I have lost count of days…not sure the exact number anymore. We’ve been on our traveling journey for four months. We are settled at the Outer Banks for now. We have been here since before Thanksgiving and can’t seem to leave. It’s beautiful and mostly deserted and very unpredictable. Fires are a frequent occurrence here and last week we lost power after a transformer in the campground blew up and caught on fire. We rarely have phone service or internet because of the frequent storms, heavy rains and wind gusts. So my phone is no longer in service and posting updates can’t happen without Internet. The roads close often because the wind blows the sand onto the road and there is a lot of flooding when it rains. There are two ways off the island, the road (just one) and the ferry. Our path to both has been blocked more than once. To be honest, the unpredictability and fragile state of this place make us feel at home. It’s how life has been for us, how we feel inside…so we fit here. All of that aside, the clear, sunny days (when we have them) and the brilliant, starry night skies are so peaceful. The sunsets fill the entire sky and we can see the breathtaking colors to the east over the ocean and west over the sound at the same time because the island is so thin at parts. Of course, to me, every pink and purple sunset is a gift from Cede and Claire and here we see them often. The beauty of this place is a glimpse of heaven for us.

The wildlife here is so up close and personal. We can often reach out and touch it…sea turtles, dolphins, pelicans, swans. We’ve been fishing a few times with the kids. The first time the girls caught seven sharks. The smallest we could hold in our hand, the largest was as big as Brady. It was really cool to see them so close. The last time we went fishing, we caught a pelican…really. He flew up to Steve while he was cutting bait and, after running around making sure no one had any fish in their pockets or anywhere on their person, ended up staying with us all day, following the kids around like a little puppy and eating all our bait. We named him Fredrick, because that’s what Cede would have done.

The last few days have been hard, even more than the usual pain of living without Cede. Saturday was Claire’s heaven day. Even though it’s been three years, I still hear Cede’s screams of pain and disbelief from that day in my head just like she’s sitting beside me again. Watching my child ache for her best little friend was unbearable, as is that memory, still three years later. I still don’t understand. None of it makes any sense…it won’t till heaven. All our love and prayers to Claire’s family. She is loved and missed everyday.

Thank you to those of you who keep us in your thoughts and prayers and keep Cede close to your heart. Thank you for telling us, for still being there for us. It means everything.

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