This week I’m in Hawaii, in Waikoloa on the big island. I’m surrounded by fabulous friends who love me, encourage me, lift me up and make me laugh. The trip was the fabulous Barb’s idea. It’s exactly what I needed, and I’m excited to share it with Paulette and Angie as well.
Just three years ago Bryan, the boys and I visited the big island. We had an excellent trip, with lots of sun, sand and adventure. We’ve been to Hawaii a few times (we’re very spoiled) but usually Kauai or Oahu. The below picture is from an early trip to Kauai, when the boys were fairly little.
In spite of my amazing friends, it was a little bit difficult coming here this time without Bryan. He loved visiting Hawaii, loved snorkeling, diving, beachcombing, golfing, driving around the island. On one of our most memorable trips, we went scuba diving off the south shore of Kauai, in Poipu, and we were surrounded by sea turtles. We knelt on the sandy bottom while the turtles danced around us in the crystal water.
Bryan and I had a travel ritual. When we’d go places we loved, we’d try to bring home a piece of art to remind us of our trip. We have a particularly beautiful colored handmade paper lithograph over our mantel of sea turtles, symbolizing the life cycle.
When I lost Bryan almost exactly a year ago, symbols like that became important to me. I wore a small gold turtle pendant he’d given me on a chain, circled by his wedding band, on a gold chain for months.
One of the rituals I did to mark his passing was get a tattoo. It was my first one. (My only one!) I chose to take the piece of art we’d brought home from Hawaii, and have it translated to body art. I’m proud to wear it not only to honor Bryan, but also as a reminder to pursue adventure and joy – to dive with the turtles when I can.
Yesterday as we wandered Waikoloa, I fell in love with a turtle pendant. I got it for myself. For Bryan. It’s the simple, graceful sort of thing that I can wear most of the time, and probably will.
I’ll probably do something else to remember him while I’m here as well – toss a lei into the volcano or the sunset surf and say a few words. Still, finding and wearing the turtle necklace completed something for me.