The tourist who opened my eyes … by Garry

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The sun beamed down on my freckled forehead as I swam in the clear beach waters of Calpe (Spain), when an unassuming middle-aged man swam towards me. He asked where I was from and within seconds he opened up to me talking about his wife who passed away 3 months ago. It turned out that this 58 year old Belgian was coming to Calpe with his wife every year for the last 30 years. This was his first year alone.

He spoke about how the town has developed so much over the years, but also brought me back to that day in January when his wife was diagnosed with Leukemia having just retired and looking forward to more intimate years together fulfilling the goals they dreamt about for so many years.
I asked him if he planned to return here again next year, but his eyes swelled up and as he looked back to the shore he confessed that he wasn’t too sure. This place of bliss now saddened him with memories. As we floated in the Mediterranean Sea I could see in his eyes how lost and lonely this stranger to me was. I tried to offer words of comfort and encouraged him to talk about his wife and their days here together, yet he seemed to keep looking back at the shore almost hoping to see her appear again one last time.

As we left the sea with evening setting in, he reminded me of how important NOW is. “Don’t put things off” he said, “Don’t say let’s do that together sometime, what you want – do it now, because there may never be another chance. Spend as much of your time with your family, because someday you may be here like me.”

As he walked back to the beach to lay on the numb sand by himself, he seemed a little more content knowing that he was keeping his wife’s memory alive. Maybe he also found comfort in having given some really wise words of wisdom to a stranger who he felt needed them.
In memory of this lady who touched his heart so much, ask yourself “What do I want?”


Do it now, as the sands of time are falling.

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