i don't know exactly where to start with this post.
in april i told my dh that i was going to hawaii for nathaniel's birthday. he was welcome to come with me, but he didn't have to. i gave that same message to my living son. they both ended up coming with me.
so here we are for the week, on the island of kauai. when we arrived yesterday, i was tired and hungry and ready for the world to end. but then i ate and had a nap. it's probably good that we came.
for the past couple of weeks, people would say things like "are you *excited* for your trip to hawaii?" and i couldn't fake it. i couldn't say "yes (exclamation point smiley face)" so i would just say no. when they asked me in person and my face would contort into grief, i wouldn't have to say anything. i'm not here on vacation. i'm here because i needed to get away, and i know myself well enough to know that i needed to get away.
i was talking to a dear friend and fellow blm the day before we left, and i told her how i was feeling a little bit anxious about the fact that i wasn't *doing* anything for nathaniel. like, some people take toys to the local hospital on their child's birthday. other people i know have had the memorial service on their child's first angelversary. she told me that since i've already had nathaniel's service, and i've done other "external" things in his memory, maybe this week i can just focus on my relationship with nathaniel.
when she suggested that i started crying, and i told her that it's just so painful. but it resonated like good advice.
when i've lost other people in my life, like my dad, it was hard, and it continues to be hard, but i always felt like he was there, just beyond the fabric of the material world, and whenever i needed him i could just "tune in" to his presence. and then i could talk to him and ask him questions. i used to say that i felt like i had more of my father after he had died than i had while he was alive.
but with nathaniel it was different. it is different. i had a *very* distinct sense that he was *here* and then he was *gone*. gone gone. i could get a feel for him once in a while, but not very often, and i had to try really hard. and it was just so painful. there were several months this summer when i would meditate with the mantra: in breath - nathaniel is inside of me, out breath - i am inside of nathaniel. and for many weeks, this was one of the only thoughts that would soothe my nerves.
so much of my faith and my felt "knowing" of the world has been completely called into question over the past year, and that has undoubtedly impacted my relationship with nathaniel. also, i have so much guilt and shame that it's hard for me to look him in the eye.
so i guess that's my task - to bring myself more wholly and more honestly into my relationship with nathaniel, if i can. but how to start?
there was a little girl on the beach today - about 14 or 15 months old - not much older than nathaniel. i watched her for a while. she wore a red pocka-dotted sunhat and had sand all over her legs, arms, and belly. i watched her toddle all around. my dh caught my eye shortly after that and smiled. i felt like i was caught trying to be brave, trying to look at a baby without getting upset. And this made me crumble into sobs.