Not sure what I want to write about tonight, but I will begin by telling you where I am. Lobby of Marriott hotel, Tampa, Florida. Attending and presenting my comedic performance for the 6th time at Camp Widow. All of the camp events officially begin in the morning, but Ive been here since yesterday afternoon, and have already reconnected with old friends and met a few new ones. Us widowed people find each other pretty easily. Just look for the nearest bar.
My mind is all over the place tonight. Im feeling groggy and a tad emotional and a little bit thankful and somewhat reflective and a tiny bit sad. I told you - all over the place. I'm also sick with a really bad cold that just began the day before getting on the plane and flying here from New York. So Im coughing like mad and can't breathe out my nose, and I have to somehow make people laugh about death on Saturday during my workshop, and meanwhile, my head feels like it might explode from this massive head cold. Also, Florida was my husband's home state for over 20 years. The 20 years or so of his life before he packed it up into a moving truck to move in with me - he was living in Clearwater, Florida. He was an EMT at Sunstar in Pinellas County. He had his cat Isabelle and his little apartment and lots of great friends and a life here. When we were dating each other long-distance, I spent many weekend in this area of Florida. Tampa. St. Pete. Clearwater. Largo. We played tennis together at the local country club he loved, ate his favorite turkey sub sandwiches at Publix, and took walks and bike rides along the beautiful paths that were all over the local towns. Being here makes me miss him so much more than the normal everyday missing of him, and it also makes me feel him close. He feels nearby, like we are walking on Clearwater Beach together just before sunset.
Today is also my parents 49th wedding anniversary. I feel such happiness for them, and yet, selfishly, I feel sorry for myself. Intense sadness still occurs anytime I have the knowledge of a couple who gets that lifetime together. And yes, even though it is my own parents, I still feel the sadness and the small pings of unfairness that I will never know what it is like to be married to my love for 49 years. Or even 30 years. Or 20. Or 10. Or 5. Not even 5. Yes, the fact that he died just 3 months shy of our 5 year wedding anniversary still gives me a feeling of being robbed. We were robbed. And then I have these types of feelings, followed by guilt for having these types of feelings about my own parents, who have been nothing but supportive and wonderful and loving to me since that day when the life I knew ended. I am human. I think they understand, as much as they could understand such a thing.
I was in the hotel restaurant earlier today, getting ready to call my parents and wish them a Happy Anniversary. I was thinking in my mind and heart about how much Don loved my parents, and how he so easily fit into our family as if completing a puzzle. I was thinking about how life would be so different if he were still here, and about all the milestones and life events he should have been here to witness. I thought about our wedding day, and how we did the "anniversary dance" at our reception, where the couple who has been married the longest is honored with flowers and their own special spotlight dance. At the time, I chose to do that instead of the garter thing, because I thought it was a beautiful way to honor what marriage is and what it means. I pictured my husband and I being that couple, years and years from now, and having everything come around full circle. But that didnt happen. There was no circle. Only unfinished dreams ...
Anyway, as I thought about all of this in that restaurant, and my heart was close to Don, our wedding song came on. Now, I am not usually a person to be easily swayed into thinking that a song being played on the radio is a "sign", because ... well ... they are songs. Songs play on the radio. There are a lot of songs that were meaningful to us, so chances are, I will hear some of those songs at some point while listening to music. However, the fact that I was specifically thinking about our wedding day when our first dance song came on, AND the even bigger fact that our wedding song was NOT a popular song that you hear often on the radio - made me think twice. Our wedding song was "A Wink and a Smile" by Harry Connick Jr. It's from the "Sleepless in Seattle" soundtrack , and we were both pretty big Harry fans, and Don loved that movie. (Yeah. I know. He loved chick flicks.) We took foxtrot lessons and danced a disastrous first dance to that song, and it was one of the sweetest and most beautiful moments of my life. Dancing with my husband, for everyone to see, as he looked into my eyes with such love. So the song played in the restaurant, and it brought me back to that day full-force, and it put me in a more loving mood to call up mom and dad and wish them a happy anniversary. I just wish my husband could have also talked to them and sent his love - but maybe he just did.
Thanks for reading, everyone.