Sand Dollar, Broken and Raw

The sand was hot and the air was thick and heavy for a November day at the beach. Wednesday afternoon, and I was practically all alone. Finally. After weeks of craving time alone at the ocean, here it was. Me. And God. We have a lot of talking to do. Here on the same beach where Mom experienced her last ocean visit just over a year ago, as she recovered from her latest treatment to stem her cancer pain. Just one more battle in the war that ended three months ago.

I was also on the hunt to add to my sand dollar collection I started that week, 16 months ago, while I ran on the beach to escape the pain of a terminally ill mother and a husband recovering from open heart surgery. I found the perfect souvenir as soon as I reached the hard-pack sand; at least I thought I had. When I picked up the small treasure, I discovered the sand dollar only looked whole.

While the top layer was intact, the entire underneath portion was gone. Turning the “half dollar” over in my hand, I thought, How appropriate. This is me! From the outside, I look whole. At least I think I do. One foot in front of the other. In exactly the places you would expect to find me: at my desk, at my Rotary meetings, at Zack’s cross country meets, running with my friends in the morning. But, like my sand dollar, I am really broken and just a shell of myself. Exposed…nerves and emotions raw, tender. Exposed. Such is the life of a grieving daughter. Which, of course, is exactly what brought me to the ocean in the first place. Begging it to soothe my soul, to drown my cries. I thought I wanted to talk to God. Maybe I just need to be still and listen.

I will try.



10 thoughts on “Sand Dollar, Broken and Raw

  1. My heart goes out to you Cheryl. How beautifully are your written words to express what is going on inside you. It could describe everyone of us, who wear many hats and still have to care for an elderly parent; all the while knowing that the end of their life is closer than we want. We hang on so tight, hoping that will be enough, but knowing full well it’s not, nor will be. I am there, watching my dear mother declining bit by bit. I dread the time I know is coming. My prayers go out on your behalf, Cheryl. May our Father’s arms embrace you and the Holy Spirit pour oil of comfort into your soul. Love you!


    1. Oh thank you so much for your note, Lynn, and especially for your prayers. I know you know and experience the special bond between mothers and daughters (on both sides for you).


  2. That was beautiful. It said it all so well. I know you are right where God wants you to be & your heart is open for a little bit more healing. You are so special and you mean so much to me. I know you know this but I had to put it in words anyhow. You’re too far away for a hug 😉.
    Remember: the wind in your face, the warm sand on your feet, the sunset shadows….they’re all hugs from God.
    ❤️ 🙏 😇


  3. Cheryl, I too share your feelings. My Mom has been in heaven now for more than six years along with my Dad and brother. It’s still fresh to me how much I miss her after all these days gone by. Being a busy working mom isn’t always easy to find quiet moments to reflect on the healing we need. I have come to learn finding moments to be with my thoughts and reflect on great memories I have help me to find my smile again. My hope for you is that you will feel some peace upon your return.


    1. Thank you so much, Deanna, for your encouragement. Women who have lost their moms have been such a support; it’s like a club no one wants to be in. 😦 This time away has been good but I know the next couple of months will continue to be extra hard, with the holidays. Thanks again.


  4. So beautiful, and so great to hear that you are taking time with yourself and God. My healing prayers and thoughts are with you. The Central Coast remains in my heart as a place I could always find peace and joy. Much love to you in your search to find the whole sand dollar in you.


  5. I’m starting the blog…you’re an amazing writer and the fact that I care and love you so much is making it a hard read…soldering on;)


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