you and David were able to get away. You need to fill up your cups, the both of you. The pictures are wonderful, and as I began to realize when Ruth posted pictures of Michigan some time back, it really is a beautiful place. I had no idea - I used to think of it as such an industrial place, mostly because my only knowledge of it was Detroit.
So good to see you here.

Kathleen said...

I'm happy to hear that your son is doing better and that you are all finding a way out of the abyss. I can't imagine what you all have been through or how one keeps going but I am glad that you are all taking it one day at a time and living your life as you can. My prayers will continue for all of you. I'm glad you made your trip and hope that the lovely scenery was something you were able to enjoy. I will keep praying and keep hoping that you will all have more good days than bad ones in the months to come.

CottageGirl said...

So very glad you could make this trip. The scenery looks amazing ... Great photography there, girl.

So glad to hear that Jaye and Kelly are doing better.

Safe journeys and peace to you ... My prayers continue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. It makes me want to visit that part of the country. It's great that you got away for a bit. It's always helpful to escaped your normal routine for a good dose of nature.

I'm so glad to read that Jaye is feeling better. I know this is only the beginning of a long journey, but the first step is a big one. Wishing you, Jaye and your family peace and continued healing.

Oliag said...

Reading this I not only felt happy that Jaye and Kelly are finding some way to get through the pain but I also felt warmed with the realization that you are thinking of us in the blogosphere and easing our minds when you have so much to deal with yourself. You are really a loving soul Susan:)

Road trips are healing in themselves I think and this sure is a beautiful trip! Your photos are beyond gorgeous! Love that gaggle of turkeys:) Northern Michigan surely compares to Northern New England in its autumn beauty! Take care


Cindy said...

So glad to hear this news! You and your family continue to be in my thoughts.

Your photos of fall are incredible! I'm so glad you got to get away and enjoy the season! Much love to you!

Judy said...

Thanks for those awesome pictures, they really lifted my spirits today- cold and cloudy day for me.

I'm so happy to hear that I little bit of light is shining through the dark pain. Sending love and peace your way!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that the healing has begun Susan! Your family has been in my prayers.
Whe I read that you had been to northern MI I was ready to type that I had been there for the 1st time in July BUT then I saw that you had a picture of the reason we went up! The little airport (the Woolsey Memorial Airport) is named after Jason's great-grandfather. You can read my post here.

We actually parked our RV there for 2 nights :)

California Girl said...

Hi Susan, happy to hear the encouraging news.

Your photographs are lovely. What a wonderful place to camp each year. It looks like a peaceful respite from all you've endured.

Keep us posted when you feel up to it.

shoreacres said...

I'm so happy to find this update, and to know that life is mending itself, one stitch at a time. I've thought of you and your family so often - how kind of you to give us an update.

I had to smile - I've been sitting here with my wonderful catalogue from American Spoon Foods in Petosky, making out my wish-list. Apricots from Leelanau on there, as well as other treats. Like others, I've seen Michigan only as Detroit and some suburbs. Blogging has helped to dispel such silly notions - one day I'll get there!

ds said...

Thank you so much for the update, Susan! It warms me to know that healing is happening for your family. I have thought of you all so often.

So glad you are able to take this trip; what a beautiful area. Soul-quenching.
((( )))

The Bumbles said...

Stacy's comment proves just how small a world this blogosphere is!

Thanks for the update - I think of Lauren often when I gaze down on our Sammy. I am always in awe of the strength of humanity in the face of tragedy. Your family will thrive - I know it.

Please read "Cleo: The Cat Who Mended A Family" if you have not already - I found it a very honest and touching book about the survival of the very horror your son and his wife have been through.

Kathleen said...

Just stopping by to let you know that I continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

Sherry Sutherby said...

Welcome to my neck of the woods, northern lower Michigan. I share your sentiment about the beauty and wonder of this area. I just stumbled upon your Blog. Needless to say, my prayers go out to your entire family. Blessings to all.

Anonymous said...

Susan,I'm thinking of you and your family on this Thanksgiving Day. Wishing you peace and comfort. All my best. Bella

Kathryn said...

Still thinking of you, and wishing your family well.

Jeanie said...

Hi, Susan,

I am the one who has been neglectful, as you can tell by my late visit to this stunning color. Isn't "fishtown" the best? You really nailed it at the perfect date.

I've been thinking of you often, knowing that we're coming up on the holiday season and that time is always challenging for families who have lost a child in that year (or maybe any year.)

On my second blog, Chopsticks and String, I have some posts related to grieving, including some for the holidays. I don't know if there's anything in this set of seven posts (some holiday oriented, some not) that might be comforting or useful. Here's the url to the grief posts and they're on the sidebar, too.

Please know that you and your family are in my heart during this season in particular.

shoreacres said...

I've been thinking of you so much - this will be my first Christmas without my mother, and it's made me so aware of how long it takes a bruised heart to heal.

Know that I'm thinking of you and your family, and keeping you in my prayers.

Natalie said...

You and your family visit my thoughts every day. I don't know what else to say, because I know this must be a painful time. I continue to pray for you, to hope that healing is giving some relief.

California Girl said...

Merry Christmas Susan!

Judy said...

Thinking of you.... this difficult time of year- when loss is still fresh.
I hope you can feel the love I want to share in this quick note... wishing you only good times next year.

Jeanie said...

I have been thinking of you this holiday season, knowing how different it is for you. You've often been in my thoughts. May 2012 help you heal in every way.

Kathleen said...

Just stopping by to let you know that I am still praying for you and your family and hope that you are all doing okay.