After a short break from writing... I am back. I needed the time. Actually, I needed some time with my husband... just us... and that's just what we did.
Miss Katja came over Saturday morning, thrilling Brian and relieving us. Ed and I took off for a nice overnight in a hotel. I even got my hair done for the occasion - which was totally pampering. And then I enjoyed a nice dinner with my handsome husband.
Ed even had a surprise up his sleeve. He shocked me with an anniversary band. "To honor everything you've been through as a Mom... and to honor Hope," he told me. And, not so coincidentally, the ring had FIVE small diamonds across the top. We don't do these kinds of things - these extravagant things. It was such a surprise and made me feel so 'lifted'.
The truth is, we needed the time away. Away from the house filled with Gavin. Away from caring for anyone but us, even for just a night. Away from the day after day routine that is both comforting and suffocating.
But guess what. Just like many parents that are enjoying coveted "alone time," we talked mostly about our children. And we shed many tears over the turn of events in our family. But it was still time and we were grateful to spend it together.
I've been thinking about our summer plans over the last few days. We're hoping to go to the beach as a family a few times - Gavin's favorite place, for sure. Hopefully the urn we are having custom made will be complete soon and we can collect Gavin's ashes to bring home... and to the ocean.
I'm also hoping to sign Brian up for swim lessons at the YMCA and maybe soccer on the weekend at a local kids gym. I want to find ways to keep him busy. I've had lots of suggestions to schedule lots of playdates - which is obviously a brilliant idea. But here's the brutal and honest truth... with playdates, especially with kids I don't know well, comes socializing. Obviously I would have to put on a face and be social with the Mom. I would never be comfortable just dropping him off with a family I don't know, so that's not an option. I'm usually not "rude-sounding" like this... but right now I know my limits. I just don't feel like having to make conversation right now. With anyone. It's just the truth.
The other truth? I've been having serious anxiety. Like the kind where I have to remind myself to breathe during the day. It's so frustrating! The week ahead has me filled with anxiety. Today I met with the videography team that taped Gavin's funeral. They wanted to talk to me about the direction of the one video they are making - an inspirational video about Gavin's life which will live on my blog once it's completed. They will also be giving me a video of Gavin's funeral in the next several days. I'll also place that on my blog for those who'd like to see it. The prep leading up to the meeting - gathering videos of Gavin over the last five years - was a very difficult and emotional task. I had thought the meeting was going to be difficult, too, but was pleasantly surprised. They are investing so much of their own emotional energy into making this right and honoring Gavin's legacy. I am so grateful. That was today. Tomorrow is my next glimpse of Project Hope with an ultrasound. Wednesday we are going to DuPont Hospital. I'm talking to a pretty large group of doctors, nurses and more - almost all the people that have cared for Gavin over the last five years. Especially the people from the PICU that were there for his final days. I am overwhelmed that so many of them said yes! I know how busy all of them are so I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity to say thank you to everyone at once in such a special way. I am also terrified... but keep reminding myself that I gave a freaking eulogy at my five year old son's funeral. That's just about the hardest (and the worst) thing you can do - and if I can do that, I can do anything. Then Friday the three of us are headed down to The Gift of Life Family House to meet with them and choose the room that they are dedicating to Gavin. It's an overwhelmingly emotional week. Topped with the anxiety of waiting for the phone to ring with Project Hope's genetic testing results and gender reveal. Whew. Breathe, Kate.
The truth is, we all really miss Gavin. A lot. It definitely doesn't get easier, that's for sure! I think God slows everything down initially so you can survive - literally survive - the first few weeks. Then it all slowly creeps back in... not too much too soon... just slow enough that you can have a gradual sinking into sorrow. I have to say, God has been very considerate of our emotional, mental and physical needs. Definitely a pretty cool trick on His part. Ed and I find ourselves crying a lot more - which isn't a bad thing, unless you're in the middle of a restaurant. But what do we care. Brian has become a tad more clingy - which made me slightly afraid of leaving him overnight, but luckily he was great and had SO much fun with Katja.
This afternoon Brian and I were sitting on his bed (in his old room) and reading a stack of books. Suddenly he jumped up and pointed out the window.
"Look at that!" he said.
"Look at what, buddy?" I asked.
"Look at the tree! It grew!! Soon it will grow and grow and grow SO tall that Gavin will be able to climb down from Heaven when he's not sick anymore!" he excitedly explained.
We had a chat about how Gavin won't be coming home from Heaven... but how he's not sick at all there... and how being dead is forever and permanent... and we went through Gavin's death again, like we do nearly every day... and I told him a cool Heaven trick. Do you know the cool Heaven trick? I told Brian that if he just THINKS about Gavin... or talks to Gavin in his mind... or tells Gavin he loves him without even using his voice to do it... that Gavin can hear and see everything. That, kind of like the video monitor we have where we can see and hear into a room, there's the BIGGEST video monitor in Heaven. And Gavin can look at it all the time and hear and see and be all around you.
While it might seem torturous from the outside looking in - that I have to constantly talk about Gavin's death to our four year old son who is desperately trying to grasp the concept of what it means to be dead... it's not. To me, it is a beautiful and unexpected gift. Brian is very wise and I feel grateful that he is trusting enough to ask these difficult questions and share his thoughts the way he does. And each time I am re-telling the story of Gavin dying... I feel a part of my heart healing. Each time I tell Brian that Gavin is right there with him... that Heaven is everywhere... that Gavin can hear him... I believe my own words more and more.
I guess that's another cool Heaven trick.
I hope they keep coming...