Holidays

Tomorrow will be a holiday in the USA, Labor Day. It’s also the last unofficial weekend of summer. I remember the first Labor Day and last with my late husband, Glenn.

The first Labor Day we were newbies. We had been dating about 6 weeks at that time. It was on Labor Day that I turned the corner with Glenn and knew he was worth keeping. Glenn had a friend who lived on the beach in Malibu and invited us to spend the day. Since this was private property dogs were allowed on the beach so my dog, Scout came along.

The fact that Glenn included my dog was a big win in my eyes. I was really starting to like this guy, I thought as we headed north on Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu. His 4-year-old son came along and the three of us (4, including Scout!), spent a lovely afternoon at the beach in and out of the sparkling Pacific Ocean.

Later that night Glenn dropped his son off at his ex-wife’s house and came over to say goodnight to me. I’ll never forget that night, ever. We talked and kissed and cuddled for hours. As he left just before dawn I knew that this was not just a summer romance and I was right.

Skip forward 13 years to the summer of 2012. Glenn had just landed his dream job at the world famous Getty Museum, as their head painter/designer. We’d been married for over a decade and still in love as that Labor Day in Malibu. He had started his own business ten years before and had done well however the economic downturn we had during this time took its toll, so he searched for a FT position where his skills could be utilized. He was one of almost 1,000 applicants and with only 4 positions available. I was not surprised that Glenn was one of the 4 and started the job just a few weeks before Labor Day of that year.

Glenn was so proud of himself on that Labor Day. He had been a freelancer for most of his career so a paid holiday and Labor Day at that, well, let’s just say it held a lot of meaning for Glenn. He was the hardest worker I’d ever met and all he wanted was to provide for his family. This job gave him that plus so much more.

As I sip my morning coffee on this Sunday morning, the day before Labor Day my heart is full as I think back to the fond memories I carry with me and this day is certainly one of them.

I realize that holidays can be rough for the bereaved, especially if you’re new to this thing called grief. I remember back six years when I was newly widowed and the idea of celebrating anything was off the table.

About four months into my loss a wise person suggested to me that I just be good to myself. This stuck with me and I’ve remembered her wise words to this day. Whenever a grief wave hits or a holiday brings back memories of what I no longer have I do whatever I can to treat myself with loving care and the day/s get better.  No pressure, just breath and be easy on myself.

I was a contributing author to this short article in the Atlantic about grief and holidays. It was meant for the Christmas/New Year’s holidays however if you’re grieving loss of a loved one a holiday is a holiday regardless if its Thanksgiving Day or Labor Day.

Just be good to yourself and happy Labor Day!

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