Monday, April 24, 2006
So yes, we made it home, all in one piece. The drive time was as peaceful as I could possibly have asked for - even Terra the Terrible Two Year Old was well behaved. The visit was nice. It's been so long since I've been to Troy to see his family, I guess I forgot what great people they are.
Scott's mother and I seemed to hit it off in a way we never really did before. We never disliked each other, we just never connected. This time we did. I don't know if it's the fact that nearly a decade has passed since we last saw each other, or if it's the fact that we each just lost our youngest son, or maybe it's something else I'm not thinking of, I don't know.
All I know is that Scott's family is a bunch of really wonderful people, and they were all in so much pain. And yet many of them were trying to console Scott and I and say whatever they could to let us know that they cared about Nova's death. I had already decided that it would be rude and presumptuous to expect them to have to bear any part of my grief when they had so much of their own. Scott's mother extended her condolences, and all I could say was, "This isn't about me Connie, you have so much of your own stuff to deal with right now..."
It was a difficult thing, trying not to interject my own grief into theirs. I will admit that I cried through much of the service, and for my own loss as much as for theirs.
And there was so much family, the reception was full of friends and family, and little children and babies. So many babies. It seemed like everyone had a baby. One of them was born on April 3rd, a little girl with a full head of black hair. She's Scott's niece and her name is Alexis, Alexis LeClair, our daughter's name.(Scott swears that her last name isn't LeClair - that she has the father's last name, but her older sisters wrote "Alexis Marie LeClair" in sidewalk chalk outside their house, so I dunno...)
We spent a couple of extra days there. We intended to leave on Friday morning but ended up staying until Sunday afternoon, and I felt as though I held my breath for 4 days. It was not my place to cry in the face of their grief, and I didn't. But it was a rough ride home. All the emotions all mixed up and bubbled over and I cried through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and a good part of Virginia. I felt like I'd spent days wearing the various masks that were expected of me (or maybe they were entirely self-inflicted.) I just wanted to sit there in the dark and be as empty as I felt, and watch the lights in distant cities just slide by in silence.
I don't regret handling it that way. I'd have felt terrible if I'd have expected them to support me right now, they barely know me, and never even met Nova - but I won't even try to pretend that it wasn't one of the most difficult things of my life to do. My life still revolves around my son in some ways, and I felt almost guilty for not acknowledging him.
I don't know if I did it "right" but it's how I did it anyway, and I did the best I could.
posted by Erin @ 8:01 PM