Because We Enjoyed Picnics

I’ve decided that Facebook memories are both a blessing and a curse. Most of the time, I love looking back at them because they are usually filled with adorable pictures and videos of the kids or funny stories from my college years that I forgot about. However, many of the ones I’ve encountered over the past seven months come with pain and heartache because they also include memories of Emily.

Today’s example? An adorable picture captioned, “Picnic date, but do it at sunset.”

The Sunset Picnic Date

Emily and I are both huge fans of being outdoors. Our fair complexions require lots of sunscreen, but we love being outside nonetheless. So, it only makes sense that we planned a Monday night picnic date for this day two years ago.

Emily needed to meet someone in Smyrna at 5:30, so we picked a park there and made plans to meet around 6:00. Because I wanted to be “fancy” and cold cuts were out of the question for her (yay, transplant), I picked up a pizza from Domino’s. I brought a blanket, some drinks, and everything we’d need for the pizza.

We spent a long while at the park, even after we finished eating. It was nice to just sit and relax outside and talk. We discussed other outdoor dates we could do over the summer, and just chatted about life. We also enjoyed the company of the dog she was watching for the week, Maggie.

I remember laughing and smiling the entire time. As I sat and listened to Emily, I kept thinking to myself, “I could get used to this being my forever.” However, it eventually started getting dark and the mosquitos were out, so we called it quits and retreated to Emily’s apartment for the night.

Many More Picnics

That night was the first of many picnics with Emily. In fact, they became a regular occurrence both with and without the kids. We packed a cooler full of sandwiches, chips, fruits, and drinks when we went kayaking, when we went to the wave pool, and one time when we took the kids to the Schermerhorn. We also had several park picnics, especially in the spring and fall months.

They were simple picnics, yet at the same time they made me so happy. I loved the feeling of us all just being a typical family, doing fun things together and making memories. I also just loved this stark contrast to my past, where picnics at the playground weren’t a thing.

Sometimes, the kids would get so into playing that it would just be me and Emily sitting there eating and talking while they ran by for a quick bite then went right back to playing. Other times, we’d join in with what the kids were doing, or I’d watch Emily have a climbing contest with the kids and just sit there and laugh.

It’s funny how something so simple can bring such joy. Every single time, my heart felt full.

I Decided That Picnics Don’t End

Since Emily died, I’ve spent a lot of time at the cemetery. I keep a blanket in my trunk and use it to sit next to her in the grass. Sometimes I talk to her, and other times I lay down and just look up at the sky.

But, there have been several occasions where I’ve turned it into a picnic.

I’ve taken coffee to the cemetery. I’ve taken breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes I just take some snacks, and a couple of times I’ve taken a small bottle of champagne to celebrate big news.

This past week, I decided to have dinner there with Emily on Friday night. Her parents were at the symphony with friends, so I decided I’d enjoy a picnic dinner with my girl. And, the funny thing is, I actually brought up our very first picnic.

I asked her if she remembered that night and if she knew how much it meant to me. I laughed about the pizza, and told her I’m a little salty she left me here because I’m now the only one in our family who likes pineapple on my pizza.

And then, I cried and told her that I don’t want our picnic dates to die because I enjoyed them so much. But, I guess as long as I’m willing to take food to the cemetery, our picnics never have to end.


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