A Quiet Whisper ~ Dana

Me, Dad and Derek at Hotel Del Coronado in the 80s.
Me, Dad and Derek at Hotel Del Coronado in the 80s.

The days following the loss of a loved one are some of the hardest days that we live in our lifetimes.  In the past few days, following the death of my sweet daddy on Saturday, mornings have been the hardest.  I wake up and for the briefest of moments, I’ve forgotten.  Then I remember.

Monday morning, Jen published a post about her Mother’s Day.  I knew she had included something about my weekend, but didn’t know what.  Turns out, Jen and her family headed to Hotel Del Coronado for the day.  It also turns out that for years when I was a child, my family and I headed to Hotel Del Coronado for our vacations.  My dad loved it there.  It reminded him of a European hotel, and in those days, was an intimate place with impeccable service, and bellhops and waiters who met you upon check-in and greeted you by name during your stay.  Right up dad’s alley.

My dad didn’t really like to sit on the beach for very long, his fair skin burning too easily, but he passed his days there playing tennis, strolling the grounds, and reading on our balcony overlooking the sand and sea.

And last summer, when dad was too weak to take our planned trip to New Orleans, we retreated to the shores of The Del once again.  Instead of the Mississippi River, we walked along the Pacific Ocean, hand in hand, talking of everything and nothing all at once.

Whether it was God, fate, Universe, Spirit, or just coincidence that led Jen and her family to Coronado, I don’t know.  Maybe it was a quiet whisper from my dad that things will be ok, even though right now it doesn’t feel like things will ever be ok.

But for the rest of my life, I will listen for his whispers, see his hand watching over us, and always remember my sweet dad with a tearful smile.

For You and For Pam and For Me ~ Jen

Dana’s dad, Allen Builteman, passed away on Saturday, May 11, 2013.

Dana might tell the story someday. It’s beautiful. He died peacefully surrounded by the ones who loved him most.

Dana and I had big plans for Mother’s Day on this blog. We have amazing moms. We were going to talk about them.

But then Allen got so sick. And my mom, God bless her, said “Spend the day with your family. We’ll celebrate my Mother’s Day another day”. So I am not going to talk about my mom, Terri, or Dana’s mom, Pam. This week has brought us a little too close to the sacred space of parents, and there just aren’t good or adequate words for us right now. I’ll ask you to pray for them, though. Especially Pam.

When I talked to Dana yesterday morning, she said to me “Have a happy Mother’s Day for me.”

Ok, I thought. I will, dammit. For you and for Pam and for me.

So we went here.


This is Coronado, Ca, one of my favorite beaches in the world. It’s worthless during the month of June and half of July because of gloom. But May can be beautiful.


And this is the world famous Hotel Del Coronado. The Del is over 100 years old and one of the largest all-wooden buildings in California.  The lobby is unbelievable. And yes, it is haunted.


The water was Hawaii clear. This is not normal for California. And my legs are not that white. It’s the Instagram.


It never fails that every time we go, Kate will scream “MOM! GOLD!!!” I don’t know what that is in the sand and I am too tired to look it up. But it’s cool.

Lastly, there’s this. I think the Del owns the beach in front of the hotel and they oh-so-nicely put a bar right on the boardwalk. So we got these. Seemed right.


For Allen. For Dana and for Pam and for me. For Terri. For all moms. For all dads. For that sacred space that is our parents. For the love of God.

And for beautiful days at the beach.