Home > Family, Grief, Love > The Sisterhood of the Waves

The Sisterhood of the Waves

At 2:35 p.m. on March 4, 2011, I soared over the ocean in a Ferris wheel.

I seldom remember what I was doing any given day, let alone any hour or minute, but this was a moment I needed to spend laughing.

My mom had died one year ago that very minute, and I wanted to make sure I spent that minute’s entirety remembering not how my mom died, but how she lived. We’d laughed together on that Ferris wheel on her one vacation. That very same trip, she’d shouted for me and Jay Leno to get a “chin shot, chin shot!” on account of our mutually sizable chins.

Chin shot

We got it.

Today I visited the ocean. As one toddler held my hand and splashed in the shallowest water, I remembered his older brother doing the same the afternoon we rode that Ferris wheel.

Sand and sea

March 4, 2011

Li’l D was then the age Littler J is now.

I smiled. Mom used to take my siblings and I to the ocean as often as she had energy and gas money for it. She loved standing where ocean meets land, so that I feel her in my every ocean visit, though I seldom jump in the water myself these days.

As today’s trip wound down, a friend and I rushed the water while our husbands watched our kids. “We should never be too grown up to do this!” my friend exclaimed before disappearing under the water.

I kicked my feet out behind me and pressed them together, flipping them around as if I was a mermaid in a game my younger sister and I used to play. I dove under the water and let my feet drift to the surface. I floated there on the water for a few moments–or was it an eternity?–and watched the sun dancing over the water just beyond my purple toenails.

Neither of my sisters was there, but they were.

My mom was not-there and there, too.

“We are The Sisterhood of the Waves,” I said to the sky, thinking of my mom and my sisters and the girlfriends who stood in the ocean with me the summer I knew I’d someday make Los Angeles my home and my friend there with me today.

When I waded out of the water, I felt how my body still rocked as if I were still submerged, and as I continue to rock even now. I grinned. I love how the ocean reminds me it’s still there even when I can’t see it.

It’s like that with people, too, I decided as I patted sand off my toddler.

I can’t see my mom. I can’t touch my mom. But I am still,

and will forever be, swaying in her tide,

exuberantly, joyously, and eternally

part of her Sisterhood of the Waves.

A month ago,
I told you how my younger sister
lifted our mom into and was the light
as Mom died.

I then told you,
in much more detail
than I ever have before,
what it was like to lose Mom
in mind before losing her
in body.

The first post is here;
there’s a navigation bar at its bottom
that will take you to the next post.

My youngest sister, Madeline,
shared some of her own
experiences loving Mom.

And today,
as I splashed in the water
with my boys, my younger sister, Rache,
shared a little of her
Loss(es) of a Mother.

If you read the post,
which I hope you will,
I think you will understand
why I described my mom as being
lifted into and by
the light.

And I think you will understand that,
though my siblings and I shared many
unfortunate circumstances,
we were greatly blessed
to have each other,
and remain so
very blessed


  1. September 20, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    This stirs up many emotions and is beautifully written.

    • September 20, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you. It felt good to write that through the tired, though it went differently than I imagined. (Then again, what post doesn’t?!)

  2. September 20, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Hurting with you all, hurting for you all – and so grateful that you have each other as a bulwark against anything which may come your way.

    • September 20, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you. I felt so light of heart as I wrote this, really; like Rache mentioned a couple weeks back, the good in revisiting this all is realizing how strong we are from our experiences. It was easy to feel like we would be broken from them, but that wasn’t the case at all.

      And there’s been something powerfully healing that I could never have anticipated from it all. I considered wrapping it into the coffee share post, but … I don’t think that would be right. So when it’s ready, the post about that gift will–I hope–illuminate how very much lighter my heart feels now than I could’ve imagined two short weeks ago. 🙂

  3. September 20, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful, beautiful post. This is yet another reason I am so incredibly grateful for the sisters (and brother!) I have been blessed to call friends. You move and inspire me – always.
    your Silver Star

    • September 23, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      Funnily, I opted not to reblog because not too many people follow the reblogs. I hoped by turning it into a story, more folks would follow the link. Now I wonder if I should’ve reblogged … but, y’know, there’s no saying I couldn’t later, or with a forthcoming post!

      I love you,
      your Dark Moon

  4. September 21, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you Deborah for this beautiful post. I have been moved beyond words through these stories. Your sibling and you have gained so much strength through this. I know this because of many hurdles I had to go through in my life. We do become stronger through the journey. Much admiration for. You and your family.

    • September 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      We really do become stronger, individually and collectively, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

      Thank you. ♥

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