Can I even begin to describe how happy I am that this colder weather has seemed to arrive earlier than expected? Summer appears to have ended suddenly, and without notice. (I never check the weather forecast unless I know I’m going to be out in it. That was always Joe’s job.)
Spending our winters in Florida was never on my bucket list, but it became necessary to help Joe get a handle on his depression. The bonus- well… he got to fish-Every. Single. Day- weather permitting. And do not think for one minute that this man was sitting in the house on rainy days. Unless the wind was impossible or he was catching “salad,” he was on the beach doing his best to catch fish. So not only did those trips allow him to get adequate amounts of sunshine and a reprieve from his thoughts that were keeping him in a state of deep sadness, but they also brought him great joy.
I was, learning to love the ocean, the beach, and even eventually, spending our Christmas’ there. It’s not that I “didn’t” love the sea, but I LOVED our home, too. Being cozy in the winter all snugged up in a blankie… YES, PLEASE!! I love the seasons. A couple of weeks ago, Carol told me that she loved being at my house because it felt like slipping on an over-sized sweater-“it just wraps itself around you.” (HYGGE) That is the best compliment I could ever receive, and precisely the feeling I want my house to evoke; comfort, home. Welcome. (that feels very odd to say… my house)
Dave and Ettie had tried to talk us into going south for years, as they had been doing for many years themselves, and I’m so glad we finally took their advice. Look at all we got to experience during those winters, and the people we got to meet; friends for a lifetime. Though Joe did embrace the whole concept of social distancing— (i.e Six-feet-The proper (minimum) distance to be maintained by a person or crowd when one is fishing. Regardless of circumstances- EVER. -Joe) 🙂
He came alive there. He was in his element, and I loved watching him, a master at his craft. I remember a conversation he had with my brother one day at mom’s years ago. Keith was telling him a story about another fisherman friend, and he said something to the effect of: “…but he’s like a pro!” and I remember Joe saying to him … “well, hell Keith, I feel like we’re pros too.” And he was right; they were. And Keith still is.
But, for me…traveling south for the cold, hard months of winter meant also giving up my hope of a white Christmas, my favorite time of the year, and ALWAYS my Christmas wish. It also meant giving up my wool mittens and flannel scarves- with very few exceptions. My winter boots…well…you know how we girls are about our boots. Joe gave me the super-soft wool socks when he saw how I adored them- and isn’t that the warmest feeling of all- slipping into over-sized winter ware? (yes. Yes, it is…)
This year I will not be spending Christmas on the cape. I’ll be home with my kids, the GRANDS, and the family, exactly where I need to be- hoping for a white Christmas (oh YES. I. Will.) And I won’t be going into the holidays with dread or lamenting, either. I won’t do that to myself. Fall makes me feel alive, and I won’t deny myself the feeling of joy and happiness. Joe would never want that for me. He wanted me to go on living, and I will. I already am.
So if you see me dancing or singing, be happy for me. Do not think about all that I’ve lost. Think about all that I have gained, experienced, and have yet to experience. All that I have to look forward to and how blessed I was to have 30 years with a man that made me a better person, brought me great JOY, so much LOVE, and my god… tons of LAUGHTER. I learned so much from him, and I will be taking MANY pages from his book. I will miss him forever. I will NEVER take his ring off, or mine. They’ll serve as a constant reminder of what is possible in this life; LOVE and HAPPINESS.
I hope everyone can experience a love like that.
xo, and peace.