When my father passed suddenly a few years ago, his service was the day after Memorial Day. What was a lovely holiday to start the summer, a holiday to remember those who served in the U.S. Armed forces, was now a holiday full of sadness, deep sadness that I wasn’t able to shake off with the normal holiday celebrations. This was (and is) my new normal – a holiday marred with sadness. I joined a club I never wanted membership to. So I did what I could to be my normal and my normal is best when traveling. And my best is me in London in the middle of the familiar wrapped in comfort of landmark buildings, surrounded by travel friends who only know my happy side and with enough walking time to reflect. So for the past few years, I’ve been planning the Memorial Day Trip to Europe as a way to remember my dad who loved my sense of adventure (and the treats I would bring back from faraway lands). He was afraid to fly and marveled at my fearlessness to travel the world solo. I was fiercely independent (to his chagrin as he felt this kept me single) which I chalk up to him because he taught me how to manage on my own and how to love sports.
This year, I’m revisiting Edinburgh, Scotland, a city I first visited with my friend, Christine, after our trip to Ireland more than twenty years ago after we graduated from college. Christine also passed too young (at 36) and her memories make me laugh about our times traveling to the UK and Ireland. Her childlike wonder and enjoyment of the world is something I’m always checking myself on to avoid being too serious and missing out the good parts. I will then, of course, pop into London for a sweet treat (or ten) and bring Mom back some treats she discovered on her trip.
So while I’m walking down memory lane this holiday, you can see where I’ve been the past few holidays. A bit of travel memory lane for you to see how I’ve coped with my sadness and tried my best to have fun. Sadness is fine, it’s part of life, wallowing is not. Getting out to experience the world, for me, is the best way to honor my friends and family by feeding my soul with life through food, wine, boutique hotels and time on the plane up in the clouds reflecting on what’s important to me.
So while I’m flying home today, I hope you are enjoying the local parades, enjoying the hot dogs, baseball and family games of catch. Enjoying the quiet moments, the family moments, enjoying life.
Happy Memorial Day!