Vacation Reflection

Well, I’m back from vacation. It was really good. I knew it would be. I also knew there would be some tough moments and there were. For starters, on the plane as I sat in the first row with the only TV in the plane directly in front of me the movie “Coco” played. I had been warned by other widows that it was a good but heart wrenching movie that tricks you by seeming like a harmless kids’ cartoon. I hadn’t had a chance to watch it yet. Ideally, I would have watched it on my own in my house but here it was in front of me. So I thought, “let’s do this,” and plugged in my headphones. If you haven’t watched it, I do recommend it. Be prepared to be emotional though. It’s basically about the importance of remembering people who have died and how you give them a second life by remembering them. It included some “insight” into an after-life showing how you will die and disappear completely once no one living remembers you. If you aren’t a widow then I guess there could be a different storyline but this is what I saw. So yes, I sat in the first row of the plane and I cried and I didn’t really care. Maybe in a way starting my trip with this movie was needed for me to acknowledge the grief I carry and release it right from the start. It let me feel so I could then be free to enjoy. I stepped off the plane ready for vacation.

The islands were hot, sunny, and beautiful. I can now remember which ones I visited (St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados) and I enjoyed my time with my friend Heather. On the islands, we went on a catamaran, tried Snuba, went snorkeling (and saw the cutest turtles - eeeek), went to multiple beaches, met up with one of her family friends, explored some historical sites and explored local towns and shops. There was always lots to do on the ship as well in the evenings including a Whitney Houston tribute show. The singer acknowledged people who are grieving and have loved and lost someone too soon before singing, “I Will Always Love You” (exceptionally well, I might add). I cried (and again, didn’t care that I was crying). I appreciated it. Those little moments where I can acknowledge my grief seem to help me and provide the little release I need to keep moving forward. Heather was an amazing friend, as always, and was supportive of me when I needed it. It’s so nice to have good friends.


There were a lot of couples on the cruise ship and I thought of and missed Mike and our last cruise vacation. However, it didn’t overwhelm me and make me want to hide like it once did.  In addition to thinking about Mike I was also thinking of someone else I’ve been seeing and I know he was thinking of me too. It’s a weird change for me but it was also really nice. To be able to miss someone and also know you’re going to get to see them again is definitely a privilege. It’s a different kind of excited, hopeful missing compared to grief where there is absolutely no excitement or end in the deep missing feeling. Anyways, maybe more on that another time.

For now, I’m grateful that my trip went well, for my friend Heather that so patiently traveled with me, for my past trips and wonderful experiences with Mike, and for the excitement of something new. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the world and having adventures in the near future. I’m grateful for what was, what is and hopeful for what comes next. I had a good vacation and for the first time in a while, I’m glad to be home.


Showing 4 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Olivia Arnold
    commented 2018-04-03 10:02:56 -0700
    Marybeth, Barbados is so nice! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it too. I hope you are able to plan a vacation soon!
  • Olivia Arnold
    commented 2018-04-03 10:02:00 -0700
    Renee, that’s great you could relate so much to the movie. It is a good one. It is nice when death is portrayed in movies in a real way you can connect with
  • Renee' Prince
    commented 2018-03-24 11:52:04 -0700
    I went to watch Coco with my 2 daughters and my son, not too long after Tony died. We all cried, except Nick. It was so bittersweet, the experience. My husband has a love for the culture, as he has Aztecan in his bloodline. He also was a Musician. The story reminded me a lot of him. His family didn’t accept him as a Musician and didn’t understand how he was born to be just that. It was such a healing experience for us. I was grateful for the message in the movie and the reminder of Tony and his music.
  • Marybeth Hotaling
    commented 2018-03-24 04:10:54 -0700
    So glad you enjoyed yourself. I’ve spent several vacations on Barbados with my late husband and friends and it was always magical. Our last vacation together was on a cruise as well. I too find that crying releases the emotion and it’s better to let it be expressed which allows you to move on. Beautiful picture of you both. Good friends are key to getting through this. I find looking forward to my next vacation helps get me through the difficult times and allows me to have something to look forward to. Keep planning those trips.