Remembering… and looking forward

Posted on | June 28, 2012 | 10 Comments

Tomorrow, my son and I will drive over the long, curving bridge to Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina.  We will pull into a familiar driveway, and hug the necks of oh-so-familiar family members. 

And then, at some moment over the next week, two other very familiar people will arrive, with a very sweet, familiarly smiled little girl who I will hug until my arms go weak… if she’ll let me.

You see, thirty some years ago, I met her mother on the shores of that same ocean.  Thirty some years ago, we ran around building sand castles, splashing in the water, and “cooking” with the powdered sugar white sand atop the murky, muddy pies we crafted from the wet, shell-filled curve of land, bathed by the ocean.

Thirty some years ago we became friends… sharing our Fourth of July year after year after year.  But as happens with childhood friends,  we grew apart… schools, lives, marriages, children.   A year and a half ago, we reconnected, picking up where we left off.  Hand in hand across the miles, we walked each other through the hot, heavy ocean soaked sands of divorce and disease, carrying each other when we could, gently tugging and dragging the other along when we could barely stand.

Thirty years ago we were childhood friends.

A year and half ago, we became kindred spirits, sisters bound by a mix of silliness and sadness and heart aching recognition of ourselves in each other.

Four months ago, she passed away, her body exhausted from the rigors of fighting a cancer that would not leave.  Four months ago, she was glorified, her life celebrated in a service I could not attend… something that aches in my soul today.

But in just a few days, I will wipe away tears behind my sunglasses.  I will turn my eyes to the sky and smile, knowing that she will be smiling, too, as our children learn the lay of the land, the roll of the sea, and the crush of the tides… there on that familiar beach where our laughter might still echo today…  if I listen carefully enough.

I miss you, Jen.  Today and always.


10 Responses to “Remembering… and looking forward”

  1. Aim
    June 28th, 2012 @ 9:46 am

    I didn’t know they would be coming down…….so many memories on that sand….time stands still there.

  2. Ashley E
    June 28th, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    Beautiful post.

  3. molly
    June 28th, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    Tears. I can feel your pain in this post. I know it all too well myself. Hugs.

  4. Heather Griffitts Clark
    June 28th, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    I lost one of my dearest friends on the 4th last year – I know exactly the bittersweet and yet painful place you are in. Beautifully written, as always.

  5. Caroline
    June 28th, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

    What a blessing! I hope her daughter will get to see you every summer! How amazing to be able to meet your mother’s childhood friend who can tell her stories as she hungers to know about her. You will be such a blessing to her.

  6. Jana Anthoine
    June 28th, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    Oh, what a beautiful message. I hope you feel her arms wrap around you while you sit on the sand watching the sun rise. (((hugs)))

  7. lawmhcgirl
    June 29th, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    I feel like I always say this….but you have a way with words that is unmatched. You truly have a gift. I am praying that you have a fun and healing weekend remembering your friend. Thank you for Sharing.

  8. Robbie K
    June 30th, 2012 @ 1:27 am

    So sorry for you pain. your heart must ache missing her each day. I hope that you can share stories with her daughter.

  9. Alecia
    June 30th, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    Missing a loved one never gets easier. Her daughter is lucky to have you around to share your stories of her mom. Looks like you picked a hot week for Ocean Isle. I live in Wilmington….100 degrees here today!

  10. Eli@coachdaddyblog
    July 2nd, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Ever considered writing the story of you two? I’d buy the first copy of the book. Can’t wait to read about what the experience was like for you.

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