This. This series of photos you see show the face of a woman who is completely unaware that her world will drastically change merely 3 hours later. These were taken exactly 4 years ago on this date, April 3rd, when A and I had spent some time on the beach while waiting for our daughter to be done with work for the day so we could take her out for a belated birthday dinner.
I had been trying to take the “perfect” beach selfie that would accurately represent how I was feeling that day; peaceful and content. It had been a Sunday, the final day of one of those glorious weekends where everything just fell into place – activities, weather, companions – and I was simply at peace.
The photos are in reverse chronological order – the ones on the beach were me trying to take my own picture. I later enlisted A to take the ones under the cover of the gnarled oak trees. You can see by the look on my face that those weren’t working out so well, either, and we began to laugh about how ridiculous it all was.
Looking back, it is clear to me how happily oblivious I was in that moment. And how utterly different I would be feeling later that evening.
“There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.”
As you may know, that evening, my husband suffered a heart attack, eventually leading to his death two weeks later. Reality came crashing down. Hard.
I waver between being thankful that our last weekend together was filled with so many wonderful memories and wondering if it would have been better had the fall not been so steep and sudden. Although I’m not certain there really is a good answer, I still cling tightly to the positive images I hold from that time. They sometimes bring me much needed comfort.
My life has changed once again in these past four years, although it has been more of a slow climb rather than a rapid ascent. My children are each on their own; my oldest is married. I have found love again and am slowly piecing my world back together.
It will never be the same. There’s no getting around that. The future I thought I was headed for is no longer there. At least not in the way I had originally planned. So I’m having to make some adjustments to my sails and setting course for a new future. I will continue being grateful for old memories (even blissfully ignorant ones) as well as making new ones.
The next few weeks will be rough for me. They always are. And this year will be even more difficult than usual because my kids and I can’t get together on the day he died like we normally do because of this whole coronavirus-shelter-in-place world we currently live in. I’ll probably spend some time looking back at what we did in Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3. And looking forward to Year 5, for which we plan to do something a little more special.
But I will get through this. We all will. And we will find ourselves truly living again. Perhaps with just a little bit less ignorance, but just as much bliss.
Stay safe, everyone.
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