Today was our first trip back to ND without our whole family. The last time we went was 4th of July. Matt was still alive and little did we know that just 25 days later, he would die in a head-on collision. It was also the first time I didn't take a family photo. Something that I will forever regret not doing. The weather just didn't cooperate and the opportunity with the busyness of the holiday weekend and it's activities didn't present itself. If only I had persisted. And now the thought of taking a family photo with one of our children not in the picture is agonizing. I can't imagine ever smiling again for a family photo. I've never been good at hiding the things in my heart from showing on my face.
Thursday was hard, packing suitcases and preparing for the trip. I was doing alright until I counted the suitcases and came up one short. I had been dreading this trip because I know that the “firsts” of anything after the loss of a loved one is difficult. I just didn't imagine it would be this difficult.
This morning dawned all too soon and we started to load up the van. Tempers ignited and flew over the littlest, insignificant stuff. Another sure sign of grief rearing it's ugly head. Dh and I were having a hard time. I had posted on FB that we were leaving for the weekend and, while I know people truly only mean well, I just wanted to scream when I read the comments saying, “Have a good time.” Seriously? Have a good time? I wanted to reply, “WE'RE GRIEVING! I'm not going to have a good time!” It's a good thing I don't always say what's in my head. That's what blogging is for. :)
We typically leave between 9:00-9:30am when we're traveling to Grandma and Grandpa's, but this time it didn't happen. Amidst Dh and I breaking down crying intermittently and the stress of trying to get the last minute stuff loaded, it was 10:30am by the time we left the driveway. We set out and only got about 20 minutes into driving when I realized I had forgotten the tub of Matt's clothes. Never mind we had already broken down crying at least 3x's in those twenty minutes, either. I picked up my Tracfone to call my mom and only cried harder when I realized I hit Matt's number on the phone. Ugh. Why does this have to be so hard? Why?
No sooner had I hung up when another wave of grief slapped me in the face. I went to grab a pen from the van console and instead came upon Matt's McDonald's Moche Frappe punch card. Another ugh. The morning was already shot and it didn't appear it was going to get any better. We turned the van around and headed back home. I had told Dh that I thought the brakes on the van needed looking at, too, so we made a plan that he would take the van in while we ate lunch at home and got the tub of clothes.
We finished lunch, loaded the tub of clothes, and headed back out onto the road. It turned out the brakes on the van were fine. By now, I had had a good cry, thanks to the comforting shoulders of a dear neighbor. She just let me sob and didn't try to console me with vain words. It was good and one of these days, I will learn to ride the waves rather than get pulled under! I know, ultimately, that this “first” of traveling without Matt with us would have occurred no matter when we took the trip. Might as well get it over with. Next time, hopefully, will be a little better.