We haven't been on vacation for a full year. Two months of 'disability' leave after Ezra died didn't count, particularly since I was barely leaving the house at that point.. We've had a couple beautiful weekends away which brought some peace and gentle moments. But packing up and leaving our house for a full week...that hasn't happened since this time last year. It finally happened again this week.
Heading to the shore, I felt layers of stress falling away with each mile we drove. Its been a week of no 'have tos' and no 'shoulds'. Just a beautiful house, ocean waves, evening crickets, long walks and doing as we please. A week of my nephew's giggles and my niece's snuggles. A week of afternoon naps and time to read. A week of finding peace. We both feel rejuvenated. Our only wish is that we could stay here longer. I think if I could spend the rest of my pregnancy here, I might actually make it through without losing my mind. Sadly, we go home tomorrow.
The week has also been hard at times. Listening to my dad tell my nephew he's his favorite grandson felt like a knife to the gut. Watching my niece try to nuzzle up to my breast to breastfeed broke my heart. To the extent our days had any schedule, they revolved around toddler time (lunch at 11:30am, nap at 1pm, dinner at 5pm), highlighting all that we don't have. Other than with each other, we really haven't had an adult conversation in a week.
But the hardest part has been being left alone with my own head. Although much of the usual chatter has quieted this week, I can't help but reflect on our time here at the beach last year. I was 31 weeks pregnant, already feeling like an elephant, but a very happy elephant. Our lives felt so full of hope and promise...we were weeks away from meeting our precious son, Ezra's daddy had a new job, our family members were healthy...the world felt whole and ok.
And how quickly that has all unraveled. Not only have we lost a son, a father, a job...we have lost our grounding, our faith in the future, our sense of belonging in the universe. Our hopes and dreams have been crushed and replaced with sadness, anger, and anxiety. When I fully consider all we have lost, all I can do is weep.
I've also been reflecting on what we still have. A deep deep love for each other. The ability to know what matters in life. The capacity to appreciate quiet moments of beauty and peace. A Sunflower growing inside. We may be broken, but we haven't forgotten how to hope or dream.