Even in the dim glow of the small porch light, I could tell something was not right.
Gladys, whose smile usually lights up a room, walked toward me, shoulders slumped. In the shadows, I could see her lips stretched across her face in a thin line.
I closed the gap between us. “Something has happened.” I said.
She nods, fighting to keep the tears from stinging her already puffy eyes.
Then I hear it, the soft melodic chant of sacred Rosary prayers, recited by those who have gathered in the families small home, lingering like a damp morning fog that covers the coastal shoreline.
‘My sister’s boyfriend,” she choked. “It is a tragedy.. he was caught off guard by a big wave that swept him from the shore and pulled him into the ocean.”
I reached out for the college bound graduate who leaned into my embrace like a child, lost and shrouded in grief.
“Oh, Gladys,” I tightened my grip around her. I choke on the words. “I am so sorry.”
“His body washed up on shore this morning,” She wiped the side of her cheek. “He didn’t know how to swim.”
My stomach tightened. As someone who spent much of her adult life teaching kids to swim, the last bit of information cut deep into my worst fears. I thought of all the little faces I had helped learn to swim and dive.
After leaving the family, broken by the recent loss, I kept thinking about the tragic loss of a life. He was only 22 years old.
The thought of water accidents swirled in my mind, but the thought that continued to crash against my heart was the realization that things can change in an instant. The plans we make can be cut short without notice or permission.
With the sound of the Rosary prayers still playing in my mind, I considered how my every day life would be if I really treated each day like a God-given gift?
Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments. Rose Kennedy