How are we supposed handle it when Thanksgiving, Birthdays and Grief all hit at the same time? November 25 is the birthday of my former fiancé. He would have been 62 years old. This year it is also the day before Thanksgiving. A bittersweet day. Every 7 years his birthday would fall on Thanksgiving. It usually became a double celebration.
One year in particular stands out to me. We drove to see the Christmas lights and garden displays at Longwood Gardens. We heard it was amazing. The word “amazing” just doesn’t do it justice. Longwood Gardens consists of over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania in the Brandywine Creek Valley. It is one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States. It is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont, a world traveler from an early age, who was often inspired to add features to the garden after attending world’s fairs. The most notable additions being the massive conservatory, complete with a huge pipe organ and an extensive system of water fountains. Years before it was a public garden, the land on which Longwood Gardens stands was home to the native Lenni Lenape tribe and Quaker farmers. Since then, the land has undergone significant transformation to become the magnificent property that is enjoyed by more than a million guests each year.
Every year at Christmas time, more than 500,000 twinkling lights and spectacular fountain shows compose a brilliant Christmas wonderland. Visitors stroll through the ground which has lights strung on 40 miles of wire glowing in the trees. Large, starry snowflakes and icicles sparkle throughout the Gardens, while the continuously performing Theatre fountains present the colors of a Christmas rainbow. Although it was close to freezing, we walked through the Gardens in amazement.
While in the area, we stayed at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast, Sweetwater Inn. Established in 1734, it is an historic 50-acre estate located in the heart of The Brandywine Valley. We were told by the owners that the cast and crew of the movie, The Village, had been staying there. The Village was a 2004 American film, written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starred Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver. We had just missed seeing all of them by one day! We also visited the Brandywine River Museum home of the works of American realist artist, Andrew Wyeth and his family. His father, N.C. Wyeth was an illustrator of many children’s classics such as Treasure Island and The Last of the Mohicans. Andrew’s son, Jamie Wyeth, is a contemporary American realist painter. The museum is housed in a converted nineteenth century mill on the banks of the Brandywine Creek. Visiting the museum was a beautiful way to end a beautiful weekend. These memories will last forever.
Now when November 25 and Thanksgiving roll around, part of me just wants it to be over. Another part of me thinks back to all the wonderful times we spent together. Just like our time in Pennsylvania. Freezing as we walked through Longwood Gardens but not wanting to leave. Since he died, I still try to remember his birthday every year. With wonderful memories like this, it isn’t hard to forget. I think it is healthy and honest. Remembering him just seems like the right thing to do. I just focus on all the great memories we had together.
Happy Birthday. I haven’t forgotten you.
I know you are having a margarita (or two) in Heaven today!
Sending you love, comfort and peace!