This afternoon and the next few days will mark another first in the journey that the kids and I embarked upon on July 7 of this year. (That's the day Keith died.) We will be taking our first vacation type trip this weekend. We are starting small and just going to Atlanta for a few days. I have a very sweet friend, Anita, who is accompanying us so I don't have to do this first alone.
I have to say that I have been dragging my feet all week long on making preparations for this trip. It isn't that I don't want to go. I am excited about going. I just don't want to be somewhere that I can't associate with Keith. Every place we are going, we have never been with Keith. None of us. Keith and I had only gone to Atlanta twice in our 17 years of marriage. Once for my birthday the first year we were married. We spent a couple of days at Six Flags. The second time was a couple of years ago. Keith and I took the kids to a Nascar truck race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (We couldn't afford the "big" race that weekend.)
I really don't want to be away from our house, especially not for 4 days. I don't want to be away from our bedroom, away from Keith's things, away from the grief. What!!! You may ask. That's right. I don't want to be away from the grief. Even though it is painful and miserable, it is what I know. It is my comfort zone. Living outside of grief is not something I am familiar with. It is the unknown and that is very scary to me right now. No one likes to be out of their comfort zone. Grief is all I have known for 12 weeks, 3 days, 1 hour, and 52 minutes (as of when I am writing this). It's ALL I have known. I want more than anything to cocoon myself in this grief where I feel that it's all I have left of Keith. I don't want to know that I can live life without him by my side. I don't want to know that I am capable of being happy without feeling sadness or grief. I don't want to move on.
Now, I KNOW that is the grief talking. That is my broken heart talking. That is my flesh talking. I also know that in pain there is healing. Driving away from our house this afternoon will be difficult, but I need to do this. My kids need me to do this. I will go simply because the kids are looking forward to this trip so much. It's what they are used to. We have gone on a fall break vacation for the last few years. They have been afraid that we would never "do" the family things that we did with Keith anymore. I have to do this to let them see that it is okay to live life, even when your dad has died. I need to let them see that life doesn't have to be all sadness and grief. Just because that is how I feel, doesn't mean that is how they feel. Children grieve differently than adults. My kids need to know that this is OKAY!
So, off we go for our first family vacation without Keith. Yes, I am crying right now. Can't hardly see to type for the tears. That is a very hard sentence to type, much less speak. This is our first family vacation without Keith. In speaking it and seeing it, comes acceptance. With acceptance, comes the pain and sadness. Through the pain and sadness, comes healing.
Please cover us in prayer this weekend for travel mercies, peace filled and happy hearts, and that we stay well.
If I have Internet access and some down time, I may post during our trip on how we are doing.
Still in His grip, even while in the valley of the shadow of death!