The Sea


7 years ago today I went to the beach with Pete, one of many trips to the beach; uncomplicated and innocent, sand in shoes, a time of wide-eyed adolescence that you can’t really comprehend until it’s over. This particular day was the first time I met all of his friends, the teenage version of “meeting the parents”. His treasured friends who became my treasured friends: the beach became ours.

7 months and 7 days ago, Pete died. I could never have predicted I would be recounting those hazy, unburdened trips to the beach just a few short years later to a roomful of strangers at his funeral, grieving with those same friends. I thought I’d never visit a beach again.

I just got home from a tour that took me by the sea. New places, new beaches, new friends, the same 7 seas. Every single one takes me back to that earlier place in my life, a place which I couldn’t return to even if we were all still here. I still wake up knowing I have to make sense of something that will never make sense, no matter how long my life turns out to be. But I’m finally starting to understand what people mean when they talk about cherishing the past. My memories are not as scary as I thought, nor do they really fade; they vary, but they’re there. It’s always ourselves we find by the sea, all of our selves, past and present. They’ll always be there at the sea. I wish I’d learned that sooner in these seven months, but in a way, I will have always learned it too soon. Happy World Ocean Day.

“It’s always ourselves we find by the sea” – e e cummings and further discussed in this post.

Pete further discussed in these posts – 1, 2, 3.


10 thoughts on “The Sea

  1. Denise says:

    Your picture with the blue dress is stunning, you should frame it! The sea is so important to me, I have it all over my main place… my family always had some places on beaches and I always loved the sea… and now, memories, like you said. I agree with Cummings. That’s the way I feel at the sea. And also, reading your post makes me sad and happy at the same time. Happy, that you are getting to your own conclusions and experiences… sad, because innocence is something that I would like to see prolonged… but death can cut it, for sure. I read something last week, that helped. Our beloved ones are sleeping. I loved that! Our beloved ones need us to live “for” them, in a happy way. So it “perpetuates” (for a whiie) their lives and all they gave to us and made us feel. Pete surely would feel it!


  2. toris_tales says:

    Oh Laila, this is so incredibly raw, a from-the-heart post that reached out with both it’s trembling hands and touched my own. Beautiful. That last line brought tears to my eyes, my friend. I’m so glad you’re able to look upon your memories differently, now – that they aren’t as scary as they were, like you said. Sending you love <3


  3. winnie says:

    Oh this is so sad and I can somewhat relate. My mum’s best friend’s son passed away years ago and even though I didn’t catch up with him often – I remember happy summers hanging out, watching his collection of Sailormoon videos (I always thought it was odd that he loved Sailormoon rather than the boys version like Dragon ball Z) and lots of dinners at his house with my sisters and his mum. So when it came to the funeral, it was incredibly, incredibly sad to see so many young people rather than the much older crowd that we’re used to seeing when someone whose lived a long full life eventually passes. Lots of love my dear xxx


  4. smittenness says:

    This really resonates with me. I lost a very dear (and kind of boyfriend) at 15. 25 years on and it’s still something that I find hard to make sense of. When I think back to my 15 year-old self, my heart breaks for her. I honestly think it’s informed most of who I am. We are lucky to have the time we have with the people who are in our lives. Thank you for sharing your post and these memories.


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