“The cure for anything is salt water– sweat, tears or the sea. “

(Isak Dineson)

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you already know this because I’ve been obnoxiously gushing and burbling all over the internet about it, but guess what– I’M AT THE OCEAN!

This is my Mother’s Day present to myself, with the complete blessings of Russ and the girls. After all of the stress and sadness of the last month, I felt the deep need to get my toes in some clear turquoise water and walk a beach. And uncharacteristically for me, I also felt the deep need to do it alone.

Now, I have no problem going on my little Runaway Mom trips. They are few and far between, and frankly since Russ stays in hotels every weekend and the girls aren’t that interested in my not-at-all-exotic destinations, they would much rather stay home. They happily wave me off, which always keeps me from feeling guilty about going. But this trip is very different. I have never gone to the beach alone, this is always been more of a family vacation-type thing. And even after many, many, many years of therapy (Yes, I’m exaggerating. Kinda.), it is still sometimes inexplicably hard for me to speak up and voice a need, or ask for something just for me. Well, I managed to do it with this trip and my whole family, bless ‘em, waved me off just as cheerfully and sweetly. It was a lovely and generous gift.

So here I am, in a condo at Seagrove Beach, Florida. Alone.

And it is exactly what I needed.

Of course, you KNOW I have researched all of the best local restaurants and am eating my way up and down the beach! I am also exploring all of the little towns/developments like Seaside and Watercolor and Alys Beach, walking my legs off every day. And I’ve totally gone native: my hair is barely combed and has a big ol’ sunhat jammed on it, I’m going to the grocery in my bathing suit cover-up and I’m not wearing makeup! Well, except for the lipstick I put on to go down to the beach. And maybe a little eyeliner. I’m not a heathen, people! (See also: “raised in the South.”)

Being near the ocean always brings out my creative side, which naturally can only mean one thing…


Yes, dear readers, nothing says ‘beach getaway’ quite like completely mangling an ancient Japanese poetry form– am I right?! So, for your enjoyment and edification, here is my (belated Mother’s Day) gift to all of you. With illustrations, of course.

It’s Tori’s Beach Haiku-palooza, Ya’ll!

Checking In

I’m on the twelfth floor

Eye-level with pelicans

We both look bemused.

Suiting Up

My cheeks are dimpled.

No, not the ones on my face.

(When did this happen???)

Come to Mama!

An empty beach chair

With a bright striped umbrella

Smiles suggestively.

Who Makes That Kind Of Money???

A nine-bedroom house

Unobstructed ocean view

The sign says “Private.”

First Day Cliche

“It’s early,” I thought.

“The sun can’t be that hot yet…”

I’m a big red FOOL.

Standing Still

Dolphins swim in arcs

Rhythmic ocean carousel

My hand shades my eyes.

The Sweetest Ache

I whisper your name

When I’m walking down the beach

Because I miss you.

35 Responses

  1. phwd737

    So sweet, Tori…thanks! I think that kinda refreshed me a little too…;-)

  2. LindaB

    Leaving loved one’s arms.
    On a wind swept beach alone.
    You need space to grieve.

  3. LindaB

    Okay. Leave out the periods. Don’t know what I was thinking.

    Your last haiku was so touching, Tori! I know that feeling.

  4. LindaB

    Oh man! That’s a nasty burn!!

  5. jonny

    Girl, no one completely mangles an ancient Japanese poetry form – quite like you do !! And I loves it = )

    Well, for what it’s worth, in a little over three hours I’m about to do a pretty big something that I’ve never done before either, with things I’ve never possessed or used either ! And STILL organizng, packing and quite a bit of cleaning ! And I’m a BACHELOR, for goodness sakes !! This is way to much work for an approaching middle-age, white wanna-be rock star = /

    But, excepted for the sunburn, REALLY glad you’re getting to do what you’re now doing; and thanks for sharing !! = )

  6. DonnaMariePatterson

    I just love you and your blogging. So sweet and ‘real’. I still whisper ‘daddy’ and it’s been over 7 years. I’m glad your getting this time alone. It’s good for the soul. I’ve been saying that I need to dip my toes in the ocean for a month! *turning green with envy* But, I am at a conference at Gaylord Hotel in Nashville for a week and that ain’t half bad. ;-) I’m gonna try to get by Nana Rosa’s on Friday. The reviews you give make my mouth water! *wiping the heavy drool rolling down my chin* I love you girl!! (((HUGS))

  7. Cynthia

    Gibran wrote that, “Our most sacred tears are the ones no one else sees” and “There must be something strangely sacred in salt. It is in our tears and in the sea”. I too escaped to the shore; it was after the death of my husband. There was something so spiritual about watching the waves taking grains of sand back out, only to place them elsewhere out of view. I knew my husband, was with the Lord; he, like your Dad, and the sand formations, are just in a place we can no longer see with earthly eyes.
    Kuddo’s for stepping back; and allowing the salt water to begin the healing process. Enjoy one of the Lord’s most majestic creations.

