Without doubt my favourite place is the beach. Watching the water glisten in the sun and feeling the sand between my toes is just so lovely. Even in the winter months the beach is an incredible place to escape to and enjoy.
We are lucky enough to own a unit at the beach and it has been our beautiful little escape. I vividly remember sitting with my husband while he had chemotherapy imagining owning this unit. Even the planning process bought us so much joy. We purchased the unit and it settled on my birthday and we all just loved escaping from ‘Cancer town‘ as my husband called it. We could walk along the beach and no one knew he had Cancer and he loved being a little bit more anonymous and avoiding those sympathetic glances. We spent the last months of his life at our unit at the beach before returning home and so you would think it would be a sad place, but it is the exact opposite. It contains the most beautiful memories and the children often say how close they feel to their dad at the beach. When we arrive everyone relaxes and smiles form on our faces.
Gratitude is the loveliest word and is a state of mind that we as a family practice daily. At dinner we say what we are grateful for and at the beach there seems to be an abundance of items we can list. We also understand that owning a unit is a gift and we appreciate that financially it is just not possible for everyone.
I have learnt that being grateful and resilient is not about being happy all of the time and it is normal to have emotional responses to tough situations. Since becoming a widow I have had to learn how to be the only adult on holidays. Raising independent children means they are having fun doing their own thing and I am very conscious not to rely on them to entertain me. It has been a gradual and sometimes difficult process but now I am beginning to look at my alone time from a different perspective. Some people may say that they would love to have so much time alone, however when it is permanent it somehow doesn’t seem as attractive. In previous holidays I have felt more alone and actually lost without my husband. I am still working on it but I am now trying to cultivate a deep love affair with myself. Yes this sounds strange – but I had to get to know myself again and learn how to love my uniqueness. This holiday I am surrounding myself with wonderful books to read, I have invited friends and family to come over, have gone out for dinner with friends here, have gone to yoga classes, walked on the beach with our dog, taken time to meditate and enjoyed having fun with my children. In essence I am learning how to enjoy my own company and actively build a network of support for myself.
I will always be eternally grateful for the solitude and pure beauty that the beach offers me and will never take it for granted.