Dad likes long walks on the beach. On Vacation, he takes off nearly every day alone (though sometimes with my Mom), his big tall white self moving along, swinging those big arms the way he does, big gentle grin tilted up at the sky, like he’s always giving thanks. This arm-swinging, glory-giving walk is so distinctive we can pick him out even when he’s far away, even when he’s strolling through the crowds of people way down the beach around the resorts. He’ll stop a few times and just walk into the ocean until he’s about shoulder-deep, sometimes float on his back for a while out there all alone.
I think about him more tenderly after certain events: his heart attack when I was in college, his scare with the big C this winter and my Granddad’s death this spring. And I think this is what it will be like when he leaves this world, just getting up from his chair and walking toward wherever he’s led in gratitude.