Recently, I discussed my tendency to “collect” places. With a love of travel that guides me around, I try to develop a relationship with every new place I visit. Sometimes it’s a genuine kinship, as I feel for Thailand, a place I will likely live in again. Sometimes it’s a sort of spiritual admiration, as I felt in Sedona, Arizona. Sometimes it’s an unbridled enthusiasm, as I felt eating my way up the coast in Croatia on my honeymoon.
But with the places where we spent much of our childhood, we tend to have complex, bittersweet relationships. One of those places for me is Sag Harbor and the surrounding area on eastern Long Island. My mother’s parents lived in Sag Harbor when I was growing up, and we spent many summers and holidays there.
I knew the Hamptons as fun little towns with movie theaters and good ice cream before I knew them as “trendy.” The area’s beaches on the dark, tumbling waters of the Atlantic formed my experience of The Ocean. I loved the beachy lifestyle—the nautical-themed decor, outdoor showers, kite shops, my grandparent’s collection of beach chairs. All happy memories.
In recent years, however, circumstances have added to the cache of more solemn memories that deepen the complexity this place holds for me. My grandparents aging, and then passing away. A memorial service for my sister Kirby after she died unexpectedly in October 2009.
This weekend, I travel down there again for another memorial service, this one for my cousin Logan who did not recover from his accident a month ago.
This service will be at the field where Logan grew up playing baseball, a place that meant something special to him and his family. It is intended to be a celebration of his life, as a twin brother, a son, a new husband, a cousin, nephew, friend.
Celebrating a life cut off way too soon will be difficult, but I’m sure our family will manage–we are quite good at celebrating. As is often the case with these situations, it will feel good to be with everyone in spite of the shitty circumstances, to share memories and support one another. And I’ll leave with another bittersweet memory of this place that been such an important part of my family’s history.
Thanks, everyone, for thinking of Logan after his accident. Please continue to keep his family in your thoughts, especially this weekend.