Another school break quickly approaches and I am fortunate enough to be able to take a quick vacation with my boys. I am feeling excited for a change of scenery and being in a place I really enjoy. We are marking down the calendar, talking of plans, and getting ourselves ready to go. There is a pang in my heart every time a vacation nears though. A pang, a yearning, an anxiety – all of the above that creeps up my spine every time I ready myself now for a trip.
Dave and I loved vacations. We enjoyed road trips, plane trips, really any kind of trip. He loved making all the plans, plotting our course and readying the cars or plane tickets or what ever else we needed. My plans included packing, getting the kids ready and making sure anything that needed to go, went. We were a great team when we traveled – there was no stress and everything fell into place. One time we were all ready to go the night before our road trip and we went to bed. We both woke up much earlier than we had planned, picked up the kids and just drove off – it was so nice – it felt like we had an extra day. We enjoyed the sunrise and the peace and quiet you can only enjoy when you grab your kids out of bed and they stay asleep for several more hours.
When Dave died, well actually when he became sick, my rest time dwindled quickly. With a new baby in the house and him now being taken over by cancer and our older son just being a kid I hardly slept. Vacation meant even more. We were blessed to have several trips in his final months. They were by far much more bittersweet in those final months. I rested more and we had that quality time together you can only find when you’re all shoved in a hotel room! Every where we went a thought loomed through my mind – this will be the last time…the last time…
Well, you know what happened – he died. Vacations as I knew them died with him. Not to be discouraged, I got back on the horse pretty quickly after he died. That first summer after he died, at the end of the summer, I loaded the boys, then one age 7 and one 9 months old into the car and took a 4 day vacation. I was terrified. I was broken hearted and longing to recapture at least one piece of what was. It went ok. We were all sad, but we did our best. I remember always scanning the crowd in hopes of seeing Dave there – maybe he was there was us – it wouldn’t be like him to miss a vacation – and maybe if I tried hard enough I’d see him again.
The following summer we went again. I’ve tried vacations all different ways since then – with family, with my parents and just the boys and me alone…the pang is still there…but I still go…the sadness is still there, but it’s manageable. It is not all consuming as it had been. But, as I prepare to go on another trip with my kids, I feel it. I feel it so much. I miss our teamwork. I miss having someone to share it with, I miss the laughter, and in those evenings on vacation after the kids are asleep and I’m sitting alone, I really miss having him to cuddle up with and relax…but I still go. I’d like to say it gets easier, but it doesn’t really. It just becomes more manageable. I rest, I enjoy my kids and I try with all my heart to remember what happy feels like again…my hope is some day, I’ll wake up and I won’t have to try anymore. It’ll just be there…I will just be happy again.