Sea Glass to Ashes


Dear Mama,

It’s almost your birthday.  I dislike this day now because you’re not around to celebrate it and blow out the candles.  I will still do things to keep you in memory.  When I go sea glass hunting, I’ll be wishing you were somewhere along the beach, peering over into the sand, finding a very special piece of sea glass – a rare red or something!  At which point we meet halfway and you’re eager to show me its beauty and place it in the jar.  I feel so alone all the time mama – I really wish we could talk.  You’re such an amazing listener – I wanna listen to you now.  As usual, I don’t how know to live without you.  I can’t figure it out, mama.  I cry myself to sleep because me against the world is exhausting.  You and me against the world is easy as pie.  You made me believe I could conquer anything – achieve everything.  How do I learn to love myself again without you?  Maybe the problem is that I don’t want to.  I want to live with you.  I miss you more than anything.  I love you always.



One of my mama’s very favorite things to do when she would visit me, in Los Angeles, was to go sea glass hunting on the beaches.  The spring of 2010, I took her to El Matador beach in Malibu, my favorite beach in Southern California, by far.  We spent the afternoon exploring the caves and rocks, taking pleasure in the soothing feeling of the sand between our toes and hunting for tiny pieces of smooth, colored glass.  It was always the simple things in life that brought joy to my mama, another virtue she appreciatively bestowed upon me.


It’s incredible knowing what I know now that I didn’t know April 3rd of this year – knowing the loss of myself wasn’t primarily about losing my mother and knowing that she’s always with me, even in her death.  The loneliness is still a factor but it’s manageable and I still find myself desperately craving my mama’s ear but I’ll just start talking to her.  She may not respond but I know she’s listening and I know she’s proud of me and that makes me against the world easy as pie now. ;-)

Thanksgiving of 2011, I was back at El Matador beach with my mother, only, I was solemnly spreading her ashes along the shore and into the anxious surf.  It was strange and bittersweet doing so in that a little over a year prior I was walking along the coastline with her.  On the long drive there, I deliberately listened to Jackson Browne’s, “The Pretender,” on repeat, as that was one of our songs and it always reminded me of her.  In anticipation of what I was about to do, I cried hard and I cried a lot.  One might think it hard to visit this particular beach now but in actuality, it’s peaceful.  I liken it to folks who visit their deceased loved ones at a gravesite – I go to El Matador beach in Malibu.



4 thoughts on “Sea Glass to Ashes

  1. Oh my, I think you are my twin. In some feelings anyway. Your words really touched me. I am so fortunate that my spry 82 year old mama is still here. My heart just ached for you when I read your letter to yours. I will feel the same way I know. I’m glad your lonliness is manageable now.
    Matador Beach?! I travel in my job and while in LA took a drive up the coast and just had this feeling… Got out, went down the steps and was so pleasantly surprised! And I thought, here I am from South Carolina, and I’ve found this spot, and no one is here but me! Beautiful place.
    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Margo, your words warmed my heart and yes, you will probably feel similarly when, God forbid, your mama passes. I have a few best girlfriends who are as close to their mothers as I was to mine and I dread the day they must go through what I’ve been through.

      It is truly a small, small world – I am glad you’ve gotten to experience the splendor that is El Matador Beach! I thank you for reading, as well – I hope you will continue to do so and I thank you for sharing. Best wishes to you and yours.

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