May 23, 2014: A Farewell and a Honeymoon
Garrett's mom passed away in February. It was expected, as she had been sick for some time. But it was unexpected, as she had a slight rally with some hopefulness before her passing.
Wendy's wish was for her ashes to be disbursed in the Pacific Ocean. Her husband, Bob, planned a nice service on the ocean as a final celebration of her life. His well designed plan initially threw Garrett and I a bit of a curve ball.
The planned event was for midday on a Wednesday; sandwiched in between my son's high school graduation and Garrett's daughter's 8th grade graduation. And it landed smack dab on my youngest son's 8th grade graduation day.
The timing couldn't have been worse. Garrett and my work and travel lives are hectic, even without these end-of-year school festivities. My parents were in town visiting for the first time in two years. Instead of entertaining them, I was flying across the country. Anxiety ensued as we booked our flights. But Garrett and I knew that we needed to the right thing.
The first important declaration was for us to acknowledge this trip wasn't about us. Once committed, there would be no hand-wringing over timing not fitting into our busy schedules.
As I dealt with a broken air conditioner the night before my early flight out of Omaha, I whined to Garrett.
"How are we going to pull this off?" was my plea to my husband, who was dealing with different stresses in Denver.
Garrett paused and then pointed out something I hadn't thought of before.
"I think my mom gave us our honeymoon with this trip."
We had yet to take any time for ourselves since our January 3rd nuptials. It has been a time of chaos with expert calendar management. The number of balls juggled simultaneously in the last few months have been a record for Garrett and me. Although we have had light conversation on a late summer trip for just the two of us, we hadn't taken the time to plan a honeymoon.
Hearing Garrett's words, I had no doubt that Wendy was looking out for us. Time to honor his mother's life while spending needed time together.
Garrett and I joined up at my connecting flight in Denver. After our quick flight to San Diego and a rental car pick-up, we met Garrett's step dad. He had driven the day before from Tucson and spent some alone time by the ocean.
Wednesday our focus was all about celebrating Wendy and supporting Bob. It was a wonderful day.
After a lovely lunch ocean-side, we met our captain and boat director for a chartered trip into the Pacific. Wendy loved the Hotel Del Coronado.Our two hour excursion took us to the coast outside the Dell; Wendy's final resting spot.
Bob wrote a wonderful eulogy to his wife of over forty years. Together he and Garrett disbursed her ashes into the glistening blue water. Wendy made her rest with blue skies and sun shining on the clear ocean and we said our good-byes.
On recommendation of the Captain, we proceeded to dinner at Peohe's, a Charter House restaurant, on Coronado Island. Upon arrival, I discovered that I had forgotten my phone at the hotel. Bob's phone was almost dead. We all commented that this was the work of Wendy. She was not a fan of our love of cell phones and wasn't afraid to tell us. Her final word and a well received message.
Seated seaside, we reflected on the day and looked at old photos Bob brought with him. With no interruptions of cell phones or outside distractions, we enjoyed our time together. With his dog awaiting him back home, Bob chose to make the drive back to Tucson the next morning. He accomplished want he set out to do, providing a very nice celebration of Wendy's life with her son. I was just along for the ride, but enjoyed every moment and the memories shared.
Garrett and I started our unofficial honeymoon on Thursday. Just like we knew Wendy had wanted. With one day left in San Diego, we spent the day touring the Navy aircraft carrier, the Midway. Garrett was in heaven. Like a kid in a candy shop, he lit up as he told me his childhood dream to attend the Naval Academy. The dream wasn't meant to be as his eyesight didn't pass muster. I enjoyed our day, but most enjoyed watching Garrett with the enthusiasm he surely held as a child.
Starbucks and strolling downtown Coronado filled the rest of our afternoon. I did buy a pair of Toms in a wedged heel style. I am sure Garrett saw in my face a childlike enthusiasm for this guilty pleasure. A new pair of shoes always brings delight to my day.
With an hour before dinner, we sat at the Dell bar and enjoyed Bloody Mary's, another recommendation from the Captain, and local beer. Hockey playoffs were in the background with a glorious view of the ocean in front of us. Picture perfect. Garrett shared his stories of childhood on this same beach and later taking his own children during visits to his mother and grandparents. The Dell held special meaning to both Garrett and his mom.
Dinner was at the Dell's 1500 Ocean. Garrett booked the Dell and dinner at their exclusive restaurant once we committed to the trip. Our waiter, Marc, took great care of us; describing eloquently our four course meal options for the evening. Our seats were outside, overlooking the ocean, with a view and food that proved equally outstanding.
We meandered to the outside deck filled with heaters and with coffee and Bailey's in hand. To our delight, the Navy Seals spent most of the night performing helicopter exercises over the ocean. Later another group performed night drills on our beach with shining blue lights. It was a very entertaining way to end our night before our short walk to our room. The sound of the mighty ocean waves with military chants in the background was our lullaby.
Friday has quickly arrived and we now sit on a WiFi equipped Southwest airplane. After a run on the beach and a purchase of Del Coronado shirts, our honeymoon is over. Short, but sweet. Thank-you, Wendy. We enjoyed Bob and the quality time you brought to our overbooked lives. No doubt you will always be looking out for us.