My 30th High School Reunion was two years ago. This means I graduated 32 years ago – ugh I’m old!
There are those who hate these reunions and don’t go. Then there are those who are indifferent and also don’t go. Me? I love them!
I missed my 10 year reunion for a ridiculous reason and always regretted it. I went to my 20 year and had such a good time. Life was good then – I was married, had two young children, happy as can be. It was fun to see so many faces that I remembered while feeling so good about myself and my life.
Fast forward ten years to my 30th High School Reunion. My life had changed quite a bit in ten years.
Howie had passed away three years earlier which turned my life upside down. I was doing ok two years ago but still not in the best place. There was some garbage in my life that I hadn’t gotten rid of yet. But as soon as I heard about the reunion I knew that I wanted to go. I thought it would be fun, especially if all of my high school friends were going. A bunch of us are still so close and I knew we would have a great time together.
We all spoke and pretty much were all able to go. Our high school reunion was in a hotel so we decided to get a bunch of rooms and all stay over together.
It was like Spring Break ’84 in Ft. Lauderdale! We got ready together and were running between our rooms to show our outfits and help each other. Then we walked down to the room where the reunion was.
Before even walking in, I saw an old friend who I had stopped speaking to years ago – over some totally ridiculous thing! We get wiser with age – what had seemed so important back then seemed so silly now. She had sent me the sweetest email when she heard that Howie passed away and I was so happy to see her. The two of us stood outside talking for 10 minutes before we actually went inside. It was really nice.
When I finally walked in – I saw people who I recognized immediately and some I felt like I had never seen before in my life! Little by little I saw friendly faces and spoke to so many. Some had heard about what happened to Howie and were all so nice about it, asking how the girls and I were doing.
What I enjoyed most at this high school reunion was talking to those who did not know that my husband died.
Everyone in my everyday life knows that my husband died. But some of these people had no idea and spoke to me as if I was anyone else. They didn’t ask how I was doing with a sympathetic look or give me a sympathetic hug. Not that I don’t appreciate all that – I love that everyone is so caring. It was just nice to be the old me for a night – not the widow.
One moment I remember in particular. I was walking through a crowd and someone called my name and grabbed my arm. When I turned around, I saw a guy that I was kind of friends with in high school – not great friends but we were friendly. I gave him a hug hello and we chatted for a few minutes.
As I was walking away he said “You haven’t changed a bit. You were always smiling then and you’re still smiling now!”.
I was so happy when he said that I could have cried! Me – always smiling?? At that point I felt like I had been miserable forever. But I guess that was how he remembered me. Not only did I love being remembered that way, I was thrilled that he thought I was still like that. He didn’t know about Howie and he didn’t see me as the widowed single mom raising two daughters alone. He saw the old Stacy who was happy and carefree.
If I hadn’t been smiling already – that put a smile on my face for the rest of the night. I knew that if someone saw that happy person in me, she was still in there somewhere and could eventually come out again.
It really was a fun night for me. I loved seeing old friends and being there with my “girls” was great.
After the high school reunion was over, a bunch of us stayed by the hotel bar and just talked and laughed. Then back in our rooms we stayed up for hours doing more of the same.
When I left the next morning I sort of felt like Cinderella the day after the ball. It was back to my regular life – but with a tiny bit more hope that maybe my world would brighten a bit and I could again be the girl who was always smiling 🙂
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.