Then and now

Mason and Taylor were married on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean just south of Big Sur.

Steve and I stayed at Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, which sits on a canyon below a mountain that threatens to slide and take the inn with it. It’s one of our favorite places in the world, primitive and evolved at the same time.  You heat your cabin with wood but sleep in the comfort of linen sheets and down duvets. There are no locks on the doors, no televisions to entertain, no internet or cell phone reception, but there’s an abundance of serenity, redwoods, waterfalls and good wine.  Not for everyone, for sure, but each time we stay there, we’re gifted with a sense of peace, a sense of place. Our cabin is called Faraway, and it is.  One of the things we’re drawn to are the journals kept in each cabin for the guests to write in. They go backs years and years and contain love letters, watercolors, poetry, drawings, dreams, worries, hopes and memories. We’ve left entries of our own. What follows is a portion of the entry I wrote the night of Mason and Taylor’s wedding.

Then:  8.26.06
Our son, Mason, joined hands, hearts and lives with Taylor at a glorious ceremony at Point 16, further down the coast near Lucia.  Warm, clear and starry, a fingernail moon, whales, uninvited and greatly appreciated, a union of two people much loved by many.  Soaring Starkey led a very touching ceremony and managed to both embrace the beauty of the location and at the same time render it invisible so that we saw only what was happening between these two people at this point in time…

And Now:  12.15.10
This time, our third time, we came for good-byes.  We lost our son, one year ago on 12.7.09.  The last time we were here was for his wedding.  My entry on that day was full of promise, love, hope and magic for our son and his bride.  The date was 8.26.06. Not so long ago.  My husband and I have spent the last few days spreading Mason’s ashes, sometimes to the wind, sometimes to the rocks, and sometimes to the sea, always with blessings and love for our son on this journey he takes alone. Faraway has brought us a different comfort than before.  It’s not been for our tired bodies, though they are, it’s not been for our tired minds.  This time, this last time, it was for our souls, our very weary souls.  Good-byes are hard.

A year later: 12.12.11
We just returned from a pilgrimage to Big Sur. Our first few nights were spent in the welcoming arms of Faraway. I picked up the journal that I had written in the year before and the entry after mine was a response, written by a stranger, possibly never to have been shared with the people it was intended for. It read:

“I hope you and your husband found some solace and a little peace as you sadly bid good-bye to your beloved Mason. Sending prayers for your sad loss and that somehow happy memories permeate through tiny cracks of your sorrow. Peace, love and respect.”

This soul, unknown to us, reached out and dared to feel some of our loss. This soul cared. Peace, love and respect to you as well, my friend.  Bless you.