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Anguilla 2011 ~ 1 of 3

Posted by | March 23, 2011 | TRAVEL | 4 Comments

“What happens to the wide-eyed observer when the window between reality and unreality breaks and the glass begins to fly?” ~Author Unknown


Two years ago my cousins Karen and Eric both died within six weeks of each other. Life as we knew it changed then, and it would never be the same. Braydon and I blogged about it only the tiniest bit (for example here, and here), but otherwise it was something that we kept off-blog. It was just too raw for public viewing. It was a turning point in life – a point that marked the start of a whole chain of events that in sum represent a very intense couple of years for my side of the family. To say that my cousins’ deaths have had a profound effect on my family of origin would be an understatement. While my parents, my sister, and I, have each felt it and handled it very differently, Karen and Eric – their lives and their legacies – have impacted us immensely in unison. There has been intense pain, grief, and confusion. There has also been – in that strange way that life works – intense joy, centeredness, and clarity… not in losing them, but in what they have taught us along the way. In the end I think I can speak for the four members of my original family when I say that through our experiences of the past couple of years, at least one thing was deeply affirmed for all of us: life is fleeting and far too precious to squander.

Somewhere in the vast ripple effect of it all, my mother got the idea in her head that we were all – her, my dad, my sister and her family, and me and my family – going to go to Anguilla together. My parents have been spending two weeks of March in Anguilla for the past nine years. They adore Anguilla, and have always wanted to share it with their kids and grandkids. ‘We only live once,’ and ‘life is too short,’ and ‘who knows what tomorrow will bring?’ and soon enough my mom was determined to make it happen. Anyone who knows my mother knows that when she’s determined, nothing will stand in her way. And so, she made it happen.

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Anguilla March 2011. It was a dream come true for my mother. And it was a dream of a week for all of us. Somewhere between reality and unreality is where we were. Powder white beaches. Crystal-clear turquoise water. Whole new worlds beneath the surface. Sunsets beyond reason. Views that make you squint because it is hard to decipher how it can be real— is this for real? isn’t this from a postcard I saw somewhere? The window between reality and unreality broke and the ‘glass began to fly.’

Day 1 - Shoal Bay - walk to Gwens 1 1 Day 5 - Junk's Hole Savannah's Bay - Meera on the beach 3

Kyle way down deep

anguilla is beautiful b

anguilla is beautiful

It was a gift. This trip was a gift. And in the warm breezes of the Caribbean (where – we J-Ms never forget – lie the roots of two of the five of us), we somehow all found a way to gracefully receive it. Our family has known pain, and receiving gifts is not our greatest forte. But there is nothing difficult about watching joy in children who you love with all your heart. There is nothing complicated about the simple pleasures of sand and sun and time spent together on a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation.

1 Day 2 - Roy's - kids on beach 4 

People in Anguilla say that Anguilla is “heaven on earth.” I heard that over and over while we were there. And having been there, I can understand the sentiment. There is something almost ethereal about Anguilla. A sort of haze – a roundness and softness – around all the edges. Even when you edit the photos for crispness, and increase the contrast, the fuzziness of all the contours are still there. Like a subtle fine mist that sort of glosses everything, giving it all just a little bit of buffering. You see it – in real life and then in the photos – and you wonder, “is it real?” It was real, and it was just what our family needed.

1 Day 1 - rendevous bay am walk - 3

Day 3 - Malliouhana Sunset - JM kids

Day 2 - Roy's - group

There were also many, many sharply defined moments of adventure and exquisite excitement! It was crazy-fun!

No car-seats necessary!

1 Anguilla - no carseats Yipeeee

No seatbelts required!

1 Anguilla - no seatbelts yipppeeee

No reservations needed.

1 Day 6 - Shoal Bay - Gwens - Lunch 2

No shoes – just feet in the sand – most of the time!

at Gwen's

Anguilla is absolutely beautiful!

1 Day 3 - Long Bay - kids

And we did a lot while we were there!…

{post 2 of 3 below}


  • Kate says:

    Amazing photos as always!! Sounds like a really wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing :)
    – Kate

  • Ani says:

    What a wonderful, magical family vacation for your WHOLE family! I am sure your parents will treasure the memories made that week forever, as will you all.
    Thanks for sharing a bit of paradise with us :-)

  • MalShaeMama says:

    AMAZING!! So wonderful that your family could share this dream. The pics are incredible and I can feel the sun, smell the ater and air… ah, to be there :)

  • gail bizer says:

    I went looking for this years blog of Christmas 2011, this is what I found, whow, you are all so lucky. You all have beauty, you all have tons of love for everyone and you all have each other. God Bless you H&B Love, Gail

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