Reposed by the pool reading another’s memoir on our last day in Kauai. I reclined in the ultimate vacation position–– in a lawn chair, atop a blue beach towel, head down in the pages, and sheltered under my sunhat and dark glasses and a tan, canvas umbrella on a stand. When the chapter ended, I put the book down and looked up to take in my idyllic surroundings. The tropical pool was stunning, sun shimmering silver glitter on top of the water. Large, lava black stones were stacked to form an archway over a portion of the pool. From on top of the arch, water flowed down to form waterfalls on both sides. I heard the laughter and splashing of children. They were playing pool games together. I sighed heavy and hard. This was no longer relaxing; it was a meditation in melancholy.
He would have loved to play in this pool; Ewan would have cajoled everyone, even me, into the chlorinated, cool water. He would have easily made friends with the gaggle in front of me. I could almost hear his voice echoing refrains of “Polo” after the call of “Marco”. He is missing this all: the pool, the beach, the sun and sand, the hikes, kayaking, bike riding, shave ice… That’s when I noticed a Nerf football floating all by itself near the pool steps. I immediately saw it as a message. He was saying, “Don’t be sad. Get up. Come play with me.”
I got up and walked over to the steps. One hand on the slick, metal railing, one foot in the glittering pool, I leaned over and picked up the bobbing football. Fingers on laces, I squished out drops of water and watched them fall back into the pool. Abruptly, something crashed behind me. I swiveled around. The sun umbrella I had just been sitting under was swept up and blown over by a rush of wind. It landed directly on top of the lawn chair I had been reclining on a moment ago. The wind was gone. I glanced around. That was the only fallen umbrella.
I smiled big and warm. This confirmed that the football was a message to get off my rear and stop feeling sorry for myself. Don’t be sad. Get up. Come play with me.
I just wanted to say how moved I am by your piece on Huffington Post. Ewan sounds wonderful, and I know you must miss him terribly. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share with the world what many people want to keep private. Death is a universal experience, and yet something we are so uncomfortable speaking up about. I do believe our children deserve the best we can give them, and that includes honesty and support through anything. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It matters. All of us are scared and confused about life and death and family. Telling your story helps us.
Peace and love,
I read your piece in three phrases to say to a dying person in the app Medium. That lead me here. I was pediatric nurse for 10 years. I will share your story and advice with friends.
My mom passed on 12/7/18 and just this past week, my older sister (who is developmentally delayed) with diagnosed with Cancer. Your three phrases (which I hope I don’t have to say to her), will just what I needed. Thank you.
Oh and the signs. They’re there if we look. Sending love.