One of my biggest fans – my dad – complained that I haven’t posted in a while. Here’s what life has looked like the past few months.
In March, Jason and I were able to join our son on a four day California history school trip. It was a heavy itinerary but all three of us enjoyed learning more about this state and we were grateful to spend dedicated time with our son. In those few days, we toured the state capital, explored the railroad museum, panned for gold in Coloma, discovered Alcatraz, rode across the Golden Gate Bridge, and enjoyed a thrilling late night cable car ride. We also visited a fish hatchery and learned about salmon spawning which raised more questions than answers for those wide eyed fourth graders.
In April, our daughter’s preschool had a “Donuts With Dad” early Father’s Day celebration. At only four year old, our youngest has a pretty good handle on our unique family dynamic. With her teacher’s help, she wrote a little bio about her dad, stating that he drives a train and flies an airplane. That’s pretty close, since Simon worked for the railroad and Jason flies a lot due to work.
With the second Mother’s Day approaching without Simon, a variety of emotions were swirling. I’ve said it before, Simon made me feel like a queen most days, but especially on Mother’s Day. My heart was heavy for others that face loss or fractured relationships on this Hallmark Holiday where it seems like everyone’s family is perfect but your own. I felt a burden for Jason – I don’t ever want him to feel like he is not enough. He has been an amazing new husband and father. My heartache over the loss of Simon is not something that Jason needs to compete with or try to fill. He knows that and reassures me daily.
Mother’s Day arrived and it was much better than anticipated. Jason took our son on a hike in the local hills. They were able to bond and also complete one of the approaching requirements for our son’s Boy Scout activities, which would have meant so much to Simon. We attended church and followed that with a leisurely lunch and dinner that I didn’t have to cook, therefore it was delicious. I was even able to sneak in a few hours of shopping for nothing in particular, which is my favorite kind of shopping. The kids had picked out Mother’s Day cards for me and my mom on their own. One of the cards had romantic undertones. We lightheartedly questioned the card and the kids adamantly justified the phrase on the card, “My love for you grows stronger each year.” Sweet innocence!
In the last few weeks, our son has been having a medical issue that, so far, seems minor and correctable. The specialist was asking me a series of questions about family health history and I couldn’t recall some details about Simon’s medical history. I can’t call him. I can’t text him. I can’t ask him when he gets home from work. I can’t talk to him ever again on this earth. There is still an internal struggle to combat bitterness and feel like a victim. That same week, our son was trying to remember a little corny hugging routine that Simon would do with the kids before bed. The details are getting hazier but I think after some debate, we were able to reenact it together. I try to write or record as much as I can, but some things still slip through the cracks of my memory.
A few days ago, we celebrated Jason’s birthday. We had a family party before he headed off to Utah for a weekend of hiking with the guys. Upon his return, he had received a letter in the mail from Simon’s grandparents. They wished him a happy birthday, expressed their thankfulness for him, and have welcomed him into the family like one of their own. Have I mentioned before how much I love them? I love, love, love them.
So that’s where we’ve been. As this journey progresses, for every bad day, there are more and more good days. My unsolicited advice is to go and love those closest to you. Take advantage of the privilege it is to ask them questions and hear their answers. And if you have a corny bedtime hugging routine, you might just want to record it.