In three days, it will be Gavin's birthday. Our first birthday without him. It is definitely hitting me hard. I've dreaded this weekend - but also looked forward to our special plans. We decided to use tickets to Hershey Park that were gifted to the three of us after Gavin died by my childhood friend, Lizanne. Gavin LOVED rides. Last year for his birthday, we took him to Dutch Wonderland... something Brian still talks about. We thought we would combine three of Gavin's greatest loves this weekend - an overnight stay in a hotel with his cool travel tent bed (which Brian will sleep in)... an indoor pool at the hotel which Gavin would have loved (and Brian will flip over!)... and the amusement park.
There's only one little issue. Right now, I'm sick as a dog. I have a dreadful cold and a building cough. We can't postpone the trip because this is the last weekend they are open for the Fall. Hopefully I will rally by Saturday - and feel a LOT better by Sunday. This illness couldn't have come at a worse time. And Gavin's death - that couldn't have come at a worse time, either. I would have much preferred that it would have come.... NEVER. As it turns out, his dying is very inconsiderate to our living.
This morning while Brian was at school, I had a pity party. I started talking to Gavin and telling him how I should be wondering what he and Miss Sara were doing in school at that moment - not wondering how I was going to go on without him at that moment. How I should be stressing about his birthday party - and how to decorate his cake - and what big, huge present we should get him - not wondering if we'll make it through this birthday without him. I just wish that things were different.
Today, our beloved Miss Sara gave me the unbelievable gift of time. She has been downstairs playing with Brian so I can rest upstairs in bed this afternoon. She arrived with a card and a HUGE gift bag filled with adorable outfits for Hope, her Goddaughter. In the card she wrote that buying these little gifts for Hope filled the place in her heart that was missing buying birthday presents for Gavin. I completely understand what she means.
Sara was with us through the worst days of our life. She was with me and the boys as we drove to the emergency room. She kept her composure as she drove Brian home from the ER in our minivan (which she had only driven once before) while we chased a helicopter that held our dying son. She moved into our home and became Brian's surrogate Mom as we kept vigil at Gavin's bedside for the next three days. And she bravely gave a eulogy at the funeral for this little boy that she had become so, very close to. She will be part of our family forever - as it should be.
Brian was thrilled to see her today.
She even brought a gift for him - "Chutes and Ladders" - and he promptly made up his own set of directions on how to play.
I could hear them laughing and making up games and doing puppet shows and dancing around. It made me so happy. But there was one giggle that was missing from the equation... and one set of arms that should have been wrapped around her neck.
Something tells me this is going to be a long and difficult weekend. But it is important to us to honor Gavin - to let him see us having fun on what should be a happy occasion, the day we celebrate his birth. It's important to us to model for Brian that it's okay to laugh and have fun and still express your sadness and talk about how much we miss Gavin. This weekend is important in so many ways.
But boy - I think we're all wishing that things were different.