Summer is my favorite season. I am actually pretty bitter that it is already the first week of Fall. Not that we even get many seasonal days here in California. I mean, I do love pumpkin flavored everything and cozy socks, but I’ll miss my tan lines and the pool days more. & honestly who am I kidding, I am afraid of what emotions this next season will bring with all of it’s unwanted anniversaries and memories of where we were last year as dates roll by. I wanted to take the opportunity to write something with a little less heartache and show that I am evolving and perservering through my grief. Sometimes it seems hard to admit that we have had extremely happy moments this past year, but we have.
September has been a refreshing month, but then again it wound down with unexpected events that I won’t talk about here. As soon as I’ve caught my breathe another wave of life dramas rolled in and I feel like I am back at the scramble to alleviate unwanted emotions for myself and those in my immediate circle. Summer also seemed like a great time for us to start trying to have another baby and as it comes to an end… we’re still trying. Another subject of disappointment in and of itself, for another time.
We did a lot of new things this summer and visited a lot of new places. Between the new stuff we also enjoyed familiar comforting experiences. The perfect balance. If I am being honest the main motive for anything we did this summer was to get my mind off of losing Benjamin. Not that he doesn’t deserve to be in my thoughts but it’s been exhausting. It has been hard through all the fun to forget that this summer was supposed to be filled with different kind of firsts and new adventures for us. Always on the back of my mind, sometimes the front.
One of the best parts of the summer was who we spent it with. We spent most of our time with people who understood us in a different way, something that going into this year seemed impossible. This season we had new & old friends who filled voids for us and let us live out our summer in a careless way that we deserved. The people we needed in our lives this summer were the ones who showed up and weren’t scared of our brokenness. We enjoyed our time with the people who didn’t treat us differently but cared enough to ask questions at the right time and stay silent when necessary.
I wanted to do a recap of the summer and share our adventures because I want to remember this season in all of it’s glory but also in all of it’s grief. Bittersweet is the only word to describe it. So, here are some pictures and a brief summary of all the things.
Ok ok, when we visited Colorado it was technically Spring, but not much happened in May and this was one of our first & best trips of the year. We have been trying to take an annual trip to visit a different Supercross race (motorcycle racing), starting last year when we went to Phoenix. While in Colorado we stayed in a super awesome AirBnb, it snowed, we went to the Broncos stadium to watch Supercross, we went on a ghost tour in Denver, we went to the the Coors Brewery in Golden and the Red Rock Amphitheater in Morrison. We ate good food and drank good beer. I took too many tequila shots and threw up in a uber… It was a fun little get away with Scott’s family. There were points where I felt mentally over stimulated from having to be around other people for 4 whole days but overall it was a much needed adventure that gave us a break from our normal every day life in.
Marathon & Big Bear (June)
So, then we skip to June when Summer actually began. It started off with me running a marathon. At first that put me in a good place mentally because of what a great feat it was to accomplish. But, soon after I fell into a rut, now that the weather was really heating up I had to muster up the courage to wear a bathing suit even though I was and still am pretty insecure about my mom tummy. I’m more so insecure about the fact that I have a weird stomach now but no baby. June was the beginning of a long process of our dog having issues with fox tails (it continued on until August). Then Father’s day rolled around and our in-laws wanted us to accompany them to a night in Big Bear. I cried and begged Scott not to make me go. I was having a dramatic moment worrying about our dog (we ended up bringing him on our trip and he loved it), plus father’s day is always weird for me since my dad passed away and I don’t know I honestly just wasn’t in a good place to be around people for a full 48 hours. I was still having a really hard time processing the fact that a year ago we were just finding out I was pregnant and the beginning of summer meant no Benjamin to share my favorite season with. Everything ended up being fine. June was tough but it flew by.
