I decided to take us off the schedule for 2 WHOLE days while N was away in NY so we could get a change of scenery and spend some time together. Jill recommended a great area in the western part of the state because of the hiking trails and the cute little towns. So we headed out-of-town Tuesday morning with no hotel booked-just decided to check a couple of towns and places out in-person.
I was really looking forward to going away-something different, something away from here and away from the daily grind that grinds so much worse now. We have not spent time away or time on our marriage in years. This turn our life took way before Aiden died has kept us from any type of date weekends or even date nights. It was time and it was beyond necessary given our life and marriage the last 11 weeks.
Getting the last of my stuff packed, an uncomfortable feeling came over me. I felt like I did when I was a kid and going to a sleep over I didn’t really want to. It was grief pain for sure, but I felt homesick. It confused me. Why would I be homesick of all things? But that is what it felt like. As I continued packing, I began to understand better what I was feeling. I was feeling how I always have when we leave the boys behind. Especially Aiden, because he was the youngest and did not like us going away. He missed us always and I knew that. I felt what I always felt, except I was not leaving anyone behind. That was the ache that felt like “homesick” to me- we’re not leaving anyone behind. I know that our brains create physical emotional pathways. I believe the emotional pathways that made me feel how I did whenever I left Aiden, are still there and making me feel that way still. I couldn’t reason my way out of it. They’ve been developed and engrained for almost 20 years of raising my boys. You can’t unlearn to feel. I didn’t want to “leave Aiden” even though he isn’t here to leave.
I believe the minds of grieving parents need to “catch up” and allow those pathways to go in a different direction. They need to be re-routed. Re-created. Existing ones need to heal and we need to expect the unexpected emotions. The ambushes. It’s not ‘crazy’ even though that is exactly how it feels. How can a rational mind who knows our child is gone, feel the need to get home to that child? Because we are wired to and that is why healing is a process. I didn’t want to leave him and I couldn’t shake the need to get back to him.
The weekend was so awesome. We climbed this rock to the top and even sprinted the second half of the stairs! We actually did 4 hikes in 2 days. We found the greatest restaurants and so appreciated the food, being out, being away finally and being together. It felt like the “old’ us. We laughed, we were in awe of our beautiful surroundings. We used our bodies and our minds in an exhilarating way (with a twisted ankle and sore back to prove it ). It was all good and I had no reason to want to go home, but that same feeling came over me the second day. I was homesick. Physically grieving. I felt I needed to get back to someone, to people who aren’t there anymore. None of the boys right now, but especially Aiden. I was fighting a strong need to get home. But to what? To who? I kept asking myself. Somewhere in the recesses of my emotional mind, Aiden is still home and I want to get back to him, just like I always did. I was not a Mom who relished time away from my kids. I always wanted to get back to them. But there was no reason to rush and so we didn’t and we had another wonderful day.
When we walked in the door that evening, the homesick was there and it was heavy. The ache was hard and strong. An empty house. How is that even possible? ( Yes, the disbelief is still there.) So what is my positive in this? Where is the growth? Where is God? The positive is that we did it. We chose to leave here to be together and be better for one night. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a start. The growth is that we loved our time away. The surroundings we hadn’t seen before, the physical challenges, the food, the people in the cafe’s, the being together. The growth is that we didn’t let our pain and fear and uncomfortable-ness bring us home. Where was God in this? God is everywhere we are and I am learning that once again. I don’t own it, I don’t feel “peace that surpasses understanding” yet, but I know He is there. He was there when I was aching. He was there in nature. He was there when I looked out at the view and all I could think about was how Aiden would’ve loved it. He created Aiden, so He knew it too. When I had flashbacks of hikes and explorations we did with Aiden and I wanted to cry, He was there. He Knew. He is continually keeping us moving and healing. Many times I don’t feel Him, but I’m believing against the grain that He is.
So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10