Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dolphins and Memories of Jenny

     I enjoyed a beautiful walk on Aliso Creek Beach this afternoon.  It was the kind of spontaneous summer moment that leaves you slogging home in an uncomfortable pair of soaking wet sand filled blue jeans with a slight sunburn, but it was a beautiful lovely moment none the less.  I was blessed to be able to watch a dolphin play in the water very close to the shore once again.  This has become a familiar sight to me when I am at the beach; I almost always see dolphins if I keep my eyes peeled.  This wasn’t always the case.  Prior to a few years ago I can only think of two times that I ever saw dolphins in all the years of going to the beach. I see them now and they make me happy and make me think of my sister Jenny. 

  It doesn’t take much for me to think of Jenny, she has been gone for 6 years now this June and I think of her and miss her all of the time.  Jenny loved the ocean and the beach communities.  She had a lot of friends in Laguna Beach and grew up playing guitar and singing in many of the local bars and restaurants in the beach areas.  She loved to walk on the beaches and body surf in the waves.  One of the last special moments that I had with her we spent at the beach.  Jenny had a very brief and intense battle with Cancer.  Her first round of chemo caused her to immediately gain 30 pounds of extra fluid weight and she was too weak to go home from the hospital so she wound up in a rehab hospital for 3 weeks.  She only had a couple of decent days home before she had to go back for the next round of chemo, but on one of those days I grabbed her and took her down to cruise the beaches.  We got out down at Aliso Creek beach and it was a chore for her to lift her leg high enough to step up on the curb, but she laughed about it.  I just watched the light come back into her while we were there as she looked out at her special ocean free for a little while from the constant reminder of being ill that being cooped up causes.  I’ve always felt good that we had that special day together;  it gave me such a nice memory to hold onto when she didn’t make it back home from the hospital after the next round of Chemo.  My daughter Becky wrote a beautiful song in memory of her and one of the lines in the song is  “A dolphin swims in the tranquil sea, and he feels free and I think of you.”

  Later that summer one of my nieces was visiting from Pennsylvania and I took her down to Laguna Beach, as Jenny had done with her on one of her last visits.  My mind was very much on Jenny as we walked along the shore and in my head I started talking to her and silently saying that I would sure like a sign to know that everything is ok if at all possible.  The strangest thing happened a little bit later.  An entire pod of dolphins showed up in the crashing waves along the shore.  I have never seen dolphins close in like that in the waves, and in fact I was getting a little nervous like maybe they were going to beach themselves and I would have to go in and push them back in.  It really was the strangest thing I have ever seen.  They literally came up to us about as close as they could be, 7 or 8 of them.  I had just been asking for some kind of a sign and then that happened almost immediately and I feel like I got what I was asking for!  Not only that but as I said before I see dolphins now almost every time I go to the ocean.  One was swimming up inside the Dana Point harbor one day when I walked there which was really unusual.  Maybe dolphins are just way more prevalent around here these days and it all can just be explained scientifically away, but my heart feels differently.  I go to the beach much more frequently these days, and I see dolphins, and I think about my beautiful sister.  

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