If a bench could speak this one could.
I returned to the cabin where our family had enjoyed over 17 years together. It was the summer home that we had built ourselves in stages as finances became available to us. We all miss this home-away-from-home immensely.
I wanted to return with Erica, my wife of two years, so that she could experience this haven. It’s the place that my four children, now adults, speak of as the most important part of their childhood and the key component in our family bonding. We loved the cabin and it was one those places where their Mom, Pam, relaxed and enjoyed the precious time with her children each summer, away from the hustle and bustle of life back in the town with four active kids.
I knew that the return to the cabin would be difficult. To say that building and maintaining the cabin had been a labour of love would be an understatement. We had all sacrificed a lot in order to enjoy such a gift.
As we drove and parked behind the cabin, I noticed some changes. Nothing remains the same forever. And yet, there were some things that remained, as if time stood still.
“This is the deck I built!” and I’d tell Erica the story. “And here’s the old basket ball net! The kids spent hours shooting hoops here. And look! There on the beach – that’s the sand box that kids loved to play in.” And then I stopped. I smiled and a flood of memories of Pam, my wife of almost 25 years, came to mind like a torrent.
The bench, which I had built out of old left over lumber, was still sitting in its original spot out on the edge of the beach looking toward the Lake. It was there that Pam would often sit, cheering the kids on in volleyball, watching them come in for a landing on the wake board or encouraging them to build another sand castle.
If a bench could speak, this one could – and it did!
As you enjoy your summer holidays, there may places to which you return where memories waft past you like the breeze that kisses your face. Stop and remember them. Tell the story again of that person whom you miss and still love.
This is good and intentional grief.