  8. gracelynn

    So glad you are getting some time to yourself. I completely undestand that. I spent over an hour on Myrtle Beach myself the last day of Singing in the Sun just thinking and praying, preparing myself for the last month of school. NOW about that burn – I got one just as bad too. Get you some Burt’s Bees After Sun Soother – it is the BEST thing I’ve found for it next to aloe straight from the plant itself. My mom has been doctoring my poor peeling back and shoulders with it and it has helped tremendously. I was only out an hour but the meds I take make me burn if I’m out 15 minutes.
    Love you lady! Can’t wait to give you a super hug so get that burn healed up pronto!!

  9. jonny

    I dearly miss my grandmother, Martina. FWIW.

  10. auburn60

    Ugh…to the sunburn, not the poetry. As a former FL resident I can say that’s a classic tourist mistake…that sun can be a killer any time of the year.There are 2 stores there you’ve got to check out: one is a garden store and the other is an artsy-junk place. I think the name of the store even has the word ‘junk’ in it. But you’ve probably already found it.

    DonnaMarie–I was at Nana Rosa’s a couple of weeks ago. My daughter has moved down the street from there. It was great and the people were so nice. My only disappointment was that I did not run into any Oak Ridge Boys while dining. Maybe next time.

    I was going to suggest that you scope out some great place for a bloomr get-together, but thought better of it. Gracelynn has the same meds issues I do, and my poor failing eyes can’t take much sun anymore…so let’s go further inland! Some nice, gloomy rain-swept mountain, maybe? :)

  11. meb

    I had forgotten
    How much I enjoy Haikus
    Such sweet words to read

    Love this post and the pictures too.

    There was a poem read when my grandfather passed away, “Today is a very good day to die”. It was from a book called Many Winters Prose and Poetry of the Pueblos by Nancy Wood. I happened to be reading through this book again and came across this one. Thought you might like it.

    “Hold on to what is good
    even if it is
    a handful of earth.
    Hold on to what you believe
    even if it is
    a tree which stands by itself.
    Hold on to what you must do
    even if it is
    a long way from here.
    Hold on to life even when
    it is easier letting go.
    Hold on to my hand even when
    I have gone away from you.”

  12. Linda

    How nice to be able to get away by yourself for a few days. I pray it’s just what the doctor ordered. I know you miss your dad tremendously.

    I can totally relate to your sunburn. I have always been as white as a sheet so it takes very little sun to do me in. I’ve said many times I was born in the wrong era (I should have been born back in the dark ages when women carried parasols to protect themselves from the sun).:) At the ripe old age of 62, I no longer worry about having a tan.

    Thanks for sharing about your getaway. I enjoyed reading about it and loved the pictures!

  13. rachelbaker

    I am so glad that you are where you need to be. Thank God for the sea!

  14. bettyrwoodward

    Glad you are having a good time. I remember after my Dad died someone told me not to forget to grieve myself when I was helping others. Good that you have had this opportunity.

  15. MostlySunny

    GOOD FOR YOU!!! Not many people can –or want to– do stuff like this alone. We women – some can’t even go to the bathroom alone! So glad you have this opportunity and took it. The weather looks great; the beach looks terrific; that beach chair is definitely inviting; DANG, that sunburn – OUCH!

    “DADDY” with the water washing up…touching. Embrace your grief and don’t be afraid of it.

    Again, good for you!!

  16. blondie

    Well, I laughed and cried over this blog entry, just as I have with so many of your others. I’m humbled by the amount of personal space you’ve allowed us to crowd into. Thank you for your transparency.

    Your Haiku-palooza could not have come at a better time for us here in homeschool-land. We will be beginning a short study of Haiku’s next week. Love it when my work is done for me! :)

  17. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh my goodness, Tori, get some #75 sun screen and put it on even when wearing a long-sleeved shirt…then go down on the beach either very early in the morning or very early in the evening. Okay, so I am showing my age and mothering you. It’s a habit harder to break than smoking.

