How I Would Like To Remember My Mom

I let the warm grains of sand sift between my fingers and float toward the ocean with the breeze. I’ve never been here, but I know this place well from her stories. I close my eyes and listen to the rhythmic white noise of water colliding with the beach. Filling my lungs with air, I notice the brininess. No wonder she loved it here.

I open my eyes and shade them with the palm of my sweaty hand, watching as the dancing specks of sea glass disappear against the ocean. I imagine each is a moment she lost to cancer. What would today look like with her beside me, if sickness hadn’t taken her so swiftly?

Despite the heat, my arm hair rises like hundreds of tiny waves and blood crashes against my veins. I know she’s been here before, because she’s told me. But I can also feel it.

Maybe she’s here with me now. A cream-colored shell slowly washes up to shore and stops before my feet.  I bend to retrieve it, examine its smooth edges, and toss it in the pink bucket with the others.

Maybe that same sand now floating off to sea once sat beneath her brown legs. I picture her feet stretched out in front of her while she rests under the brazen sun. She’s laughing with friends and casually sipping a rum and Coke (not Pepsi) over ice. Maybe she walked along this very stretch of beach to collect shells as souvenirs, like me.

Beach Mom

I imagine her happy, healthy, and young.

A friend once told me that the beach ends where the ocean starts, but that line isn’t distinct.  There are still bits of water on the sand and bits of sand throughout the ocean.  Maybe that’s life. Maybe our beginning and end are not as abrupt as we think. Maybe there are still bits of her here.

I dust the sand from my hands and blow her a kiss good-bye.

That’s how I’d like to remember her. On a warm beach with a beaming smile and sand beneath her feet.

Before cancer.

Before pain.

Before I lost her.

Photo courtesy of Jakob Owens

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17 thoughts on “How I Would Like To Remember My Mom

  1. It is nice to remember those we lost in places they loved. You did a wonderful job merging the memory of your mother with the beauty of the ocean beach! A powerful example of that merging for me was in the beautiful lines, “I open my eyes and shade them with the palm of my sweaty hand, watching as the dancing specks of sea glass disappear against the ocean. I imagine each is a moment she lost to cancer.” Thank you for sharing such a lovely piece of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely like to think your mom was there with you and that even the sand she walked on when she was young had made its way back to that same beach. Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic. Beautiful post, Danielle. The writing is superb! I’m so on that beach with you now. Xox

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sweet, beautiful piece. You drew lots of parallels with the things you saw at the beach – the floating sand grains, the shifting tideline, etc – that adds a lot of meaning and feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

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