Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Be One With The Bike

Monday, June 30, 2014
Posted By: 
Gerry Sousa

This will be my 6th summer as a widow.  I usually don’t measure time this way, but I was thinking recently about what this summer will be like for me.  It is the first summer since Dick died that I don’t feel like I have a huge “summer” project to take care of.  You see, I’m a teacher, and you approach your life either in school mode or in summer mode.  Either way, I always seem to be in some state of planning, not matter what mode I find myself in.

Here’s a brief rundown of what my “plans” were for the last 6 summers: 

2009-I helped my oldest son go away to college by constantly worrying about if this was the right decision and then buying the entire contents of Target for his dorm room. 

2010-My next summer was spent traveling back to my native Boston and helping my mom’s last summer be somewhat pain free. 

2011-The next summer was spent thinking about the idea of selling my house, the only home my kids had known.  We also went away with my in-laws because I felt it was important for us to spend time with Dick’s family. 

2012- That following summer was when I started getting my house ready to sell by throwing out so much junk because it was summer and I could spend that quality time going through my junk. 

2013- Last summer, I spent it actually trying to sell my house by living out of my car with my kids and my dog any time there was a showing.  I truly couldn’t schedule a moment ahead of time because a showing would rear its ugly head at any moment. 

Please don’t think it’s all been sad and blue.  The vacation with the inlaws was wonderful for my kids and me, and I also met my boyfriend, Tim, in the summer as well.  Not all bad, sad things!

So, every single summer, there was a theme to my time:  a goal that was dictated by my obsessive thinking about doing the right thing and implementing decisions made with some input from family and friends.  They were dutiful summers, purposeful summers.

Well, Summer 2014 is here:  my house is sold, my son is almost done with college, my daughter isn’t transferring to her college until next year, and what’s a widow to do?  Here’s my plan:  not to plan this summer down to the last nitty-gritty detail.  I do have some general ideas of how I want to spend my afternoons after teaching summer school:  reading some great children’s books and books for my enjoyment, taking bike rides, checking out farmer’s markets, cooking new recipes for my kids and my boyfriend, Tim, and spending time with my kids and Tim in the pursuit of many leisurely activities.  But I know now I have the luxury of a summer where not one incredibly monumental thing has to get done.  I can breath, I can daydream, I can wander.

When I sold my house last year, I moved into a small townhouse development where 7 of my neighbor’s driveways merge with my driveway to make a small neighborhood.  I have a small deck off my kitchen that overlooks all these driveways, and it feels, to me, like a courtyard of sorts.  One morning, I was watching one of the neighbor’s girls riding her bike in this courtyard of driveways.  She was slowly pedaling, singing a soft tune to herself, and letting the bike meander to the left and then to the right in very slow movements.  Her pedaling was slow and the bike felt the laid-back rhythm, as directed by her.  She was letting the bike do a bit of the work while she enjoyed the ride. 

That’s what I want to do this summer.  Get on the bike, let it do the work, and I’ll just enjoy the ride.  After 5 ½ years, I’m taking the summer off.

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