ORANGE BEACH, Alabama, was the site of so many happy memories for my family. For 20 years my parents rented a condo on the beach for one week in August. But this year was different. It was our first trip without Mom.
“I’m glad we came,” my sister said as we unloaded the car. “Mom would have wanted us to all be here.”
There was no doubt about that. Last summer, when Mom was in the hospital with leukemia, she still insisted we get to the beach. She even surprised us by getting strong enough to come along! She peeled peaches with us in the kitchen, baked one of her famous pies, sat by the pool, played card games, did jigsaw puzzles. At night Mom and I always slept on an air mattress on the balcony, and every morning we woke to a glorious sun rise over the ocean. We tried our best to be quiet while we chatted before everyone else got up. But sometimes our excitement was hard to contain.
“I see a dolphin!” Mom said one morning, pointing down to the water.
“There are two!” I said, following the shapes with my finger.
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