    I’m so pleased you were able to get away like this; it is hard to imagine how, after such a heart break, you would be able to return home and go on as if nothing life changing had happened.

    I’m praying you will be able to cry without explaining, remember without sharing, and end your time alone more thankful than sad….because, my precious one, we’re just passing through and this is not all there is….thank you, Jesus.

    I love you, sweetheart.

  18. LindaB

    “I’m praying you will be able to cry without explaining, remember without sharing, and end your time alone more thankful than sad….”

    Beautifully written and so true, Barb!

  19. kay

    Hi Tori,
    So happy to hear you are enjoying your get away!!! Eveyone needs time to rest and relax. The pictures are beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.
    I’m going to do a “Mom get away” as soon as I can!!!
    Walks on the beach, by myself that I call “God time” is the most wonderful and Blessed times I have ever had.
    Blessings and Prayers.

  20. Craig

    I’m glad you got away – you needed and deserved it. If I could I’d give you an “awkward Christian side hug” :) Your haiku palooza was awesome – and that house – I covet that house. And I remember your tweet about that lovely shade of red. And I’ll admit – a little tear at the end. This was awesome. Thank you. God Bless and keep you and all of yours.

  21. tori

    phwd737– Thank you, Tricia.

    LindaB– I love this! You haiku-paloozed with me! And yeah, I got good and burned.

    small j– What the heck are you doing, anyway?!

    DonnaMariePatterson– I loved hearing you say you ‘still whisper daddy’ after 7 years. Bet I will, too. And the Gaylord DEFINITELY ain’t half bad! Enjoy Nana Rosa’s!

    Cynthia– Beautifully written. And I agree about watching the waves– I love the image you evoked about placing the grains of sand out of view…

    gracelynn– I’m gonna check out that Burt’s Bees After Sun Soother!

    small j– Martina is such a beautiful name.

    auburn60– I totally went to the artsy-junk place today! It is only about a block away from my condo. It was a fun store, I bought a couple of pins/brooches there.

    meb– What a lovely, lovely poem– thank you. I’m going to see if my library has that book…

    Linda– Yeah, I could totally rock that parasol look, too! Maybe we could bring them back into fashion!

    rachelbaker–YES, thank God for the sea.

    bettyrwoodward– That is good advice, Betty. That’s kind of why I needed to get away by myself.

    MostlySunny–I know what you mean! I take myself to dinner or to a movie all the time, and some of my women friends are totally shocked by that!

    blondie– Thank you, blondie. Also? It’s very scary to think your sweet children will read my ridiculous haikus!

    Momma Lloyd– You can mother me any time you want. Your words made me cry, because you just totally ‘get it.’ Thank you.

    LindaB– You’re right- SO beautifully written.

    kay– It IS the best kind of “God time”, isn’t it?

    Craig– Thank you, darlin’. *awkward Christian side hug*

  22. jonny

    I flew into New York for the first time ever, JFK. Arrived and am now staying the night at the Kentucky/Cincinnati airport (first time at this airport as well) to be picked up around 10:00 am by a guy I only know through this internet old time radio and nostalgia program. We will go to a Hotel in Cincinnati for three days and attend an Old Time Radio convention for a few days and i will meet many more people I’ve not met face to face with before. After that, Sunday morning, I will fly to the state of MI and spend the night at Former’s and face the music with the one she is a taken woman with, has had children with and shares grand-children with ! We’ll probably share a few root beers together, among other things.

    I will see my niece, the first of the nephews and nieces to do this, graduate from high school. I will also be flying to Puerto Rico this trip and visit my extremely closest friend in the Army whom I have recently hooked up with again on facebook after around 25 years of no contact. I am physically alive today thanks to him, and am a child of the Christ’s because of how God used him as well; although he is not a ‘Believe’ himself. Long story. I’ve never been to Puerto Rico. I should then fly to Nashville and meet yet another Army buddy who Christ used me to help bring him to The Him, meet Tori and let her have her way with loud screamy type hugs and slobbery wet kisses on both cheeks. I also hope to meet up with fave vocalist Sim Wilson of Undercover, his too lovely wife and the other two precious girls. We’ve meet before, but usually when I’ve gone to see Undercover in So Cal, not on their home turf; so to speak. I hope to then also see Daniel Amos live for the first time ever there, too. I’ve been listening to Daniel Amos, off and on, thirty years now, but have not seen them live before. I have also successfully smuggled into the country illegal Easter candies from Finland, also a first and probably a last. They are chocolate eggs with a little toy in them. And last, but not least, I am now a first time laptop AND Mac user At The Same Time ! I bought a 13″ MacBook Pro around a week ago and am typing this, about to Say This and for the first time ever in the states have internet access through My Own Computer via this LapMac Pro like little thingy !! OK, enough firsts for you ?? And remember; YOU asked ! = )

