The beach was gray and windswept. The outgoing tide had left the sand soaked and milling about, miniature rivers running. Shore birds were abundant and squawking, their keen eyes watching us under the diffused midsummer Alaskan sun.
Seashells were everywhere; an offering of exquisite art scattered in open air exhibit. I gathered some, yes. As we walked, I picked those treasures right up that were lying there at our feet. I placed them in the pocket of the jacket that wrapped my rounding belly. The little life within me kicked and bumped and fluttered, and I held my man’s hand and breathed deeply of the salt sea air, trying not to feel so desperately sick.
Our first baby. Our first time at morning sickness and bone-weary tired. Our first gathering of soft blankets and littlest clothes. Our first wondering about who this wee person was.
She came to us in the darkest hours of an Alaskan winter night, in a quiet room filled with love and deepest care. We held her there, wrapped in a handmade blanket. We looked at her sweet lips, her thick, dark hair, her little hands and feet, and her closed eyes, and we knew she was ours.
Even though her breath had left her, even though we would never hear her cry, she was ours.
Her little body was laid to earth under a wintery Montana sky as we held each other and wept our souls right out.
On another beach, in another state, in another time altogether, I sat in the warm sun, surrounded by thunderous whitewater crashing on a blackest rocky shore. And I thought of our girl, for even her name means that place at the edge of the sea. I sat there, not on sand, not on rocks, but on millions upon millions of tiniest jet-black pebbles all sea-rounded smooth. I scooped them, and sifted them, watching them round and rolling, fall. A glint of green caught my eye. Then another and another, there among the black. Sea glass. Tiniest bits of polished sea glass in green and brown and clear, and maybe even blue. Treasures hidden in the dark. I gathered them, yes, those treasures at my fingertips, those ones they call mermaid’s tears.
There are some things you never let go of: the longing for loved ones, and things to remember them by. The seashells, collected on the beach that day, remind us of our girl. And those tears of glass? They remind us of a Deepest Love that endured through our deepest loss…
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
~ King David
This life we’re living with less is a life full-round; it’s not an effort in nothingness. There is room here for us; for our life’s story. There is room here for the meaningful, the memories, and the most treasured mementos.
In a vintage brass box, encased in glass, there’s room. Sitting unobtrusively on the shelf, it quietly reminds us of our girl.
Wishing you the loveliest of summer weekends, friends!