Oh, how easy it would be to wallow in the past.
Facebook Memories can be both a blessing and a curse. They allow me to remember things I have forgotten and also reminds me it’s the anniversary of good things that happened, like trips and sometimes the smaller moments in life that become the big memories.
But those good memories can also bring up mixed emotions. Such was the case when the above photo popped up the other day, reminding me it was 7 years ago that we bought this boat. “My husband has a new love,” was the caption.
Memorial Day weekend in my former life meant the official start of “lake life,” early mornings watching the mist rise off the lake from our boat as we fished, but mostly absorbing the beauty around us. Coming home on Sundays and taking an early nap and then enjoying an afternoon/evening of grilling and a couple of beers while on the deck.
Sometimes, as was the case in 2014, it was hosting friends and family on holiday weekends. I declared that weekend we bought the boat, the 4-wheeler and hosted good friends the beginning of “the summer of fun.”
We even called our large deck on the back of the house the “party deck.”
But part of moving forward in our grief is also realizing that those days are gone. Our lives have changed. As I posted this memory to my page, I wrote, “I can’t believe this was 7 years ago. Now the boat and Dale are both gone and while I still live here, so is the ‘lake life.”
I couldn’t handle the boat on my own and fishing, to me, is not fun anymore without my fishing buddy.
Part of moving forward is also making the best of the hand we’ve been dealt. Finding new memories and experiencing joy in our new life. It doesn’t mean we like being a widow (part of the “Club No one Wants to Join).” It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t change it if we could.
But we can’t.
I’m sure those of us of a certain age remember (and maybe even sometimes still hears) the song by Barry Manilow called “Copacabana” in which a woman named Lola, a former dancer, lost her love to a murder. Thirty years later, she still sits at the bar “drinking herself half blind.”
How sad. It highlights anyone grieving has two choices: The first is getting so lost in grief that we cannot let go. We wallow in the “could’ves” and continue to be miserable.
I’ve decided my Dale wouldn’t want that for me. In 2007, we made the decision to move here, to live life as if there were no tomorrow.
He’d want me to live the life he didn’t get to. He’d want me to continue to live large. I want to honor that, not just for him, but also for myself. Life is a gift, but living and loving is a choice.
So, while I will likely have some tears this holiday weekend for what was – honoring my grief – I will also do things that are a part of my life now. Meeting up with friends for a lunch, meeting some others for the outdoor music concert in our town. Cleaning and organizing my writing studio to prepare my career for its’ next chapter.
Moving forward. It’s the only choice for me.
What are you doing to move forward this weekend?