The first vacation I’ve dreaded

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2023

I didn’t want to go.

For the past four years, I’ve avoided Indigo Condos in Florida. July 2018 was the last time my sister Kay and I were there together. Our last trip held no clues that she would die three months later.

Kay and I loved Indigo, and our annual beach trips there began at least 16 years ago. We were always excited to have other family members join us, especially our own children and grandchildren, but we went regardless of who else met us at the beach.

After Kay died, I decided to never return to Indigo. Other things – holidays, birthdays, her grandchildren’s activities – were unavoidable, but Indigo? I could stay clear of there and save money in the process. I closed my heart and refused to discuss it.

A conversation with Kay’s son David challenged my decision. He wanted his children Elizabeth Kay and Hudson to experience the spot on the coast we all love. When I mentioned it to his sister Kerri, she said her son Dylan had just asked if we could all go back.

I knew it was time even though it’s the first vacation I’ve ever dreaded. Kay’s son-in-law Justin designed, and her daughter Brandi produced, the pink shirts that announced our theme – vaKAY mode.

Although everyone couldn’t stay the entire time, Kay’s four children and their families, three of my children and their families, and most of my sister-in-law Vicki’s family met at the beach. We laughed, cried, and retold the stories of the past as new experiences were being churned into memories.

We blended the things Kay loved with a few new experiences and found swimming, hot tub volleyball, whirlpools, handstand exhibitions, seashell hunts, banana boat rides, short beach naps and long beach talks to be both comforting and healing.

I didn’t want to leave.

 

Ronny Michel can be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.