Thursday afternoon brought news the news I’d spent a week and a half preparing for. My dear friend Sara passed away peacefully after a long battle with brain cancer. Words can’t really sum her up – she was one of those people who can make friends with everyone. She was my co-worker, carpool buddy, and at just a mile away, practically a neighbor. I met her because we were both teachers at the same school, and in thinking about her life, I realize that teacher was the word for her. She was a teacher to everyone she met.
Nick and I had already planned a trip to the coast beginning on Friday morning, because Oregon’s schools have that day off. Just as we were leaving, the rain came back. It hadn’t really rained in months here, and we desperately needed it. We made the three hour drive to Yachats with the windshield wipers going the whole time, and I talked a lot about Sara. I talked about how much I’d miss her, and how much my heart broke for those who I knew were in more pain than me – her parents, friends who had known her much longer, and the students who would find out on Monday. I talked about how seflishly, one loss can make you remember all the other losses that have come before. And we watched the rain.
On our way to the hotel, we stopped at a beach to let our dog Rosie run. The moment her paws hit the sand, she took off with leaps of pure joy. It was pouring, and the wind was whipping us, but it didn’t matter a bit to Rosie. She was back at her beloved beach.
The whole weekend went a lot like that. There was a lot of rain, a lot of wind, a lot of wet walks. But there were also a lot of sea stars, of Rosie leaps. The Oregon coast is so beautiful because it is so extreme – without the elements, we would not have the rocky cliffs and beaches as they are.
I don’t have any great revelations or healing words to bring back with me from the ocean. I do, however, have a sense of peace. I think that sometimes in life, you just watch the sea, listen to the waves, and let your heart break. Those times are beautiful, and necessary.