Monday, August 3, 2015

Sky Love Lanterns for Papa & Andrew

We'd been looking forward to our family vacation at Cape May, New Jersey beach for over half a year now. When we booked our flights and the beach cottage rental, we were on total countdown mode.

In the midst of this planning, we said goodbye to my husband's incredible, sensitive and amazing grandfather, Papa. We hoped he would be there to celebrate family and life with us in the flesh, but he was surely with us in spirit.

In order to remember him and hold him in our presence, I wanted to bring him there to the beach with us, just as we planned. Papa's favorite color is red (so much that he asked Gramie to wear a red dress when he returned home from the war!). I'd been wanting to send a Japanese lantern to the sky for Andrew for years now. My parents had sent one to him last year, but I had yet to experience it myself. Sending a red one up for Papa just seemed like the right thing for the occasion and the perfect opportunity to send one for Andrew. We were at the beach and the landscape would be beautiful.

On the evening of our lantern release, it began to rain during dinner. I had given up hope that we would be lighting them that evening, until the rain stopped as soon as it started. We made the effort to write a few notes to our beloveds and loaded them into the car. Benjamin and Claire had their hands traced on the thin paper while the rest of us (Samantha, Kay, Steve, Ray, Gramie, Benjamin, Claire and I) wrote notes of love.

As we were all piling into our cars to make the approximately 5 mile trip to the Cape May Lighthouse, we saw a full rainbow in the sky. It was present when we arrived, too.

Papa and Andrew were there with us. We could really feel it.

We walked halfway down the beach as Gramie and Kay waited and watched up on more even ground as we lit the lanterns. At first, they weren't catching fire quickly as we'd hoped... but eventually... a minute or so later... Papa's red lantern was ready to take flight. Andrew's lantern followed and there was a glimmer of red and blue in the sky on the beach at sunset on that Thursday evening, July 30, 2015.
Papa's lantern taking flight.
Family of five.
Andrew's lantern taking flight.
Both lanterns here are visible. Papa's is almost exactly center and Andrew's more visible to the right.
The lanterns were incredibly beautiful and so peaceful. We set them off not only near a lighthouse during sunset with a full rainbow in the sky, but about 500 feet from a World War II bunker on the beach. Papa served in WWII and it was just an added piece of warmth to tie into the moment. May Papa and Andrew always feel the love we have for them, deep in our hearts.

8 comments:

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

So beautiful. I love lanterns. I love that You wrote notes and traced the sibs hands. Just beautiful.

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

The notes are so sweet. What a special forever memory..

Brie said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful tribute. Beautiful family.

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Family of five. I love all of this, and I hope so much that they can feel our love.

Krystal Sullivan said... [Reply to comment]

This is beautiful. I love the pictures you shared. What a wonderful, touching tribute!

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

This makes me all chest achy. Beautiful. You have such a stunning family, all of you.

Kristi said... [Reply to comment]

I love that you just happen to do this on Joel's birthday! He knows, loves, and misses Andrew as his friend.

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

Family of five and I'm instantly in tears. This was beautiful. I'm so grateful to read about it.