We take vacations for many reasons.  Sometimes they’re your standard garden-variety getaways from the everyday rigors of work and school.  Sometimes they’re just a break from a day of mundane activities.  Sometimes, they’re an escape–something you do to run from something or someone.  Sometimes, they’re a refuge, a respite–something you do to run to something or someone.

My “vacation” from blogging would fall into a different category: not a vacation at all.  I’ve been so busy during the day that I’ve been too tired at night to sit down and type out my thoughts.  Unlike a vacation, where you often equate your time away to relaxing, this vacation was actually somewhat stressful.  I have had a number of days where things worthy of blogging were on my mind–and such blogging could have helped give me a respite from some overwhelming feelings.  Unfortunately, when you’re worn out from too many long days, it’s hard to see straight sitting in front of the monitor…

My vacation last week–a garden-variety vacation from work and responsibility–was envisioned as a getaway.  Go see a little of this…

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Go see a little of that…

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Go enjoy a little time here…

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And go celebrate a beautiful outdoor wedding with a friend…

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The Cubs games were fun–despite being two tough losses.  Our trip to Six Flags Great America (the picture is of the Little Dipper kiddie roller coaster that was saved from the old Kiddieland amusement park that was shut down and dismantled in 2009 and set up at Great America) was a ton of fun, spending time with an old friend and watching Aviela develop a new friendship with the old friend’s teenaged daughter.  The wedding was gorgeous and a great time.

If it seems like I’m rushing through the fun stuff–well, I am.  I know it’s my “new normal,” and I should have already learned to accept it, but Micah and his memories follow me everywhere I go…

Monday morning, Aviela and I stepped up to the Southwest Airlines baggage check area.  As we’re finishing up the process of checking our luggage for the flight, the woman behind the counter calls out, “We have 37 open.  We have an opening for 37.  Please step forward to 37.”  I look up: we’re checking in at station 36, with station 37 empty to our right.  37 had an opening…

I spent considerable time during the trip closing my eyes and seeing Micah.  Thinking about what Micah might say about the Cubs games…  Hearing Micah laugh at jokes we were telling in line at Great America.  Picturing Micah’s mouth watering at Lowry’s The Prime Rib at dinner on Tuesday night.  With every person we saw on the trip, thinking that the last trip in when I saw (most of) them was last November, when we were in town for Micah’s last big out of town hockey tournament.

That last memory led, of course, to memories of Micah being on the ice.  Micah joking with his friends Ozzy and Cam in the back of the team van, having so much fun that I knew the crushing losses the team suffered really were not truly important to him in the long run.  Micah with a big smile on his face, not a care in the world…

Among the final day in Chicago stops was our now-traditional brunch with my family.  My aunt and uncle from Aurora (my mother’s brother and sister-in-law), my aunt and uncle from Evanston (my father’s brother and sister-in-law), cousins, second cousins, and my sister-in-law (my brother–who I’d seen three times already–was at the airport himself, getting ready for a business trip out of town) all present.  What hadn’t occurred to me: I had not seen any of them since Micah passed away.

Everyone wanted to express their condolences for our loss.  They wanted to know how we were doing.  They wanted to know how we could cope with such a loss.  They needed to move to their own next stage of grieving.  In the process, they forced me back a step, reliving those memories once again.

I was locked in a time warp for a long moment–thinking about how hard it has been to go on without my son, thinking about how much I’ve fooled myself into believing I’m okay, thinking again about everything really is not okay–and never will be.  I don’t blame my family for putting me into that time warp–it’s a place I clearly need to spend a little more time visiting…

I think Micah wanted to remind me that he was still there with me, right up until my return departure to Phoenix.  My randomly-assigned boarding position for my flight home?  B-37.

Friday will be six months.  It’s not even a day.

David

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