Posted by: donrhymer | October 17, 2013

The Shallow End

I love swimming pools.   When my sister and I were young we spent most of our summer days at our local pool – on the swim team, hanging out with friends (slathered with baby oil for sunscreen, of course), and later teaching swimming lessons and as life guards.  Gail would get “brown as a berry” as my mom would say, and I would get horribly sunburned.

At the end of August the kids and I went to Maine, where Scarlett’s father has a beautiful home.  His kind offer for us to spend a week relaxing was just what we all needed.  It was lovely, and so nice to have time with just the family.  Moving slowly. Kayaks and jigsaw puzzles and tide pools.  Seeing Scarlett’s world.  New memories. Not to mention the lobster!!

In September, some of Don’s screenwriter friends (thanks Beth, Craig, Michael and Brian) hosted a staged reading of one of Don’s scripts that has not been produced.  What a gift that evening was, as we listened to actors read words that were so clearly Don’s voice.  Carrie and Scarlett both were able to read parts, and I’m so grateful for that experience.  I had a chance to reconnect with several people Don had worked with in the past, as well as meet many of his screenwriter friends for the first time.  I felt his presence that evening more acutely than I have in a long time.  As his sister Kelly said the next morning, “He’s everywhere, and he’s nowhere”.  So very true.

In the past few weeks I’ve gone to Vegas for a girls’ weekend to see Elton John in concert.  I traveled to Sedona for a few days to meet a new friend who is also grieving the loss of her husband.  We met through this blog, and she has been my “grief group” for the past few months.  We laughed and cried as we shared stories of our common journeys.   And I’ve been excited to watch the Dodgers make it through the first round of the playoffs – Don would be so happy!

At the same time, I feel as if I am trying to walk in the shallow end of a pool.  I’m in slow motion, plodding through the pool, while everyone else is moving forward.  I can feel the resistance of the water while I’m watching everyone around me swimming, waving at me, splashing.  I’m having a hard time getting moving, getting any traction in life.

But I’m not in the deep end and I’m not in over my head.  I’m not drowning.  I don’t feel paralyzed or stuck.  I’m moving, but I’m moving slowly, keeping my head up.  I am breathing.  I sent my friend Craig an email saying that the reading of Don’s script was bittersweet.  He responded, “Kate, at least it’s not bitterbitter”.  While we agreed that’s not really a word, as a concept it rings very true to me.  Life is not bitterbitter.  There is much that is sweet.  And I have to trust that, with my head above water, I’ll be able to recognize and acknowledge what is certain, what is true.  What was important to Don.  What is God’s grace.   I’ll be able to hold onto the wall and focus on the good.

– Kate



  1. Kate, Don is indeed within us all and all around. Celeste and I were so honored to be present for the reading of “Whirlwind”. What a wonderful piece, so Don in spirit and humor but so unlike some of what we come to know as his work too. We are starting to see trailers for Rio2, he is in our midst, each time. I think he looks down on us each night as the Don in the moon. You are brave and strong and we could see that when we were together with you. Love to you always, your brother, Jim

  2. Kate, you are God’s grace in the world. You write with warmth and humanity and hope. There is a scene in “The Family Stone,” where Diane Keaton’s character and her husband are in bed together. She takes his hand and places his open palm over her mastectomy scar. It’s an intimate and tender gesture, right over her beating heart. That is how your writing makes me feel. Every morning that I have the privilege of reading your blog is a day with a perfect beginning.

  3. Thank you Kate for saying all that my heart feels. You have a gift with analogies and words. May you continue to heal and see God’s grace everywhere. I think of you often and send blessings to you and your children. Take care my friend as Thanksgiving approaches I give thanks for the gift of your friendship.
    All is well.

  4. Keep on walking Kate. Swimming will come. We are all rooting for you. Go Dodgers.

  5. Thank you Kate for sharing your journey with us. I think of you and pray for you often. You have touched my life and the lives of so many. I love you and Thank God for you.

  6. I’m always touched by these posts, and by the unexpected notification of an email from Don. You know how much we love you and respect and appreciate the journey only you can fully understand.

  7. I got married in Sedona. It’s such a beautiful place. I hope you found it healing to look on that beauty. My dad just told me, as I am going through a terrible grief right now, Don always said “Focus on the good.” So I came here tonight to be reminded. Thank you for continuing to to write and to share your process. It really helps and touches me.

  8. My heart skips a beat each time a see a post from your family. I don’t know you but came across Don’s article “Sad Eyes” and his humor, grace and warmth spoke to me. Having survived breast cancer my life took a turn and prompted me to finish writing a little novel I started several years ago that was recently published. I would like to think Don inspired me. Take care.

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