A Birthday Beer & Seashells

Seven months and three days. That's how long after my Dad passed that I had to celebrate his first birthday without him. He would have been 61. SIXTY FREAKING YEARS.... that is all that amazing, wonderful man got on this Earth. It doesn't seem fair.

One of the many theories, circling around, about how to deal with grief is centered around Birthdays. The theory states that the best way to celebrate a deceased loved ones birthday is by celebrating them. Eat their favorite foods; visit their favorite spots; engage in an activity that brought them joy. For Dad's 61st Birthday I manged to find myself doing one of his most favorite things as well as one of his most hated!! I was on an airplane; headed to the beach!

MHJM loved the beach. I'm pretty convinced his blood was mixed with sand and salt water. He used to travel to Cabo once a year with his best friends - these crazy guys have been traveling together for almost two decades - and he would get as excited as a kid gets about Christmas and just about as far in advance too! However, with the good comes the bad and MHJM's bad was the way in which one gets to beach when living in the Mid-West.... Flying. MHJM hated flying. He would get himself so worked up that the jitters would take over and he would start to do this Irish jig type thing AND THIS WAS IN THE LIVING ROOM AT THE HOUSE, not even at the airport yet!! Eventually the morning of the trip would arrive and 2 pills and 3 shots of alcohol later.... MHJM was on his way.

The trip was always a guys trip so I was never invited (not exactly upset over that), but they tell me that MHJM would hit the front door, drop his bag, walk straight to the back of the house and not stop till he reached the Ocean. All I can say is... that sounds about right. At some point during the trip he would always make time to walk the beach and collect seashells. He used to bring home the shells he found, drill a hole in them and wear them as necklaces. He always made one for my brother and as as well... I must have over a dozen.

November 7, 2017

When we landed in Panama it was already 3:30 in the afternoon. I was nervously watching the clock, but hesitant to say anything because I was traveling with my boss and we were on a business trip and business comes first (not complaining at all). As we got closer to the hotel I felt more comfortable expressing my personal agenda and I told her that I was grabbing a beer and heading to the beach as quickly as I could. I had to make it to the beach before sunset.

We got to the hotel and I damn near threw my bag in the room, grabbed a beer from the bar and headed down to the water. We found two chairs on the lawn that were overlooking the water and claimed that small corner of the world as ours. As we sat down my boss pointed out the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.... two seashells were by the leg of the chair I was getting ready to sit in!!!!! So we sat there drinking our beers, watching the sunset and thinking of my Dad. Just me, my boss and the two seashells!

Happy Birthday Daddy! As you slide down the banister of life, May the splinters never point in the wrong direction!


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