Old Me/New Me

We are having a great time in NC – a lot of healing going on here that is really important and necessary, and which I will write about at length once I am no longer stealing computer time from our lovely hosts. The thing that I have been thinking about a lot this last week is the notion of the “before” and the “after”. We hopped in the car last Saturday to start our 14+ hour drive and I felt at first like “this is so great; we haven’t been on a road trip in so long” and remembering all the trips we did. Brandon and I used to drive a LOT before Ani was born (9+ hour drives were fairly regular on a weekend) and even since she’s been born we continue to drive a lot – getting to the grandparents takes either 4 or 6 hours depending on the set we’re visiting, and we started doing those drives when Ani was about 4 weeks old. So she’s no stranger to the car trip either. 

I have so many memories from those trips – so very many. Brandon and I driving along and taking turns driving and reading the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy to each other, or reading through the Harry Potter series, or just talking.

So I got in the car last Saturday and all of those memories completely crashed with the reality of “now” – of Oliver’s death. And I wonder if I’m ever going to enjoy things like that again, in the way that I did before. I don’t think so – I don’t think I will ever be that completely carefree and just happy again. I mean, I think I will be very happy – I am very happy a lot of the time – but the fact is that you can’t just erase what happened. It did happen. It was real. It’s horrible and awful but it’s real. And so there will always be an “after”. I can’t escape that…..so I guess what I really wonder is what that will be like – later when things aren’t so raw. What will that be?

If someday I am hopping into the car to head out with my family and there are three kids in the backseat and we are having a good time talking and being excited about our destination…will  Oliver’s death simply be a bittersweet thing? Will we see an echo of him in our living children and smile, maybe a little sadly, wondering what it would have been like if there’d been four kids in the back instead of three? Or will it still be something that is desperately sad?

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