Beginning the summer before Hannah’s second birthday, and every summer since, the Metzlers joined their extended family (the Kaveny, maternal grandmother side) for a week in South Haven/St. Joseph, Michigan. Hannah loved spending time with cousins, aunts & uncles and her Nonna, and she especially LOVED swimming in Lake Michigan.
The setting was double-edged, though. To enjoy the scenic view from the house on the bluff, it meant walking down (and UP!) 224 steps to get to the beach. Needless to say, you learned to remember your water bottles and towels, or it meant missing valuable swim time hiking back up those steps. During Hannah’s last summer at the lake, she insisted that she would walk down & up those 224 steps despite having lost much of her balance as well as function in her right leg. With a bit of parental spotting, but mostly on her own, she climbed those steps twice over the course of the week, and she thoroughly enjoyed her newfound buoyancy in the water, a welcomed respite from her increasing struggles with controlling her body.
This summer (2015), her blue ribbon was still hanging fast to a branch on the bluff, and we scattered some seeds where she romped and played, near her favorite tree and looking out over the water she loved.
We miss you, Hannah, but your spirit lingers in this special place.