Memorial Day weekend has always been considered the unofficial start of summer in the states. I have many fond memories as a child of anticipating this holiday each year which meant we could go to the beach, have BBQs, sleep overs and vacations. School would be out soon, and the carefree days of summer would commence.
Then when I met my late husband, he brought a whole new meaning to the holiday. Glenn was a beach guy. I knew this before meeting him because I would often to see him drive around town with a surfboard in the back of his truck. He took me to the beach on our first date and we spent each weekend there, Memorial Day through Labor Day for 14 summers.
Glenn would pack up our bikes with his surfboard, boogie boards, lunch, beach chairs, an umbrella, you name it, Glenn packed it and we’d ride a few short blocks to the beach where we’d spend hours of lazy days.
I’ll never forget one such summer day early on in our romance. We had only been dating a few short weeks when Glenn called me one early Monday morning and suggested we both call in sick from work that day and go to the beach. A short time later he and his young son picked me up all loaded with the beach gear. I lived just a few short blocks from the beach at that time, so we packed up our bikes and headed down. When we arrived, I started helping Glenn to carry the heavy load down to the shore when his young son stopped me and said, “Don’t help, that’s what my dad does!” Glenn proudly had packed up the entire load (surf bard, boogie board, beach chairs, umbrella and more!), and lugged it all to the shore and set it all up for us. He was smiling the entire time. He looked so happy.
We spent an incredible day enjoying the beach and each other. When he dropped me off later that evening and I watched him drive away I knew then and there this guy was a keeper!
Once we were married holiday weekends were even better. Glenn and I were both workers. We had a strong work ethic so when holidays came around, we took the opportunity to slow down, relax and of course, go to the beach!
Extravagant vacations were never ours to be. Glenn was a complex man who lived a simple life. He had figured out the secret formula for a happy life long ago. Spending quality time with his loved ones was all that mattered to him. I on the other hand was a dreamer and always rushing here and there, never happy living in the moment but focused instead on “what was to come.”
Then his sudden passing 11 years into our marriage took my life to an abrupt halt and I was forced to rebuild alone. I had so many regrets at first and felt guilty for all the times I would run off on a weekend to shop or do errands or just be busy when Glenn would just want us to go to the beach, sit in our back yard with beautiful music on, BBQ and just be together.
It’s now been 7 years since his sudden passing and I’ve slowly rebuilt my life and in doing so, I’ve taken Glenn’s philosophy with me as I go. I now enjoy staying home more, cooking, listening to music, watching a great movie or reading a good book. Tomorrow is Memorial Day. I moved to a local beach community about 3 years ago. I know that Glenn would have loved it here! I will honor him by going to the beach and then coming home and BBQ something yummy.
Glenn taught me a lot about life. He taught me to be secure with me and that I don’t need a lot of “things,” to be happy. He always said that “happiness is an inside job.” It’s a work in progress and I strive to be just a piece of the beautiful person that Glenn was.
I hope you too can find joy in the little pleasures of life. Happy Memorial Day.