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Phish Mexico 2022 Recap and Thoughts on Grief in the Strangest Places

So grief never leaves. This is something that I have known for the past year as it follows me through all of life's moments, but when I heard the encore after a beautiful weekend of Phish, I knew exactly how I was going to write this post. I decided to share the lyrics of one of my favorite songs and write about the deep and immense meaning that I feel each time that I hear it. This song has been one that has constantly beckoned me to listen since I have lost my little girl.





A Life Beyond The Dream -- Phish


When we were talking

I didn't need to hide


I often think back to what it was like to talk to Adeline. Adeline was such a special little girl that I always felt happy and like my soul was at peace when she was around . Have not often felt happy or at peace in life. My life has been a pretty crazy emotional ride, but with Adeline I just knew that life was going to be alright. I have not felt at peace since she left this earth and since I spent years not feeling at peace before it is a feeling that I know how to handle. I never felt like I had to hide myself or like I had to be someone that I am not when Adeline was around. The biggest lesson that I have taken from her much too short life is that I should go through life unashamed of who I am. I should accept my quirkiness and if someone doesn't love it, then they are just not meant to be a part of my life and that is okay. (I will be forever grateful for this lesson in self acceptance that was taught to be by such a little girl who always showed me the greatest love that I have ever known.)


Black stallions through the night

On a perfect ride


Life is not always perfect. Here and there we have a glimpse into perfection while we are on our "perfect ride." My "perfect ride" will always be the 3,303 days that my family was complete. Those days when I had my four children at home to hold and cuddle. I know that so many people hate COVID and the COVID world but that is another thing that I am forever grateful to have had. I got to spend 9 perfect months with my beautiful family before we lost our littlest love. We got to play games, I got to be a part of her education, her reading, her sass. We developed new skills and I got to experience each of those moments with all four of my children. I am so grateful that this is the life that I was blessed to live.





I watched you open wide

You looked into me


There are times when I am listening to Phish, especially when I am seeing them live, that I feel as though they can really look into my soul. This was one of those moments. I was experiencing so many emotions. Gratitude for the beautiful surroundings, wonderful people, and the experience that I was able to share with Shane. Love for my friends and family. Joy while watching other people enjoying their time, especially the families and small children. Sorrow at knowing that this is something that I will never be able to share with Adeline, even as we make plans to hopefully share in this amazing experience with Althea and Huxley next year. (Sadly, Andrew will be in school and unable to come along.) Wishfulness at the hope that I will one day be able to dance in the skies with my baby girl again. Hope that I can do this and get through life and that I can still create beautiful and lasting memories with my family.


I had to turn away

I didn't want to leave


It was this line and this moment where I first felt the tears streaming down my face. I didn't want the moment to end, the trip, the music, the beautiful culture and everything surrounding me felt so spiritual and so beautiful. I wanted the moment to last a lifetime. I also thought back to when I had to say my final goodbyes to my little girl. See, grief can strike in the strangest places. The full weight of having to say goodbye to Adeline was felt in these moments and I sobbed openly on Shane's shoulder has he hugged me close and danced with me beneath the moon on that beautiful beach.


Now I'm letting it all roll by

I can see, I can see

A life beyond the dream


Learning to let life roll by is hard. Learning to keep living after a loss like that which I have experienced is so very hard. I had the dream. I had everything that I had ever wanted and dreamed of except a career and I was on my way to making that dream become a reality. Then the worst possible tragedy struck and my dream was over. Now I am forced to keep living in what is literally "a life beyond the dream."





I'm watching it all roll by

I can see, I can see

A life beyond the dream


These lines speak so much truth and so much volume. One thing that I have learned through the tragedy that life has handed me is that you have to breathe it all in and really live in the moments that are around you. There were so many moments when we were in Mexico where I literally stopped, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath to breathe it all in. I wanted those moments to last as snapshots in the memories of my mind. I find that this is something that I do in big moments since losing my girl. I first noticed it when I was breathing in Althea's tribute performance of Adeline's solo at the dance recital. I again felt that urge when I was in the midst of Andrew's graduation and when I took Huxley to buy his first dirt bike. This past week there were moments when we were at dinner and Shane was sitting across from me and I realized that one day these dinners together could be over and so I breathed them in. I breathed in when I was on the sacred Mayan grounds of Chichen Itza. I breathed in while we were watching our favorite band in the most magical environment and when we were laying on the beach enjoying the beautiful sounds of the waves crashing onto the shores.


Don't give up hope

Don't give up hope


This little reminder to not give up hope is important. When you lose a child all of your hopes and dreams that you have for your family and your child seem to be lost as well. I felt that there was no hope in that dream to have my family as it was supposed to be. That being said, now, I know that there is still hope for a beautiful future. It's not the future that I had thought I would have with my four children living and breathing here with me, but it is a hope for myself, my husband, my family, and my remaining three children. I hope that I can be the mom that they need and that this tragedy will not be a defining point in who their mom is. I refuse to give up hope that we can still have a magical and wonderful life, it will just be tinged with a sadness and sorrow that will never leave us and that is okay. That sadness and sorrow is because of the love we have for Adeline who is no longer here with us to live in these moments together.


Keep dreaming

Keep on dreaming


To "keep dreaming" has been the hardest thing for me since losing Adeline. I realized that so many of my dreams revolved around my children...all of them, not just Adeline but when she was gone, there were so many dreams that felt gone too. From the moment that Althea was born, I dreamed of having a sister for her. When I Shane and I were first dating he once told me that he had a dream of me and two little girls playing in the waves in the ocean. From the very beginning of being together I knew that we would have two little girls and that our lives would not be complete until we did. We were blessed with the two most beautiful little girls (and amazing sons as well) and after Adeline was born I felt that I had the family that I was meant to have, that our family was finally complete. I will never understand why God would take my baby from me after for the first time in my life I had felt a contentness that I will never again feel. I don't understand how you can take from someone the actual hopes and dreams that they have always longed for. It feels like a special kind of cruelty and hell.





