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Dedicated to Scott -- our champion
Submitted by Diane
When we first married, I'm sure Jeff never imagined he was also marrying my family. I was a package deal! Jeff took this in stride. As a matter of fact, with his family so far away, he appreciated and enjoyed his newfound relatives.
Growing up we were more than just the typical family. My folks raised my brother Scott and I to be explorers and travelers. We weren't a family of wealth and never did we embark on luxurious trips. But we did travel and discover. I can remember the summer after fourth grade when my folks took us on a road trip around America. From Yellowstone, to the United Nations, the White House and Grand Canyon. We left no stone unturned. This was the life and family my new husband Jeff had entered into.
Busy schedules created challenges planning our adventures, but we made the time. We all have fond memories of our Alaska cruise. Scott and my Dad took Jeff on his first big fishing venture. Even though none of them caught a single fish, they told tall tales about their escapades. For all of us life seemed good.
Then something unimaginable happened. On a crisp sunny November day, the kind of day that reminds you of the beauty Fall can bring. People were working in their gardens, taking walks, enjoying the day. It was on this day everything changed. In an instant, without any warning, my brother Scott was gone.
There we were, a family heartbroken and overwhelmed with grief. In the days and months to follow, it was Jeff who held us up and kept us going. Not an easy task and no doubt an unasked for duty. But he was there for us and we needed him.
About a year after Scott's death, we began to understand just how different life would be. One of the casualties included the appeal for family adventures. This worried Jeff. So without hesitation, he announced we would all take a trip to Hawaii. The paradise my parents hadn't been to since their honeymoon and a destination Scott had always meant to visit. Off we went, no anticipation or excitement; we just went. We walked the streets of Waikiki, toured Pearl Harbor and snorkeled in Hanauma Bay. In Hawaii we rediscovered our passion for adventure.
On the last evening we sat and watched the sunset outside the Royal Hawaiian. We listened to my folks reminisce about there first trip to Waikiki where the stayed at the only hotel on the beach they called the Pink Palace. From there we laughed through the tears as we journeyed back in time.
It was at that very moment sitting there I realized Jeff was not my soul mate or my better half. He was much more. He was my partner in travel. Together we would navigate the twists and turns of life. And unlike my parents who are well traveled, our journey had just begun.