Tuesday 14th July
Here we are, half way through July, and it’s grey, misty and wet again. Not that it should bother me too much now, as I can’t really stay out in the sun like I used to. Having melanoma makes you think twice, cover up more, use high factor sunscreen, and wince when you see sunburnt holidaymakers. But it would be pleasant if it was a little warmer and acted a bit more like summer.
You wouldn’t have minded though, on with the raincoat, hood up, and off you’d go, traipsing around the town. When you came back home, you’d strip off, leaving your wet clothes in a pile on the floor, and go and put your dressing gown on. If you then decided to go out again, you’d go and find another set of dry clothes. You really did fill up the laundry basket quickly!
When we were on holiday, we used to have torrential downpours in South Carolina and Florida. But it was warm rain, and you knew it wouldn’t last all day. You used to like the thunderstorms too, watching the lightning from the safety of the hotel room or balcony, and listening to the cracks of thunder overhead. You certainly weren’t scared.
The only time you didn’t like the rain was when it stopped the rides at the theme parks: then it was a real nuisance. You’d probably go and find an indoor show or movie, and wait for the storm to pass.
We’ve been through a few hurricanes as well, whilst on my father’s yacht. The first ever time we all sailed with him, around Bermuda, the island was hit, and we had to tie up alongside, in Riddles Bay. I remember it being very noisy, with the wind howling and the rigging rattling, whilst we all huddled below decks, but you were safe with us and not frightened at all.
A number of hurricanes have come ashore over the years whilst we’ve been in South Carolina too, but we took everything in our stride. Rain, winds and floods wouldn’t spoil our holidays. One year the prolonged downpours brought an alligator into the marina, and you were fascinated by the creature. My father took us once to his favourite golf course, where one could always be seen very close to the fairway, where it lived in one of the lakes. And talking about alligators: one year when we were staying on Hilton Head Island, a six foot alligator found its way into the hotel pool. Critter management was called to remove and return it to its own habitat. You found that quite funny!
When we come to visit you this morning it is drizzling, not like a normal summer’s day at all. The sky is overcast, there are no vapour trails of planes taking people off on their vacations, and rain drips down from the branches of trees. But it’s not cold, quite muggy in fact, and a little steamy.
You’d be quite excited by now, with your summer holiday imminent. You’d be walking around with the itinerary I would have printed out. A week and a half, and we’d be on our way to another American adventure. But not this year. We just can’t go without you. Things are too raw at the moment. I know you’re with us, in our hearts, and you always will be, but we cannot make the trip this year.
Have fun in the theme park of angels, my darling son.
Laugh, run around, and enjoy yourself.
We think of you so much.
And we miss you more than words can say.