Don't give up hope

Don't give up hope


I know that I will never give up hope, but there is a reminder in this song. There is a reminder that it is okay to hope for and have happiness. It is okay that I have these amazing and incredible happy moments, Adeline would have wanted that for us. She would not have wanted to us to only be sad because she was joy. I am so thankful for the amazing people that I met while I was in Mexico and the amazing moments of joy and laughter that Shane and I shared. I laughed until I cried and truly felt a deep sense of joy that has not often been present since losing Adeline. The weather, the ocean, the culture, the people...Mexico will always hold a special place in my heart and soul. (I had these same feelings when I visited Mexico as a teen on a mission's trip. I remember thinking that there was something in Mexico that was drawing me there and I felt that same pull when I visited this time. Perhaps, after Shane is retired, we can be part year residents in Mexico.)


We share these moments

Till they melt away

To foggy memories

Of a distant day


Life is all about the moments. We got to share so many beautiful moments with beautiful souls. The bus rides to and from Beach Palace to Sunrise were magical in themselves...there was a constant laughter and so many new phriends to talk to. It was wonderful meeting each and every one of you and if you heard our story and shared in our moments, we thank you for being the beautiful people that you are. I am truly blessed and grateful that I got to share so many magical moments.


A curtain is blowing

In an open door


One of my favorite things about Mexico was getting to sleep there. I slept better than I have since we have lost Adeline and quite honestly better than I have in years. My body was not in constant pain which meant that I got a deep sleep that I rarely get living in Illinois. We also got to leave the sliding doors on our balcony open all night long and could listen to the sounds, feel the breeze, and see the rustle of the curtain as it was blown. Sleeping with the open air beside you is something that I will never tire of.


Two souls can breath as one

I wanted more


Seeing live music has always felt spiritual and like my soul was soaring. Being able to experience that with the love of my life is magical always but in Mexico it felt like a special magical carpet ride. At times, I felt as though I was soaring above the crowds and looking down on us as we shared in beautiful moments on that beach doing what we love most.


Now I'm letting it all roll by

I can see, I can see

A life beyond the dream


Several times while we were in Mexico, I told Shane that we should look for jobs there. That we could consider moving to such a magical place with the kids and a different pace of life that seems so much better suited for us. I love the culture and the deep familial roots that you see in Mexico. I love the hospitality and the overall friendliness of the people and the desire to really create an experience out of life.


I'm watching it all roll by

I can see, I can see

A life beyond the dream


I have long been a dreamer. I am the type of person that Wilco describes when they say "a dreamer in my dreams". I never stopped dreaming like most of my adult friends. I remember so often having talks with friends who acted as though dreams were silly or not something that could ever be a reality. I am learning as a soon-to-be 40 year old that dreams are what we manifest and work to achieve for ourselves. Sure, no dream comes true without hard work and effort, but we can achieve our dreams and sometimes those dreams might just look a little different than we expected or imagined. For me, those dreams will always include live music so being able to share in such a beautiful live music experience was a literal dream come true for me.


Don't give up hope

Don't give up hope


I learned on that beach in Mexico that I will never give up hope. I will be hopeful for what can be and what we can be. I will be hopeful for who my children will become and what their lives will be. I will be hopeful that they can achieve their dreams in some form.





Keep dreaming

Keep on dreaming


I will be dreaming. I will "keep dreaming" of Mexico and how we can make the future Mexico shows a reality for us with the kids. I want them to experience the beauty and the magic. I want them to know who they are and to have a solid foundation so that they will be able to "keep dreaming" throughout their lives.


Don't give up hope

Don't give up hope


Phish will always be one of my favorite bands. The experiences that I have had with Phish shows and concerts, especially the many couch tours where we watched the kids jump and dance and sing along will always be some of my favorite memories. The experience that we shared in Mexico for our first time there together and the first time that we were blessed to see Phish play there will always be something that I cherish. I will be reminded on my darkest of days, when I am missing Adeline the most, not to give up hope. There is hope. There is hope that my soul one day will be connected with her again. I don't know what this will be or how we will reconnect, but I have no doubt that when I leave this earth I will see my baby girl again and it will be the most glorious day. However, I am not ready for my life to be over year. I am not ready to give up hope that I can still do good in this world, that we can create something beautiful and share in something magical. I am not ready to give up hope and stop living. I have so many hopes and dreams still and while they all once included Adeline and in my soul they still do, my heart knows that my dreams have to change and be tweaked to see Adeline in a different capacity. She is always with us and I was reminded of that on this trip when two pennies appeared on the counter that wet ad in our (two American pennies in a foreign country when we collectively did not have any change on us when we left the US). Those were our pennies from Heaven, our reminders from Adeline that she is always with us and that she was there with us sharing in the magic as well.


So, I am going to "keep on dreaming" and will continue to have hope that we can create something beautiful with the rest of our lives. For that, I want to give a big thank you to the four men who helped me realize that this can happen, that my soul can still soar even if it is soaring in a different way that I didn't imagine. Jon, Mike, Page, and Trey (while I highly doubt any of you will ever see this, if you do) thank you for a perfect weekend that allowed me to reconnect with myself and my soul in new and inspiring ways. "I never needed you like this before" and truly could have never known that I needed you.




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