Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. They’ve been very difficult to get through since my husband passed away. Unfortunately, the passage of time doesn’t make them any easier. While I was reminiscing, I re-read this piece I wrote. It was published in my writers group online magazine (http://atableintheback.blogspot.com) earlier this year but I want to share it here too.
How I love the ocean.
When I was young my mother would make a lunch, pack us up in the car and drive from Boston to Gloucester, Massachusetts on Sunday afternoons. Mom had a bad case of wanderlust so for her gazing out at the ocean meant plotting possible places to land. I must have inherited my love of the sea from her. She’d park along the shore road so we could get out and walk. The shoreline in Gloucester is glorious and the air is salty and brisk, no matter the season. I loved running along, challenging the grey water and annoying the fisherman from the enormous rocks at the edge of the water.
When Bill and I were dating and had money to burn, we vacationed in Nassau in the Bahamas. We went to nighttime barbeques hosted by hotels on the beach where we danced in the sand under colored lights strung from poles. In the daytime we rode horses in the blue waves and white foam of the tide. We lay in the sun holding each other. For us, the beach was romance.
After we married and had children, Newport R.I. became our family getaway spot. It was only an hour and a half from our home so it was easy for us to go there on day trips to swim and enjoy the seaside. When the kids were in elementary school we spent their spring vacation weeks there. We’d get a time-share right on the water where I’d stare at the yachts on the horizon late at night, relaxing and losing myself in the their rocking on the waves.
The ocean has always been one of my best friends. Right now I’m sitting on a different beach looking out at another lovely ocean view. I thought coming here to Cancun would be good for me. I thought seeing the sun and the ocean in a different place would rejuvenate me. I bought this e-reader so I could read on the beach. It’s supposed to symbolize that I recognize my vacations have to have a new take on an old theme. I feel foolish using it though. It doesn’t make me less of an old woman sitting alone, passing the time.
I know I should be grateful that I have memories but I miss those good times on the water and I miss everyone so much. Mom and Bill are gone. The kids aren’t kids anymore and they’re off making their own memories. It’s a gloriously sunny day and I’m sitting here watching plucky seagulls hop across the sand but Bill isn’t here to make jokes about them. I see children up the shoreline playing in the surf and I wish they were mine. The beauty here seems cruel because I don’t have anyone to share it with.
It’s such a beautiful day and I’m here wrapped up in my sarong and my own arms. But this is my “new normal” as my therapist calls it. It’s my new reality and I’ll have to get used to it. So I’ll be taking a walk along the beach, leaving a single set of footprints behind me.
Yesterday my church group helped serve at Open Table, a feeding program for the homeless run by Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, DC. During the following debriefing session, one of our members talked about how the experience slapped her in the face with the reality of her privilege. She eloquently talked about the privilege of food security and permanent shelter. Later last night, I found out that this month is Hunger Action Month. I was slapped in the face with the reality that I’m privileged enough to have been unaware of this until the middle of the month.
I’m going to try to spend the rest of this month staying mindful that hunger is a huge and unnecessary problem in this country. I watched a very good documentary last night on Netflix that I recommend, if you haven’t already seen it, called “A Place At the Table”.
Also, you can go to Feeding America.org for more information.
Oops!! A couple of weeks ago I cavalierly posted a piece called “Welcome Back” which I have since deleted. It was a case of blogging without thinking. I really shouldn’t have assumed I knew how the WordPress pages feature works before I wrote about the grandiose plans I had for them. It turns out I’d have to PAY to have them formatted the way I’d like. That’s not going to happen. (I’m cheap.) I might decide to pop for the fancy pages in the future but more than you ten people will have to be reading me before I do that. (I did buy a domain so it’s just stopalongtheway.net now… That only cost $18.) I added the Category widget to my home page to accommodate the growing number of my topics without the expense. You can read about the changes to Stop Along The Way on the new “What’s Here” page.
Seriously though, I meant it in my deleted post when I said I appreciate those who read and/or follow me. I hope I will continue to provide content that helps you on your journey.