I don’t know why I’d think it wouldn’t. I guess being out of my element (well, actually very *in* my element) made me think today would feel different in Maui. Maybe less sad.
My lone morning swim at Kahana Beach was tear-filled and poignant as I watched fathers and their kids playing in the waves and sand. I let my tears join the salty Pacific healing solution. I tried to calm my grief by saying to myself, It’s been almost five years, Courtney, aren’t you done with this yet? Then another voice inside me arrived quickly to rescue my uncompassionate question: It’s never done, Courtney. You will always miss him. Then I dove down into the clear water to retrieve a piece of white coral that looked a little mangled, tousled, and chipped. But it was so beautifully imperfect.
I tossed the piece of coral to my towel up on the beach and kept swimming, adding more saline to the ocean. I swam hard for a while, using my the strong muscles I inherited from my dad. And then I wrote the word dad in the sand and watched the waves wash the name away, feeling the impermanence of life.
But I also felt the power of everythingness, of oneness. In 2009 my mom and I spread my dad’s ashes here in the Pacific off of Maui. When I saw “dad” become part of the ocean, I realized that he was already there. And more than that, that he was already inside me, a light there, a warmth, an embrace of okayness — my invincible summer, always my invincible summer.