I left for vacation to Sea Isle City, New Jersey on Saturday, June 12, 2021 and returned back home this afternoon. I went with my boyfriend and his parents. They go down every year and meet up with extended family (minus last year, 2020, because of the pandemic) but this was my first year back there in like three years.
I had a really good time and my mom and one brother even came to Sea Isle City for the first time ever for the day the Sunday after we arrived. It was very kind of my boyfriend’s parents to welcome my mom and brother to their beach house with open arms. I would love for my mom and all my siblings and their significant others to come down and spend the night or a whole weekend at the beach house when we go back next year! I want to start planning for them to come down early enough that my siblings could request off of work if needed.
I even went into the ocean waters this year with my boyfriend a few times. The water was cold and felt so amazing under the hot summer sun. I was hoping I would be able to get more of a tan or some nice color to my skin for a change than I did but instead I am more red and sunburnt than anything else. I turn red and burn, then I end up peeling and go back to looking like I’ve never seen the sunlight before.
Being able to sit on the beach and listen to the sounds of the ocean waves crashing around me was incredibly peaceful and relaxing. I remember wishing a few times that I could just freeze time to fully take in the peacefulness of my surroundings so that I could hold it in my mind and be able to recall how relaxed I felt while taking in the ocean sights and sounds when I start to feel low or anxious.
My boyfriend and I even went and explored the Cape May Zoo this year while on vacation since it wasn’t too far from where we were staying. I felt like a giddy little kid looking at all the different animals and snapping as many pictures as I could. I absolutely loved it!
I was up around 8 every morning and even though I was on vacation, by the end of the day I would be so exhausted from being in and out of the sun all day that I would take my night time meds around 8:30-9pm nightly and I would normally be knocked out by 10-11pm. However, the bedroom we stayed in would get so hot at night that I would wake up sweating a few times a night. So, I am definitely looking forward to being in control of my AC temp tonight so that I could make it cold enough to want to bundle up under my blanket so I could sleep comfortably and hopefully stay asleep without waking up.
While I was on vacation my mom, sister, and my sister’s girlfriend watched my cat, Jasper, for me. I really missed him while I was gone and was so excited to cuddle him when they brought him back to my house this evening. I even cuddled with him and took a brief cat nap earlier.
Even though I had a great vacation, my mind was kind of preoccupied some of the time. The day before I left for Sea Isle City (a Friday), my best friend, Jazmine, called me and told me that she had some heartbreaking news for me. That morning, my ex-boyfriend from my middle school and high school years passed away from an apparent heart attack. His name was Matt. And today happens to be Matt’s birthday.
Matt was the first guy I ever fell in love with and I was devastated after our relationship had come to an end. Like many people, my first love always held a special spot in my heart. We lost contact for a long time and then a few years ago he contacted me and we started to catch up. He would come and go from my life, but this time he is gone for good.
I sent him a copy of my first book one time and I remember him telling me that it was hard for him to read it and learn about some of the things that I had been through in my life that he never knew about.
I am not sure how I am supposed to feel. I know I am sad and heartbroken in a way I can’t explain and for reasons I can’t explain either. He left behind two little girls and my heart breaks for them. I seen what my best friend and her kids went through when her first love and the father of her three oldest children passed away a few years ago.
My boyfriend has been completely supportive of how I am feeling about losing my first love and allowing me space to grieve in my own way since he went through it too with his ex and knows it can be hard.
Matt was a year younger than me and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that he died so young from a heart attack. A part of me feels like because I wasn’t a part of his daily life that I don’t deserve to cry and grieve for this loss. I held myself together my entire vacation but broke down tonight while looking at a picture of him.
I would have loved to attend his funeral and pay my respects but since I was out of state, that wasn’t an option for me. Plus, maybe it was a good thing I couldn’t go since I don’t know how his family would have felt and reacted if I would have showed up since they have hated me since Matt and I dated all those years ago. I don’t even know if they were aware that he and I reconnected.
Rest in peace, Matt.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.