It was a gorgeous day at the beach yesterday, but the sting of sunlight on my skin had nothing on the pain within.

Kids screamed and shouted, they cried and laughed and argued and ran.  Babies were tightly wrapped and shaded against the sun and exasperated parents tried to relax as their brood ran circles around them.

Lu and I sat quietly, a team of two, each of us seemingly absorbed in a book.

My eyes were on the page but my attention was scattered like the sunlight bouncing off the rippling waters.

This impromptu trip to the shore was too easy.  Just tossed a few things in the bags, grabbed the chairs and hit the road.  No squealing toddler to wrestle into diapers.  No seven extra bags to maintain said creature in the harsh environs of sun and sand.

Eventually the unrelenting heat sent me to the water’s edge where I strolled in up to my knees.  The frigid water was refreshing, but the salt and cold made my feet and ankles sting.  I know that sting well.

Though I have managed to find many moments of happiness and pleasure in the last months, those moments never appear without an internal snap of pain and anguish.  There is still no way to avoid it, and I don’t know that I would if I could.  I try so hard not to linger on the what-ifs and should-bes, but the blatant void of his absence is simply too powerful.

It was a beautiful day at the beach with my wife, but there was no protection from the burn of our loss.

There never is.