Monday, March 30, 2015

Hiking Ensign Peak

Yesterday was bad for a lot of reasons, all of them revolving around the giant hole in our lives.  I've been having some health problems, and had to to a 24 hour urine sample for my gastroenterologist.  I had to take it back up to the hospital, which was yesterday.  On Thursday when I went to the same hospital and had some work done in the lab (and picked up the cute orange urine jug) Devin was with me.  And maybe it's because Devin was there and I couldn't fall apart, or maybe because we went in to a different part of the hospital that wasn't adjacent to the Emergency Room....I really can't say what made it different, but it was different.  On Thursday we pulled into the parking lot and I immediately saw the cement helicopter pad.  I averted my eyes as fast as I could, and changed the subject as soon as Devin said "Mom, what's the giant white X over there on the ground for?"

Yesterday evening, I was a total mess.  But I had to take my gross urine sample back to the hospital within a certain time frame, so I headed back up there.  I had no idea that because it was a Saturday, all laboratory drop offs had to be done via the Emergency Room.  I won't go into detail about what I experienced as I walked up to the big sliding glass doors and heard the noises, and saw the ambulance parked right outside.  Or how Triage looked exactly like it did at the hospital on That Day.  Or how "Saving Private Ryan" was playing on the TV in the corner, and it was the part near the beginning when Mrs. Ryan gets the telegram saying her sons had been killed.

Or how as I was waiting on the Lab Tech to come get me, a woman walked in to Triage, completely frazzled and crying with her young son who had been throwing up all day, then had a seizure on the way there.  I was sitting so close to the desk that I could hear every word she said through her tears.  I looked at her son with his ghost white face and I saw him go completely limp.  And I heard the mother tell the nurse his name was Garrett.  And then the father rushed in and lifted him into the wheelchair and he said "Don't worry, Gare.  It's gonna be okay."

And I felt the vomit rising in my throat and thought of the millions of times we called Garrett "Gare" for short.  And right then, I wanted to die all over again.

Luckily, the vomit stayed at bay long enough for me to get to to my car so I could expel it all over the parking lot.  It was a miserable and unfair experience, but I won't go into every detail.

I went into my "fear of being touched" mode.  It was so bad on the way home from the hospital, that I ran inside the house and started ripping my clothes off before I was fully inside our bedroom.  When it happens like that, I can't have anything touching my skin.  It's a mystery as to why it happens, but I have to be naked and alone.  Cody tried all evening to get me to talk to him about what was going on.  For some reason, I couldn't talk about any of it.  I couldn't get the words past my throat.  At one point Lauren came to snuggle with me on the bed and I almost came out of my skin.  I took her arm and said "Mommy can't be touched right now.  I saw something very scary at the hospital that made me sad, and I can't have anyone touch me."

I really don't know why everything lined up that night to give me that exact experience.  It seems cruel.  I finally did talk to Cody about it long after kids had gone to bed, and the two of us cried together until very late into the night.  I don't know what came of that other Garrett from the ER, but it haunted me all night long.

Cody woke up very early while the rest of the house was still sleeping.  He crept out and went to The Cemetery.

The rest of the morning found us lying in bed, crying together, reliving That Day and fantasizing about all the do-overs we wish we had.  It's something we think about a lot, as pointless as it is.  Then I decided we could lie in bed all day and feel like dying while our kids watched TV and played on the computer, or we could do something.  Church was definitely out of the question.  In our old life, we were a family that loved to hike and camp and spent very little time indoors.  My blue Kelty hiking backpack that carried Garrett all over Moab and the Wasatch Front is sitting in our storage unit, never to be used again by him.  We haven't done any hiking since Garrett died, but as I laid in bed and cried I suddenly had the urge to get out and hike.

Before I knew it, Cody was up packing a picnic lunch and I was in the shower.  The kids were pretty excited about going hiking because it's something from our old life that they've greatly missed.  We decided on Ensign Peak because oddly enough, it's a hike we've never done before even though it's so close to our house.  It will be a very long time before we can go on any trails we did with Garrett, and that's another thought that fills me with sadness and dread.

It was a glorious day outside and being at the summit, looking out at our city and the Great Salt Lake and thinking about the last time we were there together doing family pictures, made me smile through bittersweet tears.  I always wonder if Garrett is with us when we have new adventures like that.  I hope he is.  I hope with all my heart that he isn't missing a thing.












Signing the letter "G"



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