The idea for this trip to Maine was a distant star that only a mother could see. With a house booked and contingencies in place, it was a vision of lobster rolls served at picnic tables in a blissful period of relief, for at least long enough to give Evan a well-deserved break. Leading up to the August 2013 trip, this desirous little star faded until it was stubbed out completely -- from the darkness emerged a fiery meteor powerful enough to punch us square in the gut. All of a sudden, going to Cape Elizabeth was more possible under the worst circumstances.
One night Susan made an incredible clam feast with shells towered so high, it’s in my memory like a Dr. Seuss illustration. We paddled canoes out to an uninhabited island that felt like a Tom Sawyer outpost, a ramshackle fort in the middle of the woods and wild blueberries everywhere. And one afternoon we gave some of Evan's ashes to the Atlantic Ocean along an extreme stretch of coastline, waves crashed loudly all around us. This was the first family scatter.
After spreading some of a son, brother, husband and friend, I hung back to take photographs of the sea that Evan was stretching out in. I remember looking back at the family held-up along the rocky hillside as they idled brokenhearted. I took a photo of them at this moment that’s included here. It’s an important picture because it still-frames a powerful bolt of concern that came over me. What happens now? What will this do to their bedrock, to the stitching that binds them together? There was no precedent to this paralyzing sadness, the future was nowhere, and everyone was exposed and left feeling vulnerable.
Looking back on this photo, it’s important to pass along an assurance that this family is doing well. I can say this with candor —we spend a lot of time together. They carry Evan with them along a steadfast course of lives worth leading. They remain strong because they remain united. They laugh and they love, while they grieve. Although I wish things were different, I feel fortunate to be part of this journey with them. They have my sword and together we’re making it happen as Evan intended, for as long as we’re able.
- Alexander Maxwell