August 24, 2014
It has been a full summer for me. A summer of short trips to Montana to spend time with friends and in between those, our two week holiday to Oregon to retrace our last summer holiday with you. It was a summer of fun times and, of course, some hard moments, too. Life after losing you has been full of figuring out our “new normal” and it sure hasn’t come without its share of intense sadness. How could it?
When Dad and I and Finn headed to Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast we knew there would be countless bittersweets and as we’d expected, of course, there was. The memories I have of our last vacation with you are etched inside me like stone for it was on that very trip to the Oregon Coast that you saw the ocean for the first and only time. The abundant beauty in that part of the world is breathtaking and the memories I have of you in that special place are even more breathtaking.
We walked on the same beach and saw the same sights as we did with you in the summer of 2010. I remember the look of awe on your face when you saw the ocean for the first time and how you ran barefoot in the sand to the edge of a world new to you, anxious to feel the ocean on your toes. It was a special time, and one I am so grateful to have had. One never knows while visiting a place that it might be the last and though I was present in that moment, a part of me was already wondering where we’d vacation next and where and when you’d see the ocean again. That summer vacation was supposed to be another of the many we’d enjoy together. New adventures and new places awaited, life was good… and then the unimaginable happened and all of our dreams were shattered and broken. Wondering how we’d survive without you became our focus and thoughts of future summer vacations disappeared entirely.
Cannon Beach was everything I remembered and the clarity with which I saw it again was a beautiful déjà vu. How Haystack Rock stood so prominently just offshore, the miles and miles of sandy beach that stretched for as far as the eye could see in both directions, all the sea birds busy doing that swooping dance that they do, the numerous early morning walkers and runners, all the happy dogs in the most dog-friendly place I’ve ever been chasing birds and balls and catching frisbees, the sand castles and shovels and pails and the children of all ages that dug holes and filled pails with sand, colorful kites connected by string to dads, the shells and remnants thereof, the icy feel of the cold salt water as it enveloped my ankles…. It looked the same this visit as it did when we saw it together for the first time and a hundred years from now I imagine it will look no different. The timelessness of all that surrounds this beautiful place and the memories I have of you there will keep me wanting to visit again and again. While on the beach I would close my eyes and imagine you there – a vision I will cherish and hold onto for the rest of my days. It is quite literally my “heaven on earth” and what I imagine heaven for real will be like.
Dad and I talked endlessly of you on our travels this summer. That never changes. As the days turn into weeks, then months, and now years, it still seems like yesterday and forever that you were physically here with us. Our days continue to be full of thoughts of you in happier times; the innocent way you saw the world, the sound of your giggle, how you idolized your brothers and pushed their buttons, your genuine sensitivity and zest for fun, how you developed a style that became your own, and how you loved to be in the middle of everything we did. We spend our days honoring you in any way that we can and we do it passionately and with purpose because you are worth every minute.
I believe with all my heart that I will see you again and it is that belief that keeps me keeping on. When my days here come to an end I hope that the heaven you know will look just like my “heaven on earth”. I just know that you will be the first one I will see there. Until then, Will, you are my sun and my moon, the stars and a bus, and I love you as big as all that and more. I miss you bigger than big and long for that day when I will see you again.