Over the July 4th weekend, Clare and I jetted out to SoCal to visit with my Dad, and more directed for Clare, to get down to the Pacific Ocean and frolic on the beach.

The first place I took her, because I love the cliffs, tide pools, and history, was Crystal Cove, between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. As we were relaxing on the sand, a woman loudly said, “This is OUR circle. This is OUR PROFESSIONAL circle.”

Clarissa Clare Nina Castellano

Flippantly, I said to Clare, “I don’t even know what that noise was.” Clare laughed that laugh that gave you the gift of an entire universe to live for, just to hear her laugh again. Fortunately, I was good at doing this.

The next thing we saw were these portable hibachis with giant inflated wheels/tires. I said to Clare, “Look, NASA used those on the moon. They’re moon buggy barbecues.”

More Clare laughter. Multiverse!

And then we heard a teenage boy say, “Okay, we have the hamburgers and hotdogs in this bag, and we have the buns in this bag.”

To which I smirked, “These guys really are professional. They’ve got the capacity to separate their proteins and carbs into two different bags.”

More Clare laughter. So much Clare laughter.

This was one of her favorite stories to tell friends, and many of my friends brought up this story at our November 10 Celebration of the Life of “Clare” Clarissa Nina Castellano. Which happened to be my birthday. To which I asked everyone to ignore so we could celebrate Clare’s life.

This might not be the funniest story in the entire history of ever, and I intend to tell the narrative of each of our happy memories, for this also is a way to celebrate her life.

Oh, and I learned this day she was not fond of the word “Moist.” That’s another tale for another article.

My hope and gift is for friends and family who didn’t know the Clarissa Nina Castellano I loved to understand why it is so effortless for me to love Clare. As we discovered through our months together, before my potassium level betrayed me and her failing body and mind betrayed her.

There is so much to love about Clare, something anyone who knew her probably already knows. Telling Noah about the Flood is a talent of mine.

Visit the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance Albuquerque chapter for their touching memorium to Clare Clarissa Nina Castellano.