Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the dichotomy down under

I apologize for my recent prolonged lack of blogging. I've just returned to Pittsburgh after what may have been the most incredible trip of my life: three weeks traveling through three different parts of Australia. I spent time sunbathing on beautiful beaches and exploring picturesque mountains, interacting with exotic animals, eating at incredible restaurants and staying in some of the nicest accommodations I've ever seen - thanks, entirely, to my brother. For the first time ever I didn't get homesick while on vacation, in fact I didn't even want to come home. Though if I have to come home to somewhere, I'm glad I get to come home to Pittsburgh.

We started our trip in Sydney, where my brother lives. We saw the basic sights, like the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, went shopping, biked through Olympic Park where the Olympics were held in 2000 and saw some of Sydney's finest beaches.

Bondi Beach is Sydney's most famous beach and the subject of the Australian hit TV show, "Bondi Rescue". Let me tell you - the lifeguards at this beach don't mess around. There are huge waves, strong rip currents and sharks to deal with. During both of the days I spent there I saw lifeguards dragging people out of the water. If you are swimming where you shouldn't be they will get on their megaphones and tell you to get your ass out of the dangerous areas. And if there's a shark in the area you will see a low flying helicopter tracking it and hear an air raid siren warning everyone to get out of the water. Pretty crazy, but cool. And it's a "topless optional" beach so in the midst of the hundreds of people and organized chaos there are boobs everywhere.

I caught a rainbow at Bondi (and yes, after taking the picture I noticed the two people laying on top of each other in the foreground - oh well, what can you do?):

From Sydney we flew to Tasmania, the southernmost state of Australia. Tasmania is a beautiful island with mountains and beaches, and of course, cute little Tasmanian devils.

Here are a couple of pictures from the top of Mt. Wellington, outside the city of Hobart:

Some views along the coast:

Some of the animals we saw:

From Tasmania we flew to Queensland, where the Great Barrier Reef lives. We went snorkeling around the reef and saw reef sharks and giant clams the size of Volkswagen beetles (unfortunately I didn't take pictures). We traveled through the rain forest and ate crocodile and kangaroo (kinda felt bad about that). What we didn't do was go to the beach and swim, for the following reasons:

From Queensland we headed back to Sydney where we spent the remainder of our trip. We went to a concert at the Opera House and climbed the Harbour Bridge, the largest steel structure in the Southern Hemisphere.

So. what can I say? The trip was amazing. I had the time of my life. But then there's the aforementioned dichotomy...

What I noticed was this - the more fun I had, the more sad I became. It makes absolutely no sense, really. Each day I thought,"my kids should be here, they would love this" and this giant pit of sorrow in the core of my existence grew. It got to the point where I wished it would just swallow me up and get it over with already. I would go snorkeling and climb bridges by day, then go back to my room and cry myself to sleep at night. And I'm still doing that fabulous thing where I wake up in the middle of the night panicking, not believing reality is real.

I'm not complaining, how can I complain after having such an amazing opportunity to see a beautiful part of the world? I'm just saying it like it is. I don't know if I will ever really be happy again. I mean, how can I be happy? My kids are dead.

I have to go on, so I will. One day at a time...often one breath at a time. I'm grateful to my brother for helping me have as much fun as possible in the moments when I wasn't overcome by sadness. And I'm thankful for all of the family and friends and blog readers who are here for me when I just can't deal with it anymore.


  1. Having just been down under last summer for the first time myself (my blog "psychological geography"), I share the enthusiasm for AUS....what a trip you had! Welcome tough as it is...something good is just around the bend...hang in...

  2. Amy, I am so glad you had a nice trip. It sure seems beautiful.

    I think I speak for all of us when I say we will be here for as long you need us.

    Thinking of you especially during these next couple of weeks.

  3. Welcome Back, Amy! The pictures are beautiful. I, too will be thinking about you in the coming weeks. Take care of yourself and know that there are many out here in Cyberspace that are here for you.

  4. welcome home, amy. glad you got away for a while. it's hard to believe there is so much beauty in the world while you are in the midst of so much pain.


  5. Well, welcome back! I was beginning to think you decided to stay in Australia. ;)

    Glad the trip was positive in some ways.

    We missed you!

  6. Welcome back! We missed you! I'm glad you had such a great trip, even if it was peppered with sadness. The cool thing about heaven is that Kate and Peter can go to Australia whenever they want! I bet they've already been snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef ;) And, if not, they just got to tag along with their mama! They're ALWAYS with you. Try to hold on to that, even when the sadness seems all-consuming.

    Great pictures, by the way. You captured such beauty, INCLUDING the smile on your face in the last one!

    Glad to have you home :)


  7. Welcome back! I sure did miss reading your blog. I hope you know how many of us strangers think and pray for you everyday.

  8. I am glad that you had such a great trip. One day you'll get to tell your kids all about it. And I bet their favorite part will be when you were happy and having fun with your brother. Kate will be able to relate.
    Welcome home, Amy.

  9. Hi Amy - It sounds like your trip was amazing, and you have a wonderful brother to share all of it with. I'm glad to hear you were able to take a few weeks to just escape and enjoy another world far from PA (I'm in Philly, so I would love to be away from PA for any amt of time).

  10. So glad youre back and so glad you had a fabulous time. You are in my thoughts everyday and even more as the anniversary approaches. God bless you and Steve and may you find the strength to get through the next few weeks.

  11. Thanks for being real Amy -- in regards to your "happiness" by day, and your sorrow in the dark of the night. For those of us grieving a loss, it makes me feel like what I am going through is "normal" ... as sucky as it all is. God Bless.

  12. Welcome back Amy!! Missed you.

  13. just *hugs* to you, Amy.

  14. Great photographs! For some reason, your gift of life is longer than
    your beautiful children's gift. I think you can try to enjoy as much of it as you can before it's your time to join them. Like the ocean, ebb and flow.
    I am sorry for your pain, but you are so very strong.

  15. Every time I see a rainbow, I know it's my Dad saying hi. He sends me and my Mom one whenever when we need him. I'm glad to see your kids said hello on your trip :)

  16. Thinking of you. <3

  17. Sorry you had to come back to all the reminders here, but your children will always be with you. I truly believe the rainbow you saw was a gift from them. Hang in there--we are "here" for you.