Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day

I had a very nice Memorial Day weekend.  This year, I took the long weekend to relax, play, and work.  To be honest, it was all about me.  It's been a few years since I could say that.  Three years ago, Brian and I spent our last Memorial Day weekend together at a friend's wedding, while grieving the loss of some other friends a few days before and missing their funerals.  Two years ago, I sat on the patio of my studio apartment in Austin, bawling and blogging away my first Memorial Day as a widow and hating that Brian didn't even have a tombstone yet (choosing and ordering one was a monumental task for me - pardon the "black widow" pun - and it took me months before I could face it).  Last year, I cried and blogged some more, again in Austin, and pleaded with my Iowa friends and family to visit Greenwood Cemetery to pay their respects to the big guy.

This year, I spent the weekend on a little getaway, as so many do.  Sheldon and I drove a few hours north to a friend's ranch -- over 2,000 acres of desolate Texas land, with a large creek running through, and herds of cattle and sheep roaming the grounds.  We went fishing, made s'mores, watched movies on a homemade outdoor movie theater thrown together in a jiffy with some plywood, 2 x 4's, and a white sheet, and I jumped off a rope swing into the water.  One night, we went out away from the cabin and creek into the middle of the ranch to watch stars -- some shooting, some just twinkling brightly in constellations.  On the way back, we lost the lead vehicle and actually drove around lost in the dark for about a half an hour.  I didn't have my cell phone on for most of the weekend.  It was fantastic.

Sheldon and I came back to San Antonio Sunday afternoon.  We did laundry, unpacked, hung out with the cats, and watched the Spurs win.  On Monday, I did a little work, but made sure to be done by mid-afternoon so we could cook together.  We made shrimp kebabs with fresh pineapple, red onion, and bell peppers, served with asparagus and quinoa.  Sheldon whipped up cocktails with Fresca, River Pilot vodka (, lime juice and muddled blueberries.  Perfect for the San Antonio heat!

I didn't set aside time specifically to write, or to think about Brian, but I didn't have to.  He is in our everyday lives, and this weekend was no exception.  Driving back from the ranch, we listened to The Avett Brothers.  I cried and talked about Brian, and Bonnaroo, and the gift he gave his friends and me by sharing their music with us (or forcing us to listen to it, as the case may be).  I talked to family on Monday and found out, not surprisingly, that my family and his all visited the cemetery on Memorial Day (and actually ran into one another there).  I thought about how the weekend I spent with Sheldon was a bit like a long weekend I would spend with Brian, even a bit like the weekend he died - though, being an Iowa January weekend, that was more about pizza and Rock Band than grilling and swimming.  It was all about kicking back and enjoying life with the one you love, and it felt good to do that again.

As I started to write this post, I remembered a great video taken at our house in Iowa on Memorial Day weekend four years ago.  We had a party at our house (though I was laid up with either the flu or food poisoning), and it went well into the night and wee hours of the morning, as our parties often did.  This video was taken late in the evening, and though I didn't like all the noise at the time (being sick in bed and all), I love it now, and smile every time I see it:

It was nice to live Memorial Day this year the way Brian would if he could, and to remember him the same way I always do, and always will -- as that happy, smiling guy singing with his friends and playing the best damn air guitar you've ever seen.  I love that man.

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