You’re looking at cool blue skies and gusty winds. Sounds cliché’ until you see it for yourself, and then it’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before. You lean on the polished wooden balcony railing and purposely face the opposite direction that the wind is blowing. You want to feel it hug your face, dry your eyes and take your breath away. You look beyond watching the ocean’s waves and ripples flow closer and closer on the sand in your direction. Your eyes close and you reminisce. This was the place where you’ve had most of your life’s precious memories. You’ve had so many experiences and opportunities that most people have never been able to witness in their entire lives.
“Lunch will be ready shortly, babe. Are you feeling okay?”
“I’m fine, I’ll be in soon.” Your spouse calls to you. After ten years, you still get weak at the sound of their voice and think about the first time you’ve ever heard it, how it completely took you by surprise and how you miraculously knew it would be the voice you’d want to hear for the rest of your life. It’s funny how one knows such things. Looking back at your better half, the lovely off-white beach house you two bought together, and your two beautiful children laughing and playing the Wii in the living room. You have a wonderful seven-year-old son and an energetic four-year-old daughter. All of the miracles happened on this very beach. The first walk you and your spouse took together before you became who you are, the first kiss that you shared under the moonlight and stars, and the first time you threw a party in honor of you purchasing your first home. There was also the first time you made love, in the sand under the deck. You think about how you spent hours there, feeling the coolness of the ocean mist on your legs and the sun saying good morning, along with a kiss on your cheek. You really miss the feeling of the water on your legs, or on any part of you. You remembered your wedding day, how the winds were so strong that most of the guests’ hats and other belongings blew away. The tides were high. You used to love the water, thought it was one of God’s most wonderful creations. However, now you can’t seem to see past your fears, which is why your children unfortunately haven’t been in the water for the past two years. You bought them the Wii to compensate for your paranoia. At least they understand that you don’t want anything to happen to them, especially after what happened to you.
The wind’s still blowing, so you figure there’s a mist down on the sand. You want to feel again, if even for a quick moment. So you turn to the ramp to the left of you and roll down to the sand, knowing that in your wheelchair’s condition it may not be the best idea. It would be totally worth it, you think to yourself. You stare at the ocean. It’s so beautiful. You’ve had dreams every day of getting back in the water, swimming until your heart’s content. Swimming had been so important to you, your spouse, and your children until you took that one swim that forever changed your life.
You look back on that beautiful afternoon four years ago, “The Shark Attic that rattled Rhode Island”, the news headlines repeated for months. You thought nothing of it, to have a nice swim before day turned into night. Just when you were called by your daughter to come back to the shore, it took both of your legs. You remembered hearing your daughter screaming for her father, but that was it. Everything else began to fade away and you knew at the point that it was over, until your eyes opened again two days later. The first thing you saw was the tears in your spouse’s eyes, and you closed them again as if the sight was drawn on an etch-a-sketch and you wanted it erased. From that day on, nothing was the same. And now, even though there are things you will never be able to do, things are not only different, but they’re even better. You get to recognize the things you have been blessed with in your life and the things you’ve taken for granted. Your family has been brought together closer than you’ve ever thought possible and your spirit has been lifted farther than a plane can carry you. You felt peace in knowing that your life has a purpose, and that you are still here to find out what that purpose is, and best of all you are not alone. Furthermore, it’s okay to remember the past. It’s what’s brought you to your present and thinking further on your future. Your past is a walk to remember.