Just days after Simon died, it started. “You should go to the cabin.” “When will you go to the cabin?” “Why don’t you just go to the cabin.” “Have you gone to the cabin yet?” Like “the cabin” was some miracle healer after the death of a child.
Here is what the cabin is for me. It is a place of memories. It is a place where ever since I was a child, I dreamed of taking my children. It is a place of wonder. Of adventure. Of family. Of love. It is a place of laughter. It is a place of fun. It is a place of relaxation. Nature. Beauty. It is a place of joy.
Everyone was right. They knew that it was “my place,” “my happy place.”
But “happy places” don’t miraculously bring your child back to life. They don’t “heal.” Just like “Just be positive!” doesn’t prevent pregnancy loss. “Just smile!” doesn’t instantly make someone happy. “Just get over it!” “Just move on.” None of these solve life’s disasters.
I bet you wouldn’t know it, unless you actually asked, but the cabin is one of my biggest triggers. For the longest time, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t walk through the door. I couldn’t walk through that door knowing that Simon never will. I couldn’t walk up and down the road knowing that I will never see Simon doing so as well. I couldn’t watch Nolan throw rocks and pinecones into the river knowing that he will never do so with his kid brother. I couldn’t watch Nolan ride his bike down the hill knowing that he will never have the chance to adventure to the General Store for candy or cinnamon rolls with his little brother as I had always imagined. I couldn’t watch Nolan pretend to fish knowing that he would never get to go fishing with his little brother. I couldn’t come here for our annual Thanksgiving dinner knowing that there would always be someone missing at the table. I couldn’t relax on the couch while there was a thunderstorm outside knowing that Simon will never experience the wonder of a summer storm. I couldn’t sit on the couch with a fire burning knowing that Simon would never relax in my arms watching the logs burn. (They are fake, but that’s besides the point!) I couldn’t spend a long extended time here as I had always dreamed of knowing that he will always be missing.
But here I am. Here I am doing it anyway. Here I am watching Nolan throw countless rocks and pinecones into the river. Here I am watching Nolan practice fishing with the best sticks we can find. Here I am watching him bike down, and NOT up the road, by himself. Here I am buying cinnamon rolls and getting candy anyway. Here we are exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, because we can, and because its gorgeous. Here we are cuddling on the couch watching the fake logs burn. Here we are building forts and hiding from bears. Here we are experiencing our first annual “cabin adventure week.”
And here we are, making memories. The only thing I can do.