The more time that passes, the more I want to get out of this life. (Don't panic - not like that) At first, when everything was turned so upside down, I clung to things that were familiar. My friends. My family. My house. People asked me if I was going to go back to work at the same school, and I said "of course." Because to make things so different on purpose seemed insane to me. Why would I create even more turmoil for myself?
I hear stories of couples who break clean away from their old lives after losing a child. They move to a new city. They get new jobs. They embrace change out of necessity. Not because they are running away, but because they are running towards something else - something better, something lighter. Sometimes, the past is too painful to hold on to, no matter how hard you try. Sometimes, you need a fresh start. I get that now. If I had the financial means to do so right now, that is exactly what I would do. I would move. Far, far away.
When Mike and I were on our honeymoon in Kauai, we took a day trip from Lihue up to the north coast. On the way there, we stopped for breakfast at a coffee shop in Kapa'a. Just across the street from the pacific ocean, the shop was a small wooden building painted sunshine yellow. The original structure had been added on to over the years, making it look a little like someone was playing dominoes with box cars. Inside, local artists proudly displayed their work. Canvases thick with paint and inspiration covered the indigo walls. The barista was a woman probably in her late twenties, who's tank top was covered in coffee stains and who's arms were covered in tattoos. The breakfast crowd obviously consisted of regulars, as they chatted with each other and the employees with ease and familiarity. The atmosphere was both electric and mellow. As we ate our breakfast, surrounded by art and ocean air, I thought about what would happen if we just didn't come home. What if we just stayed in Kauai? I could work at this coffee shop. I could paint some art for the walls. We'd get a tiny bungalow on the beach with gray, wooden floor boards as wide as my open palm. We'd sleep with the windows open and the sounds of the waves pushing onto the shore. Our kids would be water babies, able to swim before they could walk. In those twenty minutes at the coffee shop, I imagined a whole new life for us. I pictured myself pregnant and swollen, wrapped in a sarong, walking barefoot on the beach. In those twenty minutes at the coffee shop, I was ready to trade my life here to become a Hawaiian hippie.
Now, I realize that was just the idealistic dreams of a newlywed. My life with Mike had officially begun, and I wanted to conjure up the best one possible. Realistically, I knew that would never happen. I knew our time in Hawaii would have to end. But, it was okay because we had our own pretty great life to come back to. We had plans. We had a future.
And then life sucker punched me in the gut - quite literally. Just like that, the plans I made were gone. The future I had envisioned disappeared in a flash. And sometimes, I feel like there is nothing left for me here. Everything is a constant reminder of what is missing. Everything. From the friend who was going to take Kenley to the zoo to the baby thrift shop I was planning to frequent. I am surrounded by a life I can't have while being crushed by a life I don't want.
I want to start over. I don't want to be the mother of a dead daughter. I don't want a life where I have to search for meaning everywhere just to keep myself from falling a part. I want to grab Mike's hand and a suitcase - and just disappear. I want to make art and coffee in Kapa'a. And I want to look at the night sky with wonder and joy once again.