Sunday, December 18, 2016

That Time Of The Year

Here we are, in the thick of it.

Oberon's second birthday was spent much like his first.  We asked people to think of him and share with us.   We donated to the Pollinator Partnership and FNIH.  We went to Uvas Canyon and hiked all the trails we did when we scattered his ashes there.

Hiking at Uvas Canyon - 11/24/16

We also decided to donate to Uvas Canyon and provide a bench with a memorial plaque for Obie.  The bench is at Manzanita Point, a spot on the Alec Canyon Trail with a beautiful view of the valley below and one of the places with Obie's ashes.  We all spent some time on the bench, thinking about Oberon, enjoying the view, and letting Evie get out of the carrier for a bit.

Enjoying Oberon's bench at Uvas Canyon - 11/24/16

It was surreal.  While we have been back to Uvas Canyon a number of times, there were certain trails we hadn't retraced.  We hadn't been to the Old Logging Camp or Knobcone Point since that first visit.  Going back was heavy, but ultimately it was good for us.  Both physically (inclines!) and emotionally.

At Knobcone point - 11/24/16

Many friends, family, and acquaintances sent us messages or posts with #obiesbeeday.  Each one brought us a little bit of warmth, a little bit of comfort.  Truthfully, there were fewer messages than last year.  While not unexpected, it still hurts.  Most kids meet more new people and impact more lives with each passing year.  Oberon won't be able to do that, and it's likely that each year fewer people will be able to keep him close to the forefront.  It's understandable, but it's still painful.

Obie's Bee Day fell on Thanksgiving this year.  We didn't celebrate traditional Thanksgiving, but Chris did make a Bee Day cake.  Everett's first taste of cake was his brother's lemon bundt cake (he was not a huge fan).

Obie's Bee Day cake - 11/24/16

Chris also found an Oberon watch to buy on Obie's Bee Day, which seemed kind of perfect.

Obie's Bee Day watch - purchased 11/24/16

Obie's Bee Day triggers the "on this day" onslaught on Facebook.  The few posts from before we knew how bad things were, announcing coming home to hospice care, the NILMDTS pictures, after day being reminded of Oberon's short life.

After Obie's Bee Day, the next big milestone is Obie Xmas.  We celebrated again this year by giving gifts to our families to help take care of themselves.  Elizabeth had planned to have things for our family in Obie's stocking to open on Obie Xmas, but most of it didn't arrive until the day after.  It was disappointing.  Evie is still too young to realize, but it still feels like coming up short as parents.  We're pretty good at letting things slide and being gentle with ourselves in general, but the Obie-focused days are harder. We have so few things to hold onto, it feels like if we relax our hold it will slip away completely.  If we don't make it happen, if we let things slide, why even bother?

Even though some Obie Xmas gifts were late, we did have things to open from Obie's grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.  Evie had fun learning to open presents (his first occasion for such things), and we all got some odds and ends to keep us fed, clean, and warm.  Chris and Elizabeth talked a bit about their memories of bringing Obie home, using his nursery, and listening to the rain.

It's good to remember, and also exhausting.  It truly is like carrying a load.  Sometimes you can be distracted and it doesn't feel quite as heavy.  Other times you focus on it and aren't sure how you can continue to bear it.

The focus is on now, and we're also trying to balance planning Everett's first holiday season, travel, and our first snowy weather since 2013.  While we are excited to be going home for the holidays, we are also a bit anxious.  It's hard to predict how we'll feel or what triggers may pop up.  Will we emotionally "check out" to keep ourselves sane?  Will we be sobbing messes?  Will we need a lot of down time?  Will we feel pretty OK until guilt comes in?  Will we make Evie's first holiday experiences magical?  Will we get sick?  Will there be weather issues?  There's no way to know.

We do know:
  • There's a lot of pressure.  And there will definitely be at least one thing that doesn't go as planned.
  • We will get to spend time with people we love, and who love us and our boys.
  • Everett will see snow for the first time.
  • Travel is going to be stressful.
From there, we will be trying our best to focus on the good moments when they come and breathe through the tough moments.