Friday would have been an idyllic Northwest summer day except for a foreboding haze of smoke from Canada’s forest fires settling in tree branches and hugging the shoreline. Determined to enjoy my excursion to the beach in spite of it, I set out to wait for my friend to arrive by ferry.
Happily ensconced on a promenade bench I relished the briny odor of Puget Sound and the glad sounds of children romping in waves. Smoke obscured my lifelong mountain friends but my memory served up a feast of towering snow-capped craigs.
My reverie was abruptly interrupted by an approaching man who lingered at the bench and gingerly draped his hand over the back. “Excuse me,” he said. “I just want to say ‘hi’ to my little girl.” I noticed the memorial plaque and offered to move so he could sit with her a while. He countered, “Thank you, but my wife is waiting in the car and she isn’t well.” We said our good-bye. Alone now, I studied the memorial plaque. Kendra was nineteen when she died and her dad wrote, “No father should ever have to bury his child, but I put my trust in the Lord.” I wept.
Did you know?
He loved you
To the top of the mountains
To the bottom of Puget Sound whose healing waves
Carried you aloft and soothed
Your seashell cuts and scrapes.
Here he stands
Grief barely at bay
A father who never
Should have buried his child.
A father whose tender love
Is balm for this fatherless soul.
© Rita H Kowats 8-14-17
Note: you can see a photo of Regina’s bench at Olympic Beach Here.