My birthday was on Saturday. It was the first birthday I’ve had to spend without my husband in the last eleven years. My birthday was always a big deal to him. He needed to ensure it was extra special for me and it always was. We did shopping sprees and amusement parks – but my favorite, and what we did most often, were our beach weekends.
He was afraid of the water; he didn’t swim well and, despite my best efforts to teach him, couldn’t float. But he loved taking me to the beach. He knew I loved it there and he loved to see me happy, but the beach made him pretty happy too all on it’s own. He got stressed easily and there was no better escape than the sea. It has magic powers and holds many of my favorite memories in it’s wake.
I remember Dan spilling the beans a few weeks before each of our trips because he was adorable and couldn’t keep a secret no matter how hard he tried, much to his dismay. We would daydream and look forward to our adventures every single day leading up to them. I would always do the packing. He would always do the driving. I remember the music we listen to on the road. The fancy hotels we stayed at.
The palm trees. The bright yellow sun welcoming and challenging us to take it all in. The expansive amounts of blue. Walking barefoot through the soft warm sand with the cool breezes across our faces. Splashing in the crystal clear water and laughing so loud people stared. Kissing so much people shook their heads. Their heads only made us laugh harder.
I remember playing mini golf amongst hundreds of dragonflies. Playing Yahtzee while eating sandwiches. Playing giant chess at midnight. ‘Swimming’ in every single pool. Searching the shore for treasures. Jumping over and away from seaweed and crabs. Literally smelling the roses. Smelling my favorite sent in the world while siting fireside and being serenaded by acoustic guitar under the stars. Eating the best, most expensive, meal of my life. Struggling for three days to wash all the tiny sea shell pieces off our bodies. Siting in a European Cafe drinking authentic Coke from glass bottles.
I remember waking up to only each other and the ocean as the sun rose above the horizon turning the world golden. The sound of the waves crashing into each other and onto the shore. The seagulls flying above our heads. Hours of just starring out and marveling at the never ending view of one of God’s most spectacular creations. His voice whispering in my ear how I too was one of those such creations. Clasping hands with each sunset and walking in silence along the shoreline, having no need for conversation. Both sharing the same simple thoughts of love and gratitude. Sitting on the balcony just looking at each other and listening to the waves as if time didn’t exist. The peace. The calm. Feeling, for just a moment, like the world was as perfect as we were.
I miss him. It hurts. It hurts so very much. But I’m lucky. I’m so lucky to have had him. I’m so lucky he is mine for eternity; I will be with him again.
As my birthday this year approached so did the dread. NOTHING could make up for his presence. I was extremely tempted to stay home in pjs all day and do nothing but cry while watching sad movies and eating junk. I wanted to be sad. I wanted to be selfish and feel sorry for myself. But then… I didn’t. I had a thought. A brilliant thought.
I would take my children to the beach on my birthday. Since my husband is no longer able to take me there, I would take my children. I would continue the tradition of making my birthday a day to celebrate life and love.
And that’s what I did.