She walked along the sidewalk that circled the harbor. The wind was blowing almost gale force; a storm was brewing, yet the sun glowed through the distant clouds. This was life. This was her life since her parents died. A tragic accident, doing what they loved best, sailing the coast of California. Their sailboat capsised in a sudden winter storm. No warning. No way to get help. One minute it was bright sun, the next brought thunder and lightning, heavy rain and fierce winds. Their boat never made it back to port.
A distress call was made off the Channel Islands. The boat was taking on water. It wasn’t surprising, dad had just had the boat repaired for a cracked hull, for the third time. She had run the story in her mind a thousand times over the past three weeks. It was a defect they said. An old boat, a bad design, no warranty, and a boat manufacturer that had gone out of business. No one to blame.
The last call was made off Santa Rosa Island, twenty miles off the Santa Barbara coast. The boat and her parents were never found. Almost a month had passed, but the pain and grief were still there. Jeanne Victoria longed to see her parents again, but as she stood facing the slip that they always moored in when they visited Oceanside, she knew she would never see them alive in this world.
She had warned them that sailing in their eighties was a bad idea. Dad wasn’t as strong as he used to be. Mom had broken an arm once and it would certainly just be a matter of time till she broke a hip. But they wouldn’t stop. It’s what they did. They had a little house in Santa Barabara that had lived in for over fifty years, but their sailboat, the Sally Ann, was their love and joy.
Jeanne walked out on to one of the jetties and looked around. She imagined their old boat sailing in the harbor and pulling up to the slip. She imagined mom’s huge smile as she would wave to her only daughter. She imagined dad’s bearhug.
As Jeanne turned back to the sidewalk, the wind blew her hair into her face. It was a cold reminder of the grief she was still feeling. The estate was proceeding and she would soon have to deal with their Santa Barbara house and all their belongings. She was dreading that, fifty years in one house and all the accumulated things that went with it. She would have to deal with it all. Each piece of china, each nicknack with a heartstring attached. Jeanne was an only child and never married, so there would be no one else to help.
Jeanne turned and faced the sun as it dropped lower in the sky. She stared in the face of God and gave them up. “Welcome them home God,” she said softly under her breath. And then God whispered back . . . “Every time you see the ocean remember that they are with me.”
Jeanne smiled and knew that was true. She would always remember her parents and be reminded of them every time she would see the blue water. That was their legacy.
They had truly gone home . . .