8½ years ago, our family went on a surprise New Years Trip to Florida where each of our kids got to go to their “special place.” For our daughter, it was to Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. For one of our sons, it was Legoland. And for our other son, it was a trip across the state to Clearwater to see an amazing dolphin named Winter. He had read the book about Winter many times and we had watched the movie Dolphin Tale more times than I could count. He LOVED this amazing dolphin and the incredible story of saving her after she lost her tail. Unlike the big, fancy amusement parks, Clearwater Marine Aquarium at the time was not that fancy but it was the home of Winter. So many people had come to see her who themselves were disabled and found hope and strength in the story of this little dolphin who beat the odds.
These are my two favorite photos from our time there. But the one of just my son’s hand on the glass and then in the water you can see Winter with her prosthetic tail and the legs of one of her care givers – that one holds a special place for me. He was so excited to get to see Winter in person and he finally was able to do so.
Winter died last night held by the care team who had been with her since she was brought to CMA back in 2005 without much chance of survival. Just reading some of the comments online today, she gave hope to so many. You know, if a dolphin can do that, maybe I can and you can as well.
Thank you Winter.