Bob and I have been to Dogpatch several times, before and since Kevin's death on January 10, 2002. This is a very special surfspot for locals who are "real" surfers (as our sons would say).
Each time we have made the trip down to re-visit the place where Kevin met Jesus, we have had various reactions and have come away affected somehow. We are always taken "back" to that day, when our beloved son didn't come home from surfing.
As we drive the 1 hour drive down Pacific Coast Highway, we approach the guard shack and Bob says "Our son died here 11 years ago, is it ok if we just drive down for a few minutes" and the guard(s) are always gracious and kind to say "of course - take your time." The last few yards of the drive are always made in complete silence; Bob and I are always very quiet, as we prepare ourselves in our own way, for what we know will be an emotional time. As we come around the bend onto a dirt road, time seems to stand still and niether of us usually says a word, but this time Bob said "We are now on Holy Ground." Tears welled up and I was touched that he was speaking what I was feeling - - we were on "holy ground" indeed.
We parked our car where Kevin always parked his truck; we had to take a few minutes to look around the setting, such a pristine, unusual spot that seems to us more appropriate someplace in Hawaii. Once we were ready, we walked the path where Kevin walked to his last paddle out, we stood at the shoreline and looked out into the vastness of the open ocean, and I was, as always, taken back to that cold and stormy January day, when our son paddled out through treacherous and pounding surf never to return to shore alive. Though I should know by now that I am going to be overwhelmed with sorrow, I often think that it will somehow be different, especially since it has been 11 years since Kevin died, but the same thing always happens - I can't breathe and I have to tell myself "Breathe. Just Breathe." And, I am also reminded that since Kevin died, no matter when we come back to this spot, it is always overcast and cold - an appropriate climate for what I always experience.
While we walked along the shore, Bob began searching for some "treasure" as Kevin always did. and he found 3 smooth, white stones. For him, the 3 stones represented our 3 sons - - Eric, David and Kevin - - pure, solid bravehearts gifted to us by a loving and gracious Heavenly Father. As he held the stones ever so tenderly in his hand, I could see the intense love and the intense pain that he was experiencing in that moment. As we stood in silence together, I thanked God that we have one another and that our relationship of more than 50 years has somehow been strengthened and solidified by the loss of our son. Kevin is responsible for so much good, while he was here on earth, and since he left us, the blessings of his life and his death have made us who we are and we are better people, because of him in so many ways. He is not the epicenter or centerpiece of our lives, but he made a difference in our family and in our relationship - he was our biggest fan and fanned the flame of our love and our family's love in a profound way with his presence and because of his death.
Watching a lone surfer in the water, I was overcome with a strong sense of pride - not a gloating kind of pride, but a heart-of-gratitude kind of pride that I was a "SURFER MOM." Though I have never been as comfortable in the water as Bob and our sons, I am nevertheless a part of their surfing experiences somehow, and I claimed my place at Dogpatch on this particular day; I realized that I belonged there, as much as Kevin did, because I am a part of him and he is a part of me - where he was, I was and where he is, I am, too. In that special place, on that "holy ground" though my heart ached, I affirmed once again that the loss of our son was always a part of our story and that once again I can boldy say that "I trust the One who writes our stories" because our story has no end because of Jesus, because of Easter!
On this special day, I also felt that, if I reached out my hand in front of me, I could touch the edge of Eternity, the face of God and our son, Kevin. Because of Jesus, I know that Kevin lives! Because of Jesus, I know that I will live forever and that we all have the hope and promise of Eternal Life - - all because of Jesus!
May this be a special Easter Season for you and for your family, and may the love and peace of God place you in places and relationships where you, too, realize that you are standing on "HOLY GROUND!"
With Love and Blessings Always, AnG