Shana and Marcus are regular contributors to GDTRFG; this is the first time I’ve put their writing here in my personal series, Wish You Were There. In truth, this post connects to several themes throughout this blog. It was written by Shana.
At this point, you might suspect that I was referring to the rain in California. Yeah, that does keep happening, unfortunately. We are currently sitting in a hotel, again waiting out another atmospheric river, while the song “It Never Rains in Southern California” plays on repeat in my head.
Ho hum, I digress.
Despite the constant push to go indoors that Mother Nature continues to nudge us with, there is another gentle nudge that keeps me focused on continuing this journey.
Here’s the story.
When my son, Tyler, passed away, one of the most grueling tasks that we were faced with was cleaning out his room. It took a really long time to harbor the strength to enter that space, and I can tell you that no human being has the strength to get through this process without feeling the heaviest of heavy.
As much as I try to block that day out of my memory, I am left with two very vivid memories of that day. 1. Scrubbing my dead son’s dried blood off the floor and out of the floor vent in which it had dripped. 2. Immediately afterwards, finding a tiny string bracelet with a rainbow charm on it.
It was then that I felt that Tyler would always be with me and that, no matter how painful, everything would be alright.
I put that bracelet on that day and decided that I wasn’t going to ever take it off. (I actually did twice: once for an MRI and once for surgery.) I was determined that this bracelet would stay on me until it fell off from wear and tear over time, and, when it did, that would be ok, too.
Well, that day came not long ago. Although I am not exactly sure when, I looked down and realized that it wasn’t there anymore. I was sad for a moment, but then I noticed that something was different. There were no tears or deep, painful feelings of loss, but instead, gain. I felt gain in satisfaction: that I had allowed myself to feel the loss and that I accepted it like a mentally healthy adult.
Although this bracelet meant the world to me because it was something that I had left from my son, it was material, and I knew better than to give a shit about anything of material nature, no matter the significance. So, I gave myself an invisible trophy for the growth and celebrated my win that day.
Here is where the “it keeps happening” comes into play. Our tent camping adventure is in full swing, and we have certainly been experiencing a lot of misses with these insane storms. We find ourselves proceeding with exhaustion, frustration and the constant concern of just how long we can continue to go on.
One day, while packing up at a campsite, Marcus found a tiny gold ladybug bracelet on the macadam.
Ladybugs have always had an extra-special significance to us, as Tyler had picked out a present for his baby sister, Rhyan, before she was born, a stuffed ladybug that soon became her very favorite thing ever.
Back to the bracelet. I immediately asked Marcus to put it on me, and then shortly afterwards I realized that I had lost it. Oh well. If it shows back up, it does. If it doesn’t, someone else will enjoy it.
Either way, I am happy because these are moments when I tell myself that Tyler is saying hi to us.
We continued on our journey, on our path, and then, one day while setting up in San Onofre, the ladybug bracelet shows back up in the bag with the tent stakes. Yay! I noticed that it had a broken clasp and secured it until I could take it to a jeweler to repair. Let’s continue.
After getting rained out the first time in San Clemente, we head back for round two at this campground, and wouldn’t you know that, while we were deciding to set up our campsite, we found another bracelet! This one has a turtle on it.
Considering all the rain that keeps pounding on us, starting right after we began a journey in a state that never gets rain, I think Tyler is trying to tell us to just keep swimming.
It seems as if Mother Nature is sending us three to four more atmospheric rivers to deal with through the month of April, and, as much as I continue to ponder the idea of driving five hours east to spend time in our dry, climate-controlled, cozy, empty condo, it appears as if the adventure is going to continue out here with nature instead, even if we have to swim.
After sharing the story with Rhyan, I found out that the ladybug bracelet actually belongs to her and that it must have fallen out of her car when she came to hang out with us; she didn’t even realize she’d lost it. I’m so happy we found it, lost it, and found it again after she’d lost it.
We have also continued to our next campsite where we, lo and behold, found yet another bracelet. And then lost it. And then found it again by the water spigot.
It’s a fun journey, for sure!
From Shelly: To add to the serendipitous nature of this post, I also have a bracelet I found when cleaning out stuff from a deceased loved one: my niece’s leather bracelet that I wore until it wore out. Its inscription is about living intently, a theme of Shana and Marcus’ current journey. “If you are in the moment, you are in the infinite.”