Friday, October 1, 2010

wishing it were

Photo by Tom Grey

My daughter, Liv, has always loved stories. Stories of mythical creatures and the lessons these myths hold seem to entice her imagination into applying these learning experiences upon her life.

Awhile back, for movie night, the kids and I watched ""The Secret of Roane Inish". After learning of the legend of the Selkies, Liv was truly enraptured and enthralled.

"The seas around Orkney and Shetland harbour the shy Selkies or Seal-Faeries (known as the Roane in Ireland). A female Selkie is able to discard her seal skin and come ashore as a beautiful maiden. If a human can capture His skin, the selkie can be forced to become a fine, if wistful, wife. However, should she ever find her skin she immediately returns to the sea, leaving the husband to pine and die. The males raise storms and upturn boats to avenge the indicriminate slaughter of the seals." -- Brian Froud and Alan Lee, "Faeries"

Liv has decided that her father was a Selkie. That the pull for the sea was too much for him and he had to return to his home....Leaving us behind - me, his wife and his 'Darkies', the offspring of the Selkie and a human. But she feels that he is happy in the sea and that one day we will see him there amid the waves.

While the thought that the pull of the ocean was stronger than his love for us fills me with sadness, this explanation of his 'departure' from us fits so very well that it carries some ....comfort, even for me. That he is back in the ocean that he so dearly loved. That there is a 'reason' for him to leave us. A need stronger than we were able to fight against.

As I watch my kids learn to accept the loss of their daddy, I find healing in their ideas and theories. To them, I am the giver of comfort. The one who offers a stable shoulder and an empathetic word. And I wonder if they will ever understand that not only does their presence make life more than bearable, but it brings me peace and understanding of our loss.

I know that he died. He is not literally in the sea. I know that he didn't leave us because he was a seal. But the sparkle and wonder in this theory adds a magic that is not present in the 'real' story of his loss.

And I love to imagine him in the place he loved best ~ the sea.


  1. Oh Jackie,
    This post is sweet and makes me smile and tear up all at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jackie, I love this story. My husband was also a lover of the sea and his ashes will be returned to the place he loved to go lobstering. When I go to the ocean, I can not but help think of his spirit living there. Lori

  3. A year ago tonight he held me in his Superman arms for the last time. Arms that made me feel safe, and warm and loved. He trusted them and they let him down.

    I love the idea that he somehow "had" to go and no amount of love could hold him to this earth. It was time and I firmly believe he was taken by the hand. He wasn't afraid - he wanted to go - sad maybe, but such joy as well.

    Thank you Jackie for this beautiful post - feeling overwhelmingly melancholy tonight. I read this and cried, but I smiled as well. Maybe healing really is happening after all.


  4. Beautiful. Children never cease to amaze me. What a comforting thought/story your daughter has imaged for herself.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story and your pain from the loss. It is sweet and heart-wrenching all at the same time. How creative your children are to place their dad in a realm they can understand and be in touch with making the death/loss more tangible than in heaven-a place we cannot see.

  6. This is so beautiful. (And I love that movie!) Thank you for sharing.