In what has become a tradition of ours, this Tuesday my kids and I placed roses in the sand. We tend to commemorate milestones related to my wife and especially the anniversary of her death by going to her favorite place, the beach. Inevitably whatever flowers we have wind up being planted ever so gently in the sand. Some years we'll add a short note and 'sign' the sand...others years (this year) we let the flowers speak for themselves, a silent testimony of love, one for another.
I pulled the kids out of school, put the dog in a kennel, took leave from work and rented a lodge on the ocean front. We made a day long event of our commemoration. Well, maybe not quite an entire day, we spent some time driving through our old neighborhood on Base and of course did some 'retail therapy'. It was a day largely spent recounting one happy memory after another. I never cease to be amazed or grateful at how much joy my kids derive from memories of their mother.
That evening in our lodge and without prompting, each child came up to me individually and shared with me a heartbreaking memory from their mother's death...one child remembered a final fight with their mom and wished they had been better behaved, another remembering the moment when I told them mommy was about to die. I never cease to feel pain at the wounds they now carry with them. Both received hugs and assurances; mommy loved them without reservation and it was no easier saying the words, 'mommy is going to die' than it was hearing them.
Overall, and by unanimous agreement, it was great day. Thank-you all for the cards, notes, Facebook posts and especially for the prayers. It mattered and made a difference.