Finding Fortitude

June 6, 2017

The parking lot was empty as I pulled into the main entrance of the state park. Pulling into my usual spot I look over to him.
“We’re here.” I say gently. I get out and close my door peering across the main trail. I begin to clear my thoughts and start down our path.
As I walk through the forest, all I can hear is the soft crunching of leaves. It’s August now so there are a few orange maples scattered across the woodland floor. If I could see beyond the trees, I know I would see Lake Michigan. Its blue shining water and almost white sand is an image that’s now stuck in my head.
“It’s beautiful today.” I softly say, his lips turn into a small smile. We continue our journey to the lake through this enchanting forest filled with different trees and flowers. There are spots where there aren’t any trees and it looks like the sun is trying to kiss the ground. Long grass sways to a gentle breeze. We have finally approached the sand dune; it towers over the rest of the forest. There are trails that lead me up the dune, so we take one of the trails less traveled, in hopes we will find something we have not seen before. Sliding off my shoes, I carry them in my hands as I begin my surge up the sand mountain. My thoughts begin to consume me. He will always love you, no matter what. While I was deep in my thoughts my foot managed to get tangled under a root and I lunged forward onto the sand. Frustration took over and tears begin to spill down my cheeks.
I look at him with desperation, “Help me, please!” He just stares at me. I pick myself up and calm myself down, everything is okay. We continue up the dune as the trail wraps all the way around and gradually leads us toward the top. Suddenly a butterfly flutters over near my head. I watch its wings come together and seperate quickly, then they slow down and it lands on my arm. It was here for me. As I reach higher and higher, the sun is able to caress more of my being and lift my soul. With each step I carefully observe everything; anything I have the ability to see, I do. The dune grass begins to get thick around my legs and the trail gets smaller and smaller. Once I finally reach the top I can see dozens of different trails that lead to the lakeshore. It looks as if the trails are the veins of the dune; what keeps our dune alive. I take a deep breath in, filling my lungs with nostalgia and exhale with fortitude. The wind blows softly, kissing my cheek; reminding me you’re here for me.
Two years ago, I fell in love with him on this dune. We since then traveled to this dune every summer. We followed almost every single trail and didn’t leave a single stone unturned in hopes we would find treasures. But he isn’t here anymore; he moved away. He moved somewhere into the clouds or beyond them and into the stars. The universe was ready to have his soul and ready to use it for the good of our world. It’s been 3 months since he left, and it hurts just like the day it happened. It took him from me; it’s name was cancer. Although my heart aches for him to be here, I often forget that he is with me. The beach looks as beautiful as it did the first time we reached the top of our dune, but for the first time in months I no longer carry sorrow, it’s as if the wind blew all of the weight off my shoulders; this climb detoxed my soul. I can live in solitude knowing you’re here for me and your spirit keeps our dune alive.

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