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Healing journeys come at crucial time

There's something about walks on ocean beaches and drives through forested mountains that can put one's life in perspective, and I was privileged to experience both this past month.

A dear friend invited me to spend five days at her beach house in Newport in early June. Rain greeted us on our afternoon arrival and, by that evening, there were torrents of it along with wild winds. That was the night the Japanese dock from last year's tsunami washed ashore at Agate Beach, just a few miles away. A couple days later, we, along with a thousand others, were making the pilgrimage to get a glimpse of it.

The rest of our days were beautiful and sunny, which made everything we did even more enjoyable. Both of us are "night people" so there were late nights - and late mornings; shopping expeditions to refresh our wardrobes; friends who came for a bridge game; and time for reading, resting and reflecting on our past and present lives.

The following weekend I went with my family to Sisters where the days were even warmer and sunnier. My daughter and I browsed the many shops, the guys went fishing and there was quality family time for Father's Day weekend. An added bonus was a visit and breakfast with a nephew who also happened to be there that weekend.

Both of these respites were just what I needed at this time in my life. I am still grieving the death of my son on April 17, not only for myself but for his wife, daughter and sister; and there are times when the sadness can be overwhelming. But these two diverse destinations provided therapeutic healing. Just watching and listening to the rhythm of the ocean waves can calm the mind and de-stress the body, and walking in the quietness of stately pines can soothe the senses and restore the soul.

One morning on my walk to Nye Beach on the Vietnam Memorial Walkway, I stopped to read the dedication monument honoring the veterans of Vietnam. On the other side was "A Poem for Hope and Healing" by Tony Molina. While it was meant for the families of those who did not return from that war, I found comfort in its words, and returned the next morning to read it again.

Like the turning of the ocean tides, I feel I have turned a corner on my journey of grief. Thanks to the outpouring of love and concern from family and friends and an abiding faith, I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel of sadness and, once again, regaining my personal perspective of life.

Jo Ann Parsons is a member of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.



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