In the spring of 2002, my daughter did something not many teenage girls do. She asked me to go on spring break with her. I was shocked. And elated! We decided to go to California so I bought the tickets. Before we knew it . . . we were on our way!
The flights were grueling. After eleven hours of layovers and travel, we landed in Los Angeles. Exhausted, we fell into bed and into a deep sleep. Early the next morning Becca gently shook me awake and asked me to walk down the beach with her. In the cool morning air, we quietly walked down to the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Together we stood there and took in the incredible vastness of the world. Becca said she wanted people to know she’d been there. Bending over, she wrote her name in the wet sand. I lifted my camera to my face and took the picture you see above.
A decade and a half later, that’s all I want, too.
A few days after Becca was killed I started to write her letters. Letters turned into writing down all the memories I have of her so they wouldn’t be gone when I die. Which eventually took the form of a book. A book I am currently putting together. Spending long hours going over my writing can be very difficult. Stir up emotions that were settled for a time. Some days, it’s just too painful.Most days, actually.
Somewhere along the way . . . others started to help me remember her by writing her name in various places around the world. When my friends travel anywhere, they thoughtfully send me a picture of Becca’s name in a new location. People I’ve never met in person have done the same for us. I’m humbled and in awe that people are taking the time to help me keep my daughter’s memory alive.
This is what we want. We need to know that our child won’t be forgotten. They were here.
Shortly after Becca died I wasn’t even sure if she’d ever been real. My mind was in the protective fog that envelopes us after a tragedy. At times I was convinced she had just been a beautiful dream. Now, I do all that I can to put her name in the thoughts of others. That’s where she is now. No longer flesh and bone, she’s made of memories and the love we carry for her. She exists because we exist. And we remember.
In the past three days, two people have sent me photos of my daughter’s name on the beach where they are visiting. Places I’ve never been. Stretches of sand my daughter will never visit. When people walk by, and see her name, they won’t know who she is . . . but my baby girl is thought of and that is what makes my heart happy.
Thank you, all of you, who remember my beautiful daughter. You have no idea the healing it gives my broken heart.