That’s a picture of my mother and me on Fire Island, a popular car-free summer vacation spot off the coast of Long Island, New York. I’ve always cherished this photo but appreciate it even more now that I’m a mom.
Looking at it lately, I see things that were invisible to me before I gave birth: I notice my mother carrying our towels and I’m just carefree, riding my tricycle. I’ve also come to recognize the way I’m dressed reflects the outsize love my mother had for me. With red hair and pale skin, she has me absolutely covered — a straw hat to keep the sun off my face, and a long-sleeve shirt so large it goes to my knees.
So, why share this picture? Reminiscing allows us to stay connected to our loved ones and keeping memories alive is key to healing after loss. I encourage you this summer to be proactive about remembering. Look at old photographs. Rethink how a favorite summer tradition began. Focus on the recollections that make you feel adored.
This is what I try to do when I feel sadness and longing bubble up. I consider the little ways my mother showed her love for me. This is what I think about when I head out to the beach in my straw hat and long-sleeve shirt.