Whatever the weather, my heart always becomes lighter as I round the bend and come into the little town of dreams come true.
The luck 'o the Irish fills the town and has been a welcomed getaway for me for years.
I first began going to Cayucos in my grief over the death of my brother.
Its rugged, unspoiled, wide sandy beach provided a meditative escape from the ache of sibling-loss. But more than the place, it has been the people -
my beloved friend, Mugs and her family
whose hospitality and warmth have provided me shelter from the storms of life.
With the proverbial twinkle, Mugs' Irish eyes ever smiling
her sister, Cathy's effervescent joy
Cathy and Cayucos. The stuff dreams are made of.
But now, the clouds hang heavy over Cayucos as the dream dissolves into impending loss.
Cancer the thief of joy.
And Mugs, courageously stands at the bedside, ever the nurse, the saint, the sage, tending to her big sister, Cathy, whose diagnosis is grave.
Irish eyes now filled with sorrow and tears.
An even set, six sisters prepare for the uneven journey of loss and grief.
Too odd to imagine.
From a distance, I think of them.
A close-knit clan of nine
these six sisters
and their three brothers
all of whom I've loved from my designated spot as "like one of the family."
I feel a deep sadness from afar as I think of the happiness and joy that cancer is stealing from their inner-circle around whose perimeter I've danced my entire life.
In solidarity, I weep for my lost sister.
With breaths and days numbered, I can only imagine the desperate love that grips them and the loyalty that has always bonded them.
I think of their angel-mother - whose own death was so peaceful at eighty,
who must now labor to bring her first-born back into her arms.
Perhaps their angel- mother will provide the promise of an eternal Irish wake in heaven -
complete with a sunset over a glistening ocean and a glass filled to the brim with central coast wine.
Cathy's Irish eyes might once again laugh with her father who suffered his own cancerous end.
Mother, Father, Daughter
as in the beginning,
the first of nine
a trio once more.
Leaving behind her own husband, children, and grandchildren
with her first granddaughter on the way,
Cathy will return to the baby she lost so many years ago.
It will be his turn for his mother's love.
With the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing...
But right now in Cayucos,
these Irish hearts are broken
as this song of farewell is sung.
May the road rise to meet you, Cathy.
May the wind be always at your back.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Sister, thank you.
(Dedicated to my beloved Shea family)