We all know that grief is hard anytime, especially holidays, but what about summer. Summer memories of swimming, fourth of July celebrations, picnics and fun in the sun can be particularly hard. We had traditions based around summer as much as any holiday. Simple things like watching fireworks or being in the pool can be sobering. We are not just marking time but living forward. We can still enjoy things that we used to do and can make new memories with our family and friends. My husband had a very sarcastic sense of humor and I can still hear him sometimes because I know what he would say about certain things and situations. He can still make me laugh and I think that would make him happy. What about Summer makes you happy? Summer can mean a relaxation of your schedule, kids are out of school and home from college, hot days, and summer trips.
Only we can define what grief means to each of us individually. I live in the South so maybe summer means something different for you. I can’t say that summer is my favorite time of year but it meant something special to our family. When the kids were younger we all spent every minute together as a family. Here’s a list of things we have enjoyed for this summer even if in unusual ways:
1. Make Lemonade
When I was a kid my dad would make real lemonade. I would roll the lemons and get every drop of lemon juice from them. Of course, the recipe called for tons of real sugar. We would ladle it out of a big silver tub. Now I buy it from the carton at the store or from fountain drink dispensers. Nothing says summer to me like lemonade. You know the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. I get that now in a whole new way.
2. Swim your heart out
My husband loved swimming and would get up at 5:00AM to swim. I never understood it since I am not a morning person. He could make laps in the pool for an hour or more. I know it had to be his favorite form of exercise. I have found it to be a good exercise to get out of my head for a little while. It can help you connect with nature and your body. When we try to over think things, it clears the mind.
3. Keep moving with Biking
My kids never learned to ride a bike as kids. I don’t know if it was laziness on our part as parents, or we just couldn’t take the drama of the frustration from the kids. Now as an adult and an almost adult my kids are teaching each other to ride bikes. Losing their father as ultimately made them closer. We still get a good laugh with a, “Remember when Dad did that story”.
4. Making your daylight count
Make every moment count are words to live by anytime but especially after realizing the value of life after the loss of a loved one. We get more daylight hours in summer. Nothing has ever felt right about it being dark at 5:00PM in Winter. My favorite time to do things outside in summer is 6:00Pm til 9:00PM. It’s cooler and these hours feel like a little something extra every day.
I know you can make your summer special and there is still time even though Walmart has out their school supplies already. Take in the sun and summer with your friends and family. Don’t forget to feel the sun on your face and smile a little for your loved one.