Yesterday turned out to be a special day. A friend handed me an unexpected gift. She introduced me to her husband.

He left this world, far too young, far too early, just over a year ago now.

We walked from her house along a coastal path beside the sparkling silver-blue Waitemata. Yachts boasting snow white sails awaiting a puff of wind to propel them forward, idled out from the beach. Chubby children and ecstatic dogs hurled themselves into turquoise water, shrieking and yapping as the sea lapped their bodies. A first summer swim. Joggers panted past us as we ambled around bay after bay. Scorching sun burnt our noses and I wondered why I never remember to wear a hat.

"Here. Right here," my friend pointed. "Shane, meet Deirdre. Deirdre, Shane."

Standing on crunchy, golden sand, I placed my hand on smooth, black rock where his ashes had been taken by wind and tide, his spirit set free and then we sat with him.

Suddenly an eddy of sunbaked, sand-spotted leaves lifted in the still air and whirled in front of us as we chatted about our new lives, love and loss.

"Hi, Shane. Nice to meet you. And, don't worry, she's doing fine."

The leaves fell back down onto the sand.

A treasured moment. A heartwarming stitch in the fabric of my life.