OREGON & WASHINGTON (July)
July was good to us. The month started off rough with my little 4th of July Breakdown. Summer was in full force, we embraced the weather and took the opportunity to have boat days with friends and pools days all within our community. At the end of the month we took our trip to Portland in anticipation for the Outdoor National Motocross race in Washougal, WA, just across the Oregon border. The last time we had been in Portland was for my brother’s wedding a year prior and we had just found out I was pregnant. So, to be back, not pregnant and without a baby, I knew going into this trip I was going to drink all the ciders and eat all the good foods. And that is basically all we did. No JK. We did eat really good food, but we also went and got random tattoos from a Plinko board that a local tattoo shop had. We drove into Washougal which was beautiful and the Motorcycle racing took my breath away. The track was in the middle of the forest, we were so close to the racing that we were pelted with dirt and of course we got the VIP treatment thanks to my work connections. The day left us all exhausted but with a feeling of unbelievable bliss, it was a great first experience to share with my brother and Scott. Another day while there we took a drive to the Oregon Coast. Just the drive was incredible with all of the trees and small town charm and when we got to Astoria, OR we climbed to the top of the Astoria Column and got a view of the whole area. We got to spend some quality time with my brother and that is always a very comforting feeling. I left missing my brother but I also felt so thankful for another trip to take our minds off of the grief that often burdens our everyday life.
Random Things in Between & LAKE HAVASU (August)
July ended on a high as we headed into August, we had very few plans made. It is always a refreshing feeling when we don’t have plans because then we can relax or join in on some impromptu adventures. We ended up being able to spend some quality time with some of the friends that I mentioned earlier in my post. We spent a lot our summer weekends mobbing around on our golf cart, soaking up the sun on a friends boat, at the pool, at the beach, watching fireworks, taking in beautiful sunsets and loving on our dogs. Speaking of dogs, I mentioned earlier that our dog had some medical issues that didn’t clear up until August. Well, even though we had a lot of fun in August we also had a lot of stress. Our dog got sedated, operated on and then patched up with staples. The staples weren’t all the way healed when taken out. I woke up to blood all over my pillow and a dog with a 3 in open neck wound… very traumatizing. So, again he was put under anesthesia, operated on and then patched up with stitches. Our dogs have always been important to us but also since we lost Ben they have become even more meaningful to us. Even just the mere thought of losing our dog or knowing he was in pain was very heart wrenching. I hit a low and felt like a terrible mom/dog mom. Then of course we ended the month with a trip to Lake Havasu, AZ for Scott’s birthday. We enjoyed ourselves in one of our favorite places and made memories with friends, but also it made me miss Benjamin so fucking much. I imagined myself stressed out with a baby on a boat for the first time, but also I imagined passing him around to everyone and seeing the joy on their faces because I know how much they’d all love him. I imagined his little face staring at the water and desert in aw like we often do. I wished he could be there with us. Instead I got drunk, cried for a little bit and then had some fun.
And now for the finale, we took our annual wedding anniversary camping trip. This year I chose a campground 45 minutes from South Lake Tahoe, CA, with hopes of visiting Tahoe for the first time. When booking the campground it didn’t look all that great but upon arrival it blew our minds. First, the drive up the 395 is something everyone should experience because there is so much beauty to be seen. Our campground was in Markleeville, CA which is the tiniest little mountain town that gave off horror movie vibes, but ended up being really sweet. We spent one day exploring Lake Tahoe, we rode the gondola up the mountain 9000 ft, hiked around at the top, enjoyed a beer, the view and of course people watching. We spent a couple hours at the lake and ended the night with some pizza. The campground ended being so wonderful that we spent a whole day exploring and hiking around it. My soul needed a break from all things society and luxury. I needed to be grounded and connected with the earth and that is everything the trip gave me. I was able to think about Benjamin in a different light and that felt refreshing because like I said, I spent most of the Summer trying to stay busy enough to get my mind off of dark things.
Alright, alright, alright, if you made it through the longest post ever and you are still with me at this point. I almost erased this whole post half way through because like really who gives a shit what I was up to all summer. Y’all were probably doing very similar things. My whole point I guess is to say LOOK AT ME, not in the annoying I want everyone’s attention way, but look at me I am alive. We may be going through possibly one of the hardest things a human has to endure, the loss of a child, and there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t wish Benjamin was here with us experiencing everything we had to offer him as parents but we are also still moving along with the ebbs and flows. If you are going through Hell, keep on going. There is fun and adventure to be had even if it wasn’t what you had planned on.
Learning to love myself and our life through this season has been so demanding but I appreciate everything it has taught me thus far. The Summer without Benjamin was tough, but it wasn’t unbearable and it has also been one of the greatest adventures I’ve been on.