Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Gift From Kay

I saw the ocean first when I was very young, that was pretty cool, as I was a landlocked child. My shoes got washed away with the Pacific tide. That was cool, except the part where I didn't have any shoes to go home with. The next time I remember seeing the ocean, I was an adult. And the first thing I did was write my name in the sand and watch the waves wash it away. Each time thereafter, whether I visited the Atlantic or Pacific (Those were my two choices.), I found a stick and wrote messages and drew flowers and such. Sometimes I would add a stone or leave the stick to help me out.

Though, I must admit, the writing didn't hold a great bit of meaning for me, other than it's what you do when you see undisturbed sand of any size that begs to bear a message. And now that simple activity of writing in the sand has become a sacred ritual of sorts for me and many other bereaved parents.

After Caitlin died, I was struck by how profound it was to write her name and know that that seeing her name in print was tangible evidence that she was here. If felt like that's all I had left of her. I saw her name in stone where her body lays, and I was overwhelmed.

I wrote her name in the sand on a visit out west; at the family beach week on the east coast; on a beach on the Cape, the town beaches that are close to my home, when there wasn't/isn't a beach I write it by arranging stones, or I draw her name in the snow. When I discovered Carly's site and requested Caitlin's name to be written on a beach in Australia. I wrote her name again and captured the tide as it came to wash the letters back into the Atlantic. Most recently, Kay at "Eternal Names by the Sea" sent me these photos of Caitlin's name on a white sand beach in Australia.

Thank you Kay, for your kind gesture. I'm always comforted to see her name. I'm grateful.


  1. To speak the dead's name is to let them live again. Egyptian Proverb from the crypts

    Peace to you and Caitlin