It was exactly one year ago today that I sat on the beach with my husband on a Sunday afternoon discussing the steps necessary for him to get a business started. After pursuing a career in golf for several years, he had decided it might be time to think about earning a steady income again.
It certainly wasn’t that he wanted to give up the dream, but he felt that he might have a better chance if he could also bring in a bit of extra money while doing so. Golf is an expensive dream, in case you were wondering.
[A always wanted to leave a legacy for his children so they would never be forced into a job they hated simply to pay the bills. That was a major part of his dream about becoming a professional golfer; he wanted to ensure that we were all well provided for. Ironically, that’s exactly what didn’t happen. He left us so suddenly and so ill-prepared that we are still reeling from it all, including the financial impact.]
In order to bring in money while keeping the golf dream alive, he also needed the freedom to practice and enter tournaments without worrying about asking for time off. He had recently begun doing handyman-type work for a few individuals and really enjoyed the physical aspect of working with his hands again. That was always the part of HVAC work that he loved; it gave him a great sense of pride to figure out a solution to a problem and then be able to fix it.
So after a morning spent on a two-hour drive, some time wandering through the mall making a few purchases, and a quick lunch, we sat on the beach for a few hours and talked about our future.
We made both practical plans (what would be needed to start a business, the best way to advertise, what types of jobs he would consider taking, etc.) and more romantic ones (the freedom to vacation whenever and wherever, entering a few tournaments on the Champions tour of the PGA now that he was 50). We tossed around a few ideas for a business name and discussed what we would want from a venture like that, as well as what we wouldn’t.
That afternoon on the beach came on the heels of a weekend spent together alone, with our family, and with friends. From start to finish, it was enjoyable, the weather perfect, and we as a couple were so connected. Looking back, I see it as a gift. There was not one harsh word spoken, and there were lots of laughs, smiles, hugs, kisses and hand-holding.
And we spent time on the beach that day. The ocean had always been my husband’s peaceful place, the place where he could go to let his cares and worries wash away. His attraction to the seashore was a major part in both the time we spent in Hawaii, as well as our move to Florida. It was where he could go and be released of all his stress, even if only temporarily.
In some ways, that day seems only fitting, sitting side by side and talking about our future while we watched other beach goers enjoying their day. We spoke about living closer to the water again. We talked about other tropical destinations we wanted to visit together. We discussed his business plans.
The point is, we sat there and talked about our future together, not knowing that that future was only hours away from being cut very, very short. I sometimes think back to that day and am so grateful that it was such a pleasant experience. It brings me comfort to know that he was excited and looking forward, especially for a man who was frequently about the past. At the same time, it seems a cruel twist of fate that he was taken at a time when he had so much to look forward to.
Obviously, there is no ideal time to lose someone, but I sometimes wonder if it would have been “worse” had A had his heart attack doing something he despised, or at the end of a weekend of doing chores, or after we had an argument. It seems the guilt in those situations would have been extreme and nearly unbearable.
If nothing else, knowing that he spent his last days laughing and enjoying those he loved most in the places he preferred to be, make dealing with his loss just the tiniest bit easier. I’m going to latch onto that tidbit of consolation with every ounce of strength I have and hang tight. Sometimes that comfort is all I’ve got keeping me afloat in this sea of grief.
And if I’ve learned nothing else from this experience, it’s that you’ve got to learn to take your solace wherever you can find it. It’s necessary if you don’t want to drown, which is so easy to do…
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