Sometimes we face things in our life that bring us to emotional lows and we need to try to be strong and find the support we need to help get through it. After all we all are human and we all have feelings and we need to express them so we don’t keep them bottled up within us causing us further sadness, depression and a sense of hopelessness. Unfortunately we will all go through difficult and sad periods in our life and we need to find inspiration, guidance, hope, love, peace and time both with our families on fun excursions and time by ourselves.
I know in my life I have dealt with the death of my parents and other loved ones. I am also dealing with the heartbreak of raising a child with autism and epilepsy and although there are some positives that come with autism there are a lot of concerns and worries too. I feel consumed at times and need to turn to others or just take a walk and be by myself.
I find there are many places to accomplish walking by myself and just dealing with life and the bigger picture. When I wish to be with family I find the beach is a wonderful place to take a stroll and I particularly like walking along the shore line with my wife and son. My son sometimes enjoys staying in one place and drawing in the sand and testing the shore line. He also likes to build castles with moats and loves when the water spills over into the designated moats he created. As all kids love the beach my son can spend hours at a time there and that is one of life’s pleasures and a memory I love holding on to in my mind. I feel the human mind can be an awesome camera because in your mind you can hold on to images and picture them pretty vividly no matter how much time goes by. Obviously a digital camera also comes in handy and I find it enjoyable taking family pictures at the beach and cherishing the memories later on by viewing them on the computer and in our family album. Another fun place to walk with family at the beach is the boardwalk and I find it a form of healthy exercise and it helps ease the mind from it’s burdens.
Another place I like to go with my wife and son when I am blessed to have the day with them is at a park like Newbridge Road Park or Eisenhower Park. Sometimes the drive is as much fun as being at the park and one of our favorite family excursions is the Montauk Point Lighthouse where we love to stroll by the rocky shoreline and up to the historic lighthouse. Life is so much more pleasurable when you spend it with the ones you love and take in the beautiful sites and sounds.
Since I am on the topic of beaches our all time favorite family destination spot is Virginia Beach where we just love spending time on the beach and the boardwalk walking and riding bicycles. Swimming in the ocean with the backdrop of hotels is one of my favorite images of Virginia Beach and we always have fun times there and in the hotel. We also love walking along the boardwalk at nighttime either right before or right after dinner and sometimes right before bedtime.
Another favorite family destination spot in Virginia we love to spend time at are the amusement parks and historical grounds of Williamsburg, Virginia. We usually spend a full day at Bush Gardens walking to all our favorite attractions and stopping to eat when the need arises. One of the most beautiful walks in the Williamsburg area are the historical grounds of Colonial Williamsburg where it is like taking a step back in time and learning a piece of our nation’s history. Walking can be tiring especially with young children and the elderly so we always make sure we make the necessary resting stops along the way for our son and for grandma.
Another favorite destination place we have gone a couple of times when Matty was a young child with short lived memories and more recently where he now has more vivid memories is Hershey Park, Pennsylvania which is by far the “sweetest place on earth.” It is such a joy spending time in these family fun places where we all are “kids” for the day enjoying the time with our children.
A place that is pure magic where my wife and I honeymooned and certainly look forward to taking Matty and grandma sometime is Walt Disney World. Matty’s all time favorite person in the whole wide world aside from his mom, dad, grandma and his beloved pop is the man who created Mickey Mouse and all those beautiful animation movies, Walt Disney. He loves all his movies and just loves all his contributions.
One of Matty’s biggest joys is visiting at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic Connecticut and The world famous Bronx Zoo. We love looking at the sea life at the aquarium and the animal life at the zoo and never tire of it. It is one of our favorite ways to spend the day with the ones we love. I take great joy in seeing the smile on my son’s face and it makes me very happy.
A place I make it a point to go to on occasion sometimes with my family and sometimes alone which is a solemn place is the cemetery which is the final resting place for my parents and infant nephew. When we go all together as family we visit briefly to say a prayer and Matty in his infinite wisdom calmly states that Pop and grandma Catherine and baby Timothy are doing fine. He then runs off as typical kids do. After we pay our respects we catch up to Matty and quietly leave and go to Nathan’s for lunch and the arcade. When I need to reflect more and walk around I go to the cemetery alone and I spend more time praying and holding on to the memories and I divide my time between both locations. I visit to pray for my mom and dad first and then I visit in the baby section which is very emotional and I pray for my nephew and all the babies. It brings tears to my eyes when I see all the names of these little angels and the inscriptions. In some cases I see names of twins on these tiny head stones meeting with God on the same day or days apart. I can’t help but feel sad for these babies and their families but realize they are angels and hopefully their parents and siblings are comforted in their grief of losing their precious babies too soon. I am touched when I read these inscriptions and I can not help but cry. One such writing which I found very touching was written for a baby girl and it simply stated “Touched by an angel and then she slept.” Another writing I read also for a baby girl which was very emotional and read as follows: “We held you but a moment and you touched us forever.” The hardest part is seeing all the toys and figurines nestled by the babies headstones left by the parents and family. It really touches my heart and makes me want to hug my son and appreciate all the moments I share with him.
As I leave the baby section I sometimes stroll and read the grave stones in sections as I leave and I read of those who lived long lives and others whose lives were cut short. Some as young children, some as teenagers, some in their 20’s, some in their 30’s and some in their 40’s. They are daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, grand parents. Some left way too young and they all have stories. It is so very sad and it makes me truly appreciate our life here though it is difficult at times and it makes you want to spend as much time with your children as you can.
Edward D. Iannielli III