Michal and I are back in Puerto Morelos, Mexico for the third time in the last year. It is safe to say that Puerto Morelos has become our home away from home. While Puerto Morelos lies on the shores of the Caribbean Sea this is not one of those seaside resort towns that is wrapped up in a neat little package for tourists. This place is raw and imperfect, much like real life. This is a place where you can truly experience the culture, fall in love with the charm and soak up endless rays of sunshine on seaweed covered beaches. There are no 5th avenue shops, world class dining restaurants or pristine beaches to be found. Puerto Morelos is real, it is laced with vulnerability and it has my heart.

10178014_10100561305042156_5257818912983239816_nIt is here where I feel home and where my soul feels settled and calm.

12376130_10100561305072096_8194477911243371420_nHere’s a little bit about me that you may not know – I am not a fan of Christmas – or at least I haven’t been for the last three years. My Grams loved Christmas. Her face lit up and her eyes sparkled with joy the entire Christmas season. If you were around her, there was no way not to feel the Christmas spirit and believe in the magic of the season. My mind is full of memories of decorating with her, listening to Christmas music, smelling the Christmas roasts cooking and literally watching the love and joy radiating from her being. When Grams died, for me, the magic of Christmas died with her.

942015_962680054456_1544276898_nFor the last three years I have tried to escape Christmas by convincing Michal that Christmas break is best spent on a tropical beach. This is the first year that we have not been home for Christmas Eve or at least a little bit of Christmas Day. I have to say, I really missed being with my family.

I have learned that no matter how many thousands of miles I run (or fly), grief does not go away or get any less painful. As I was singing Christmas carols last night and lying on the beach today I was missing Grams so much my heart felt like it was going to burst. When I looked up at the full moon sparking over the Caribbean this evening, I knew she was there. Her love radiating so brightly and finding its way to me.

10171080_10100562527312716_1700070556337930240_nAfter all these years I am beginning to accept that grief can be comforting. Grief comes from love. Love does not die with a person. Love weaves itself as a patch through a broken heart, if you let it. It helps those who feel broken keep moving forward and it is an eternal gift that a loved one leaves behind.

While I may be coming to terms with the fact that grieving is a life long process, I will admit that I am anxiously counting down the hours until another Christmas has passed.

In the meantime, the full moon over the Caribbean tonight was breathtaking. It is pretty incredible to think that in nineteen years when there is a full moon on Christmas again, I will remember exactly where I was on the last Christmas full moon. Perhaps by then, Puerto Morelos will actually be my home.