Thankfulness, and Resentment

In the cover photo, you can see two figures walking on the beach. This couple was supposed to be me and Adam. I found the painting after his death, but it resonated so deeply with me that I bought it. I have it down here at the beach, where I have been for the past several days. Today is a cloudy, raw day like the one depicted in the painting.
When I was out for my beach walk today I thought a lot about this picture. Daily, I walk and walk on the beach, and pass so many couples, most of them my age or older, and it’s hard work not to resent them. In fact, I feel that way a lot. Resentful. Couples on Facebook trying the latest restaurant, going to some fabulous foreign destination, or just poking fun at each other while staying home. That is what *I* am supposed to be doing right now! Adam and I are supposed to be enjoying each other again!
Yet I’m able not to dwell on it, so, although I’m momentarily resentful, I’m mostly happy for couples who have made it through family-raising and are enjoying each other’s company again. Adam and I were married for seven years before having kids, and I cherish that time we had together while everyone else was in the throes of diapers and kinder-viruses.
Feelings of resentment can be especially keen here at the beach. Adam bought this place for me. I never dreamed that I’d have my own place at the beach to which I could escape, and his hard work and love for me made it happen. For a long time I thought this place was all about me, but it clearly was a place he loved as well. It was the place he wanted to come when he was flying home from Japan and realized that something was terribly wrong with him. He didn’t even want to go home first; I picked him up at the airport and we headed straight here. And I think he wanted to die here. Despite how sick he was and how uneasy I was about coming, he insisted that we head for the beach on a hot July day. We were packed and ready to pull out of the driveway at home and the car wouldn’t start, even though it had started only minutes before so that we could turn it around to load up. Adam went to the hospital the next day and never came home. The day we were supposed to leave was our 23rd anniversary.
I can’t imagine not being able to come here and think of him as I stroll the beach or eat at my favorite restaurants and look jealously at the happy couples all around me. Despite my envy, I do remember that we had that, too. And because I’m healing, I strike up conversations with the couples around me, bandaging that still-open wound, if just for a little while.