I am not sure what is going on inside. Am I just exhausted ? I just don’t know what it is. I bought new calendars, put on the important scheduled dates. Yep…….. I do know what it is, just because the year number changed, doesn’t mean my grief journey changed. I thought it would. I thought I would be able to embrace the new year-new. I have heard many say, “A new year, a chance for new beginnings.” For me the new year number is only a reminder of the growing number of Shawn’s days of goneness. The realizing that this is something that cannot be changed. Such dread. I do not want to lose any connection with Shawn, but the year number changed, again, without my okay. Now what ??? AND who am I, really ??? I just cannot seem to get into the spirit of newness, thankfulness, and I am guilty of not counting “it all joy…” I wonder if this is the way grief works ? Please forgive me for being a downer. I really did enjoy all that went into my tribute for Shawn, on his 31st birthday, January 3, 2015. *** Just a short tell after the display was finished: I had noticed one of the visitors had been gazing for quite some time. I had fixed a couple things and turned to speak to her. I told her that there were 31 bunches of flowers. She chuckled. As others were there looking at the display, she said she was wondering how many there were, but didn’t want to be rude-counting. I thought it was funny. She hadn’t been the only one wondering. We continued our conversation. Well, actually, I answered her next question-before she asked it. I do not know if you all are able to enlarge the above photo, but, the carnations and baby’s breath are nestled in blue nylon. I bought the 3 blue body scrubbies, thinking I was just going to add more blue to the gray rocks. Then an idea happened. I wondered how a scrubby was put together. Could I tie it around the flowers ? I dug to the center of one of the scrubbies until I found a string. I cut it. The scrubbie turned into a long nylon tube. Surely I could figure out a use. I bravely cut off the length of about 12 inches. I folded the short tube into itself. I stuffed the flowers into the center. Actually, I was quite tickled with the outcome-who would have thought ? My on looker said she thought they looked like little blue vases. I hadn’t thought of that. It, truly, was a pleasure meeting so many folks and hearing their mourning stories while I was setting up. I was thankful folks felt comfortable enough to let tears fall. One person had many dear recalls of her mother-who died February 28, 2013. I enjoyed hearing the details of new beginnings for their family. Another daughter told me about her precious mother, who had died June 29, 2013. I met a Dad, with his children. They were admiring the decorations. They thought there was going to be a beach party. I did not want to be a downer. I did explain the purpose of the decorations. Even the 11 year old, Seattle Seahawk fan, was brought to tears. Then, the 15 year old opened up and shared about losing her friend and how the school honored her friend. She told how a tribute was done on the beach, for someone who had drowned. The Dad encouraged me to keep the decorations up through the night. Others needed to see it. I even met someone who lives on the opposite end of our road-her sister’s son died 15 years ago. There were 2 older men coming down the stairs as I was decorating, the rocks. They looked, but I do not recall them saying anything, there were several others around. Too many voices at once. The 2 turned toward the sea and went for a beach walk. I had not finished decorating, on their return. They just paused, looked at everything, and didn’t say a word. Their dog was anxious to get going. When I finished putting the flowers on the rocks, I went back to my room. From my window I watched many onlookers, I, also, saw the 2 older men—3 times, they went to Shawn’s b.day board, that afternoon. They would look at everything, pointed at various objects, spoke to each other and then headed towards the water, in their leisurely way. Each time they came back from the beach they would pause and look again at the decorations. I wish I would have spoken to them. I met a realtor from Kansas, her and her husband were trying to help me get the night photo to work. I met 2 women, who had been there to work on a book-something about getting through rough situations. They enjoyed the display and thought it was a creative way of working through my grief. As it turned out, I was getting tired and did not think I could keep the display up much longer. I could see there were folks enjoying a campfire a short distance from the display. I decided to undo the display. At least I wouldn’t be out there alone. As I stepped outside, I felt mist hit my face. I decided to place all the flowers on one of the rocks, hoping it wouldn’t be considered littering. Shortly after I was back in the room, the rain came pouring down. How cute: the next morning-Sunday, the 2 older men, with their dog, went down to the beach. Turned right at the bottom of the steps to go to their usual spot to look at the display. They stood for quite a long time in front of the flowers I left on the rock, then turned slowly for their beach walk.