Our family has Long Beach sand in our shoes, and we always will. No matter where life takes us.
When Ty was home on hospice care, some great friends from Long Beach were coming up for a visit and Lou asked them to bring a bottle of water from the ocean, and a jar of sand from the beach. He kept it in his closet. I didn't know why.
When we laid Ty in his casket, he was dressed in a white three-piece suit, and a blue handkerchief - his hair was perfect, his feet were bare. Then Lou pulled out the box from his closet. He poured the sand over Ty's bare feet, followed by the ocean water. We believed he was free to go back to the beach, and we found peace knowing he was going to rest with Long Beach sand between his toes.
When we visited his statue after the Luau, I was prompted to photograph the beautiful seashells and lollipops that were left by his feet. Thank you to all of our incredible friends who paid him an unprompted visit that day. The way you remember him is what allows Lou and I to continue putting one foot in front of the other. When I saw the sand between "his" toes, I was immediately reminded of his beautiful feet covered in sand and surf the very last time I kissed them goodbye. Reliving that day is raw and painful, balanced by beauty and serenity. I love that we were able to create this statue in his memory. I love that he will always have Long Beach sand in his shoes.
I took a walk around the neighborhood today and I became an emotional wreck after just one song on Pandora. Sadly, I don't listen to much music since losing Ty - not even in the car - because every song, no matter how relevant or irrelevant, seems to trigger some kind of memories of Ty and I end up with tears in my eyes. The song "Home" by Phillip Phillips doesn't have much significance other than the fact that it was wildly popular around the time Ty died, so when it came on this morning it triggered memories of driving in the car with Mely - heading to the TLC office after he passed away; then rewind to the day he died; relive the exact moment (which, by the way, happens all the time). Then something happened that has never happened before....
There is a very light and beautiful harmony in that song. A chorus where back-up singers are making lovely sounds, and all of a sudden I imagined Ty flying. Soaring through the air with wind in his hair and OMG how he was laughing. He would turn to look at me as if I was flying right next to him, and then turn sideways and tuck in his knees for a back-flip before zipping upwards into the sky. Like he was Peter Pan! This vision felt so real, it was as if he was truly home. That he was free and he was happy and he was not alone.
I bawled. I cried and I cried and I wished I had better prepared him to leave. I thought about how I held onto hope until the very end because I just didn't want to let him go. I feared that my barely five-year-old son was hanging on to his own painful life simply out of fear because he didn't want to leave me and Lou. I always worry about him walking into Heaven alone. I always wonder who was there to meet him? If it was Granny, how would he even recognize her? But then there he was, flying. Like a little boy fulfilling his wildest dream. His face, his smile, was that of a child who doesn't know pain anymore - like he never knew it at all,
So, I leave you with that tonight. I lost my son, the love of my life. I am left here to be sad and that's okay, because he is soaring across the sky. He is Peter Pan. Maybe they all are. Even Granny :)