SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN
The cool winter sun reflected off the blue sea, making it hard to see. I blinked hard to clear my vision as I dove back into the water. Why were my children and grandchildren huddled together on the white sandy beach? Didn’t they want to swim with me?
My oldest grandson, Peter, walked to the water’s edge. He tossed a lei of pink plumeria flowers into the waves. Those flowers reminded me of the wonderful day when Bob and I renewed our vows for our 50th Wedding Anniversary on a beautiful Hawaiian beach.
I jumped high into the air and called out. “Where did you get the flowers, Peter?”
An enormous wave crashed against the rocks, drowning out my words.
Peter stood with his hands folded over a black shirt and a dolphin tie that I’d bought him when he graduated from college last year. The bottom of his black pants was soaked from the incoming waves.
I shook my head and tried again. “The water’s great! Join me!”
Louder breaking waves masked my words, leaving only a whistle.
Right then, a small pod of dolphins approached and then swam urgently around me.
“What’s wrong? Are you protecting me?” I scanned the area for danger and received no reply, as expected.
A dolphin was studying me. A familiar chill ran through me as the dolphin gently brushed against me. Was it? No. It couldn’t be.
He held my stare until I shook my head and sped to the surface, only to find my family walking away.
“Hey! Where are you going?” But only a high pitch noise came from my lips. It wasn’t the loud waves; I’d lost my voice.
Peter spun around and met my gaze. He smiled and pointed to his tie. Then he wiped the tears off his face and put on black framed sunglasses. What he did next tugged heavily on my heart. He blew me a kiss just like he had as a small boy, when it was time to go home.
“Peter!” I yelled, yet nothing but that strange sound came out again. I saw him pause for a moment, offer a wave, and then keep going. He soon disappeared with everyone else.
The lei was floating toward me in a patch of grey powder. It reminded me of when we scattered Bob’s ashes into the ocean. The flowers came right to me with a plastic card attached. On it was written: Mother and Grandmother, You will be missed and forever loved.
Then it all came crashing back to me with the force of a spring-loaded trap. The uncomfortable hospital bed and the beeping machines.
The young doctor’s sad tone. “There’s nothing else we can do except make her comfortable.”
The cancer had won its battle, but I was in the ocean. I smiled. It had happened. I turned in a circle and saw what I expected, a dolphin’s tail.
The same dolphin whistled and clicked. This time I understood my beloved husband, Bob. We had found each other again. Words couldn’t come fast enough as we caught up. Then we sat comfortably in our gift long after the pod, that Bob had lived with, moved on.
It was just the two of us, and we happily explored the new world. We avoided humans, killer whales, and sharks, or maybe it was us they avoided. We were never sure.
We were peacefully investigating the purple, pink, red, green, and blue colors that mingled in the coral reefs off the Big Island in Hawaii. A lone dolphin swam up to us with eyes so familiar I immediately knew it was Peter.
The joy at that moment could only be expressed in high dolphin jumps. Later we learned our grandson had become a famous author, had three boys, and happy marriage. I didn’t ask how he died, and he never brought it up.
As the years passed, our pod continued to grow as our family slowly joined us, including ones we’d never met in life, or Peter’s amazing wife. To this day, our family still explores the ocean. We offer gratitude with our high leaps that we’ve been given such a special gift. Maybe you’ve seen us and felt our joy?
I dedicate this short story to my grandkids. We had a discussion on what I would become while watching the Disney movie, “Moana.” The grandmother became a Manta Ray after she passed. Of course, it was decided I would come back as a dolphin, as long as I promised never to leave them. Then, we went on to talk about spirit and souls which is a whole other story 🙂