The hardest thing about firsts for me is the internal conflict. Part of me doesn't want to do it, so I think maybe it would be best to avoid it all together. The other part of me wants to do the things that connect me to Candice. We vacationed in Provincetown pretty much every year for 14 years together. If we missed the summer, we would go in off peak (which I strongly recommend). It was "our" place as it is for so many people in the LGBT community. There wasn't a place or a moment where my mind was not flooded with memories that Candice and I made together but also with Parker, Aunt Maureen, my siblings' families, and our friends. We had so many moments of laughter, exercise, tranquility, love, and well - there is always a little drama in Ptown;)
This trip was no different in many of those regards, but it was extremely sad for me to be there without Candice and the reality of my loss set in many times. There was an internal tug of war between being in a place with so many memories with Candice and yet beginning to form new memories without her. I hate that I have pictures without her big smile and although I know she was with me, I see a huge gap that exists. I was fortunate enough to have friends and family tag team and visit to keep my spirits lifted. (Thank you Auntie Maureen, Shannon, Julia, Katie, Paula, Melanie, Heather and Sarah). Sorry we didn't connect Carly, Mo and Clea.
The good news was that the weather cooperated, which I give Candice full credit for. I am not really in the sitting stages of grief but Katie Majeski did get me to chill out for a few hours and take in the beauty -thank you buddy! Katie also accompanied me to the top of the monument which I had never been. Candice and Katie had gone up together during the "Gaymazing Race" a few years ago and one of Candice's request when she was in the hospital was that I go up each year. It was only fitting to do this with Candice's mini me! Let me tell you- she was there all the way!
I was able to enjoy all that I love about this special place (biking the dunes, running the coastline, walking the jetty, swimming at Herring Cove and I even learned quite clumsily how to paddle board courtesy of Melanie). Paula Callaghan (aka "Pineapple Pandemonium") and I thought we knew how to swing dance after a few glasses of wine (I am not sure that was really the case-but we did have a blast) and then we hit the dunes on a bike trip the next day. My sister (Heather) and niece (Sarah) arrived for the second half of the leg and I finally met my match-those two wore me out! We did it all-two days in a row.
Aunt Maureen hooked up with me a few times but she was also very busy walking the jetty and climbing the monument with Jean (Candice is so proud).
Needless to say-I got through this first. It was tough but also full of wonderful memories. Exactly what Candice would have wanted!