However, they went on to offer to come with me to help with Lucy (the joke was on them later!) and so that's how our first annual beach trip was born. It was great fun, even with lots of sun, partly because we were early enough in the year to still have cooler days, which I appreciate and because I had friends with me. Lucy wouldn't do what any of us wanted her to - she wouldn't even walk with my friends without Sophie or me. But it was still fun. The next year we repeated the trip, just moving next door to a smaller house that was still big enough for us. The third year I decided to leave Lucy at home and just take Sophie. I could never have known that would be Sophie's last trip, as she would die unexpectedly a month later. I will always be glad she was an only dog on that trip. The fourth year there were only two humans, as one friend was gone to the Holy Lands. And there was only Lucy. I had Ellie Rose at the time, but she was only about 6 weeks old and her brother was also still with me. So, both puppies stayed with their other brothers and sisters at another foster mama's place. And now it's our fifth year and once again there are three people and two dogs - back where we started. Ellie Rose is so very much like Sophie, although not as well behaved. Lucy is better than she used to be, but still has her stubborn streak. The friends are much the same!
Today my friends are outlet mall shopping. Instead of going with them, I stayed here to enjoy the "bad" weather. Getting out in the weather was perfect and immediately brought to mind the feelings I had which made me desire a beach getaway four plus years ago. I had the girls on a long leash and even let them go a few times to chase birds. The second time they ran a little too far for my comfort, but had stopped to sniff, so I was able to catch up with them (and deliver a small sermon, which they probably couldn't hear, because of the wind - I'm sure they were thankful for that!).
Back at the beach house, both girls are pancaked and I can sit here and relish this day. It may have taken four years and five trips, but God knew I needed exactly this kind of beach day to close the grief circle. No tears have been shed because I rarely have those moments (I said rarely, not never), but I truly feel the completion of something that began four years ago.