It is finally the weekend and I am exhausted. Straight from the conference to back at work, packing up all the emotions and tossing them aside in order to be effective in a different role wearing a different hat. In the middle of all of this though, we had Lindsey’s 39th birthday and our 9th birthday without her. It seems surreal and now she and Rick are forever 29 and 66.
While going through pics, both this week and for Ricks service, it became crystal clear that there will be no more pics of us together. There will be no pictures of our family together, intact, growing older, making memories. It’s as if those moments are now frozen in time, never to be the same. Families are different, nothing is really the same except the love we shared represented by album after album of pictures. Anyone who knows me knows I take a lot of pictures and now those pictures are like treasured sea glass. You have it in your hand, it’s full of beauty causing you inadvertently to smile. You know that which you hold is a rare find and your chances of finding another like it is not going to happen. This piece of life is forever changed just as that sea glass is a moment in time you’ll never forget.
This is another loss, sort of collateral damage I call it. Along with no pictures, you may not choose to do a lot of other things you did together. Holidays and vacations may look different and it may comfort you to change it up on special events like this. I remember thinking that I could not sit in the same room and open presents on Christmas Eve like we had always done. I also remember wondering if I was letting anyone down by feeling that way. Along comes a little guilt to further complicate things.
The “forever” empty chair or in my case chairs are obvious now. The get together is small. There are no hours of preparing because honestly, it doesn’t feel the same. The girls have become the lead on making plans and Tiffany has taken up the reins on the cooking. I don’t know how we’ll do all those “firsts” this year. I guess we’ll just see where we are at the time. It is definitely the anticipation of the event more than the day itself. The day is just another day and everyday hurts the same as any other.
Of course then there are all the “things”, clothing, cars, treasured memories, hobbies and in my case a boat. The boat represents all the years we spent at the river, dating all the way back to the 50’s. Now I don’t remember this, but I have been told my father built the first cottage on Stingray Point in Deltaville, Va. I actually have some old pictures of he and a friend working on the cinder block building and standing on the beach. My parents would divorce a few years later, but we would often talk about those times.
In the late 60’s Rick and I began dating and spent weekends with his family at their cottage in Whitestone on Bald Eagle Point. This is when I fell in love with Rick’s family and I remember thinking how I hoped someday to have someone love me like his parents loved each other. How blessed I am to have found that.
When our children were young, we bought a vine covered, dilapidated house with my family.. The term fixer upper would not do this justice. We worked on it until it became inhabitable and spent weekends there with our family. Some of our best memories were of Rick steaming crabs and sitting together picking crabs under the multicolored summer sky. We played board games at night and enjoyed the little beach during the day. Once it rained so hard that the water reached the cottages forming an artificial lake. . The girls and their cousins had an inflatable dragon boat and floated from house to house greeting all the relatives. Simpler times, treasured memories.
Rick always had a boat of some sort throughout our marriage. He bought what he could afford and sold it when he found another gem. I think he spent more time working on them than enjoying them, but the water was his passion. For some reason, he always found solace on the water and that connection got him through some tough times. I think the only time we were without a boat was in the early years of our restaurant and we sold it because he didn’t have time to enjoy it. We would go on to get another and another, always trading up for something a little better than before.
Our final purchase would be a 33 ft. ‘95 Sea Ray Sundancer, a boat we had been watching for sometime. We decided to throw caution to the wind and bought it in the fall of 2016. We surprised everyone with it in November of that year and christened it the Linzi-Lu, in remembrance of Lindsey and my mom. The significance of the name overshadowed everything else and we looked forward to lots of adventures the coming Spring.
Over the next couple of years, we would get there as often as we could, with whatever family could join us. The grandchildren would pile in the cabin together and I don’t think we could have been happier. Although life got in the way and we didn’t get to do a lot we had envisioned, when we did go, we made it the best it could be usually culminating with a trip to Stevie’s Ice Cream. Those were great times and now Linzi Lu is one of those things I have to do. The river will never be the river without Poppy at the helm.
I thought I would never go there again, but that isn’t the case and actually I already did. It was a knee jerk reaction to the pain of never going again with Rick. It’s not the place but the pain of loss that holds us back. What I have realized is that when I do these things, the images of good times play like a movie in my head, reel after reel of memories with loved ones. Unfortunately I am at a point in my life where I have to be logical and I can’t hang on to things because of the emotions attached to it and I have to let go of the Linzi-Lu.
So tonight I’m mourning the things that represent our life as a complete family. Tonight I am thinking of all the things, 46 years of things that meant something to us, but have a different meaning to me. I know it’s no rush, but I do think about it all the time. I’m floating the maze tonight in the Linzi-Lu, the canals lined with memories of Rick, his favorite shirt, his BBQ trophies, his Clint Eastwood collection of movies, his Ducks Unlimited memorabilia, things from his childhood, his huge collection of cookbooks and from the helm of the Linzi-Lu, I take it all in. This represents his life, a life well lived and one I am honored to have been a part of. You see, I got my wish, he loved me like his parents loved each other.