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Learning to carry memories with ease

By Ronnie Michel

The beach. It’s one of my favorite places to pray and ponder, sit and sleep, read and write.

It’s also the place I’ve avoided for the past two summers. I couldn’t imagine returning without my sister Kay. While other family members occasionally joined us, Kay and I were the consistent beachgoers. Our last trip held no clues it would be our last. There was no indication she would die three months later.

Last week, I returned to the beach with my husband’s side of the family. It was good to be back, great to see relatives who traveled from Texas, New York, Illinois, and Georgia, and to create new memories of sun and fun-filled days. But it would have been a lot better for me had I not looked at Facebook.

Right before heading to dinner in my brother-in-law’s condo, I glanced at Facebook and a three-year old video popped up on my account. On the exact day in 2018, on my last beach trip with Kay, I had scanned a room filled with relatives having dinner and captioned the post, “I never want to forget nights like these.”

Also without warning, a line from an old song filled my mind. “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” I felt a challenge to apply those words to my memories.

The times I shared with Kay are golden. For the rest of the week, Facebook memories made me smile, even if the smile started off a little shaky and I kept the volume off until I could emotionally brace myself. Watching granddaughters Caroline and Emma Kate experience the Gulf for the first time while visiting with 33 family members on the beach is silver.

My silver and gold sets of memories are precious and valuable, but different. Just as I don’t hesitate to mix silver and gold jewelry, I’m learning to walk with ease as I carry memories – the old and the new.

Ronny can be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.