  23. jonny

    Barbara wrote, and I quote: “Okay, so I am showing my age and mothering you. It’s a habit harder to break than smoking.”

    Which, the aging or the mothering ?? And if aging, wasn’t aware it was a habit. If so, it’s one I’d prefer breaking over smoking. At least the physical aspects of it = )

  24. LindaB

    Okay, so…..you’re going to Nashville, California, Puerto Rico, and visiting with other cool rock stars and a great songwriter and queen blogger T.T., and you’re going to come to CLIO???? To see US??? Hello?? Doesn’t that sound anticlimatic?

    Alanna and Chloe want to know if you play Rock Band? And what bands do you like so she can get some rock band music you’d like. Alanna asked me what I was going to make for Sunday dinner while you’re here, and I told her chicken Alfredo. She said that’s good…….you’ll wanna change your name to “jonny Lovesalfredo” after that! (She’s a hoot!) My kids CAN’T WAIT to meet you—–they didn’t think I was tellin’ the truth about knowing a real live rock star!

    Oh, and one bit of advice…..don’t hug Tori too hard—she’s got a heck of a sunburn!

  25. MostlySunny

    Oh, I wanna be there for the LindaB and j meeting. This could be good!

    j – you’re going to have some stories to tell…Can’t wait! And welcome to the Mac world; you’ll never go back to anything else!

    LindaB – you’ve got a gooood husband. He’ll probably be giggling and shaking his head the whole time!

    Barbara M. Lloyd – will you be my Mamma, too? Mine’s been gone for almost 6 years.

    Tori – you’ve got quite a crew here. God only know what will happen if/when we all get together!

  26. rachelbaker

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

  27. bettyrwoodward

    Have a great time, jonny. Sounds good to me. Can I come too! Enjoy.

  28. jonny

    Sorry, know little to nothing about Rock Band.

  29. LindaB

    You WILL! Do you think my kids are gonna pass up the chance to play Rock Band with a real rocker???

  30. LindaB

    We got new batteries for the dog’s shock collar, too! You’ll be alright. Just don’t make any quick sudden moves.

    Oh, and you don’t mind if the kids sold tickets to other kids to meet you, right?

  31. LindaB

    Are you home yet, Tori? Does Tennessee have any floodling yet?

  32. kidpyramid

    So many wonderful comments filled with wisdom and humor.

    As always your blog invokes so many emotions. Through your loss I am reliving the loss of my mother. I don’t think I’ve taken the time to grieve and I know it will happen eventually. Thank you for these small moments reminding me there is still work to do.

    I was at the beach with my children today, something I have only done ith them 3 times before. As my children collected shells I remembered my first pregnancy when my mother was my constant companion. We walked miles and miles on that same beach to keep me in good shape and even to get the baby to turn. As I dipped my hands in the salt water I felt the sting in the tiny cuts I have, the work-worn hands of a mom. I remembered my mother telling me the salt water was good for healing. I do not love the beach with all the sand yet it is a place I love to go alone. It refreshes me.

    I pray your time away was refreshing and that you get as much time as you need to work through your grief.

  33. Barbara M. Lloyd

    My dear jonny, take a movie camera along on your visits with Tori and LindaB. And, I will happily pay for a front row seat at the viewing. As far as the mothering vs. aging question…..I love the first but I’m not too fond of the second….having had quite a lot of experience with both.

    Continuing to pray for you, sweet Tori. Thankfully, our God arranged it so that time would heal the sharpness of our pain.

  34. jonny

    Sorry, no movie camera. And yes, LB sold tickets, big turn out, even invited the press; I got a decent cut out of it. It’s all good. I can’t stay here much longer tough, her husband is should be home soon…

  35. jonny

    Oh, and thanks Former for talking care of the dog also !

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