Last week, I took a friend on the local paddle wheeler, The City of Fredericksburg, for her birthday.  (http://www.tangiercruise.com/fredericksburg-cruises.asp)  If you haven’t been on this trip, it is delightful.  The day trips include some history lessons and the night trips, music and dancing.

I had been on this boat many times before, but always with Stacy.  We went on there for our 30th anniversary with Will, Kara, Holly, & Jeff.

So it was a bit bittersweet as it is when “life goes on,” without the spouse you loved so deeply.   I was not alone in this dilemma.  My friend’s husband died two months before Stacy and he was the love of her life.  So there we are, two “older” women making the best of the situation.  We were enjoying the view, the cool summer night, and the whole experience, and then the music.  However, that’s when the past comes flooding in.

Everyone knows what an upbeat song Proud Mary is made famous by Creedence Clearwater Revival.   Here is a wonderful link to refresh yourself.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOfHOMpU4iE)  It is the perfect song for a trip on a paddle group and one of Stacy’s favorite songs.  He loved it because he was so fond of New Orleans where he did his internship and residency.  He wanted to stay in NOLA, but I thank God he didn’t.

So tears are streaming down my face and the young people around me must have wondered “what is wrong with her.”  Luckily most of them were dancing to this delightful song.  Which brings me to why I had added grief.  My feet and ankle arthritis have made dancing a problem.  And that also hit me when that song played.  Stacy and I always danced to that song.

Then the love songs hit, and my friend had a hard time with that.  We had to comment to each other, “Boy oh boy, two old ladies on a boat.”  At least we got a laugh out of it.

But the night was just beautiful.  All the stars were out and Stacy could name each constellation.  I only remembered a few of the many lessons he tried to teach me.  That brought comfort somehow.  I felt he was talking to me and saying, “Enjoy the moment.  You’re with a friend.”  In this regard, he could not have hand-picked the friend to share the moment any better.  Norma Huff worked for the Pratt Medical Center for many years and he liked her so much.  In his retirement, her husband worked there too.

So as with everything else in life, even though the loss of the past and the present brings it share of having to cope with the moment, being on a boat on a moonlit night with all the stars out listening to Proud Mary was good for the soul.

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As the boat pulled into Fredericksburg, Norma and I were talking to a delightful woman who took the boat trip on a whim passing through Fredericksburg.  She was also a widow, and we would have asked her to eat with us if we had known.  I gave her my card, and I hope she contacts me.  Nothing like life going on meeting new, kind, potential friends.

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