Last summer, my super supportive husband, Hunter Levi, bought me a ticket to Show It United, a conference for photographers in Phoenix for my birthday. I was so grateful to be able to travel to a place I had never been to learn more about all things photography, business, etc. ShowIt was something I have wanted to go too for so long, and I’ve always wanted to travel to Arizona as well!
About 2 months before the conference I had an idea and called Hunter when he was at work. The conversation was pretty short and it pretty much sums up who we are as a couple! I asked him what he thought about heading out to Arizona together to go to the Grand Canyon & Sedona, I had already made a list of expenses and totaled what the trip would cost. He responded with “Sure! Sounds great. ” So just like that our trip was planned. Less than 8 weeks out. Spontaneous may as well be both of our middle names.
Then October 25, 2018 happened. We found out that Hunter’s best friend, Justin, passed away in a car accident. We were (& still are) absolutely devastated. It flipped our entire world upside down. Neither of us had experienced that kind of pain before. We were too sad to function let alone fly across the country to “have fun”. It felt almost selfish and way too much to handle considering how miserable we were feeling.
After a couple days passed and the shock had started to wear off we knew we had decisions to make. We could either sulk at home or we could go to Arizona and mourn there. We decided that Justin would want us to choose the latter option. He wouldn’t have wanted us to stay at home and lie in bed crying, which is exactly what I felt like doing. Only 48 hours after saying goodbye to our best friend, groomsmen, future Uncle to our unborn kiddos, we hopped on a plane. I cried the whole way there.
In the end, I’m so thankful that we went on this trip to the Grand Canyon & Sedona. It went from a weekend getaway to a survival trip. Hunter & I both cried, laughed, hiked, and cried some more for 3 days. Getting out of our normal routine and being somewhere new and obviously very beautiful was the very best thing for us. It was the first time since the accident that the “Acceptance” phase started to happen for us. We had to decide what life was going to look like from this point on. We knew that loss had the possibility of tearing our marriage completely apart. Again, that was the last thing Justin would have wanted. So we tried our best to get outside, enjoy the sights, and honestly just try our best to take it in – together.
In those 3 days we became closer than we did on our own honeymoon. Arizona tore us apart and rejuvenated us all at the same time. Where the shattered pieces of our hearts lay on the floor, we clung to one another to make a beautiful mosaic – broken, yet perfectly pieced together.
Our adorable Air BNB was so cozy and perfect. If you’re visiting FlagStaff we highly recommend it!
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