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Finding my Path in the Sun
Dedicated to Stanislaus Gorsek
Submitted by Mary
When my Father died, I was bereft. Eighteen, no relatives in this country and without much of an estate to give me a start. I had graduated high school at the top of my class, but I couldn't figure out where to go from there. My Father had been an immigrant to this country from Yugoslavia, and had dreamed of taking me to visit all fifty states in this land that he loved so much.
We'd made it to almost all of them when a stroke took him, and I was left boxing up his
things on a cold, rainy November afternoon in Oregon. As I pulled his best suit out of the
closet an envelope fell from the pocket of the jacket. I opened it- a Christmas card, to me,
with tickets for two to the last state we hadn't seen. Hawaii. Warm sun, blue skies and sandy beaches seemed impossibly wonderful on that dark day. I cashed the extra ticket in and took that Christmas flight, with an odd feeling of hope in my heart. I would scatter my father's ashes on the sparkling water on our last trip together.
Arriving at Oahu, I made my way to the beach that evening and waded into the warm sea. I thought my salty tears would go unnoticed in that vast ocean, but I was wrong. As I made my way back across the sand, sniffling and heartbroken, I fell on a rock near the shore. Just what I needed, I thought, a broken leg to go with my broken heart. I put my face in my hands and cried.
Someone touched my shoulder then, and I looked up to see a handsome young man with a concerned smile. He asked me if I was alright, as he'd seen me fall. I nodded, and he helped me to my feet. It turned out he was an Oregonian, like me, in Hawaii as a nursing assistant to a traveling elderly woman. Learning that I was alone, he invited me to accompany them on trips to the other islands, and I paused a moment. He was a few years older than me, and I was unsure of the right thing to do. He touched my hand and I looked into his eyes, and I knew I was safe, that this was my path. He had my Father's eyes.
Twenty years later we celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. He nurses me now, as I cope with having Lupus. I haven't been able to give him children, and he has loved, honored, and cherished me all this time. His loving eyes give me the warmth of Hawaii every day, and I would love to be able to give him the gift of a return to Paradise.