Julian was always looking for a quiet moment to sneak away and go spearfishing. Often, these times were when he was struggling the hardest… I know, because he would call me. He loved his islander friends, and especially his dear friend, “Manny,” who initially taught him how to spearfish. He soon became obsessed, and it was not long before he was out recruiting others to tag along!
It was not always easy to find a buddy that was as passionate about diving as he became… True to his nature, he was quickly pushing the envelope of what he was capable of doing out in the ocean—particularly under the water!!! Being from Colorado, and also not learning to swim until he was nearly twelve years old, I was both in awe at his new-found love, but also on edge every time he went out until I knew he had made it back home safely!
There were many times he would even go alone… Though it made me nervous, I could also easily relate and understand; I have often done solo adventures myself for the same reasons. When the only option is to not do what you love because there is nobody to adventure with you, we can either choose to proceed alone, or cease to do that which we love—at risk of never truly living. Julian was always extremely careful, and a very level-minded soul, but he most certainly held within him an extra-large dose of courage!!! Even though I worried, he was always considerate enough to call or text me afterwards saying he was home safe again… I never truly rested those nights until that message would finally come through!!! My prayers were continually answered.
Last year, the day before Mother’s Day, he headed out on a solo fishing trip. He was sorting through a lot in his mind, and would often go to the beach just to think and clear his head. This particular day, he was looking forward to fishing at his favorite spot, but sadly, when he arrived, there were people already there. He instead opted to go on a hike through the jungle, where he later reported seeing large hermit crabs and numerous “pretty” seashells—among other things…
Afterwards, when he messaged me to say he was done (safe), he also sent me a beautiful photo of himself holding a lovely white flower he had found while there. He did not know what it was called when I asked (I am no flower expert either!!!), but I immediately treasured his photo. Since I had been speaking to him just before his trek, and then immediately after, I felt as though I had been right there with him taking in the moment.
Somehow, notwithstanding his demanding work/training schedule, my boi always managed time for me…, and I knew without a doubt that he loved and appreciated me. In many ways, we were best friends. I did not take it personal, when the day following, he did not call to wish me a happy Mother’s Day; I knew he had probably forgotten… And that was ok!!! He had already, unwittingly, just given me the most lovely Mother’s Day flower ever!!!!!
I soon found out that it was an Easter lily. How fitting… Little did I realize then how significant the white flower would eventually become to me! When Easter was here just the week before last, I now pondered upon the meaning of this photo and flower. It is bright and precious—just like my son’s radiant soul. He was an absolute jewel—even Heaven’s best!!!
Not only did the white flower remind me now of that beautiful Saturday morning I “spent” with my son, but it also came to me that it was a sign from him (and God!) that the Easter resurrection we celebrate is REAL. We WILL be together one day—never to be separated again. EVERY DAY, I LIVE FOR THAT DAY—whether it comes soon, or whether it comes fifty years from now!!!
I later asked him what he did with his flower. For all I knew, he might have given it to a special someone, and I never actually told him I called it “My Mother’s Day flower!!!” He told me he had placed it in a cup of water on the table in his room. It warmed my heart sooo much to know that my Julian NEVER lost his soft, tender side—in spite of his rugged and tough warrior spirit! He was EVERYTHING that I had EVER hoped my son would become, and then much, much more…
I miss him.