Monday, August 9, 2010

Cottage weekend

Dear Jacob,

Dad and I went to the cottage this weekend. It is a place that you would have grown up going to every summer. I probably would have taught you how to swim there and we would have built sandcastles together down at the beach. I've imagined you there so many times.

 On the drive up, I suddenly felt so, so sad and it happened less than 5 minutes after leaving the condo. We stopped at Tim Horton's and your Dad ran in. I just starting sobbing in the car. I somehow felt like I was abandoning you by going to the cottage because I was leaving your things at the condo. I started to worry that the building would catch on fire and all of your things would burn up. I know it is all unreasonable and I go to work everyday and leave them there, but I just felt bad. I pulled myself together before your Dad got back, convincing myself that I didn't need to go back and get your things to bring with us.

 I was driving because your Dad was really tired. I kept crying on and off on the way up (while he was sleeping). I imagined how we would have driven there next summer with you in the back seat, listening to kids music the whole way. I would have been sitting back there with you of course, talking to you, playing with you. Now I will never get to sit in the back seat with you.

When we got to the cottage, your Grandma was sitting on the deck with Ben on her lap. I walked over and picked Ben up and got a nice hug from him. I can't help but think of you when he hugs me, what it would have felt like to have your arms around my neck, your cheek pressed up against my cheek, hearing your laugh and seeing you smile.

 Grandma surprised me with a gift. She was in one of the small towns near the cottage and saw a mug with butterflies on it and she bought it for me. She knows that butterflies remind me of you. I thought that was nice of her, especially after the "only" grandchild incident from last week (there was another little incident - Mom had written Ben's name in the sand, but not your name - I'm trying not to be too sensitive about it so I didn't say anything).

 Laurie and I took Ben out on the paddle boat, with Ben sitting between us. He kept leaning over and putting his left arm and hand on my thigh, basically using me as an arm rest. It was just adorable and I loved every minute of it, but as always my thoughts turned to you. I stared at Ben's little hand, imagining what your hand would have looked like.
As we were paddling around, I saw your Dad working on a project on the beach. He was gathering lots of little twigs and I gradually saw what he was working on as he progressed. I wanted to cry and smile at the same time. It was just beautiful.

I kept going back and checking on it all weekend, making sure that the water hadn't damaged it in any way. I wish we could have done something to it to make sure that it stayed there always.

Dad and I went for a long canoe ride, all the way around the lake (which was pretty good for me since my back has been bothering me). I try to enjoy things and just be in the moment. Sometimes it works for a few minutes, then I see something that reminds me of you. Something I would have like to show you, do with you or teach you. We would have taken you on so many canoe trips.  When I was little, your Great Grandma and Great Grandpa took me on canoe trips. I would sit in the middle of the canoe while they both paddled. We have that canoe now and I remembered doing that when I was a kid and imagined you sitting in the middle of the canoe. I'm sorry you will never get that chance. I'm sorry there are so many things you will miss out on. I just hope that things are even better where you are than they are here and that you are so happy there.

We had a BBQ for dinner and then roasted some marshmellows afterwards. On Sunday morning, I was the first one up. I had gathered some stones from the lake on Saturday and I wrote your name with the stones on the deck railing and then in the lake. It just seems like I can only really concentrate on an activity if it somehow involves you.

Later on, I was sitting at the lake with Ben and 11 ducks came by and were cleaning themselves close to the shore. As I held Ben on my knee, talking about the ducks, answering his "why" questions about everything, it hit me again that that is something I will never do with you.

I don't know why I have to compare everything that "is" to "what could have been". I know it never will be, that I will never do these things with you. No matter how much I wish and dream and imagine, it will never happen. It kind of seems like I am just making myself miserable by thinking about everything we will miss out on with you, but I can't stop. I don't want to stop. I suppose one day I will suddenly notice that I haven't done it, that I have just enjoyed the moment.

Despite all of my wishing and daydreaming and sadness, the weekend was still nice. The cottage is such a nice, peaceful place. There aren't many triggers (except everything I have written about so far - and more I didn't mention), but I didn't see any pregnant women or any small babies and it was so nice.

I hope we will bring your brothers and/or sisters there someday Jacob. You will always be a part of those trips. Every time I am there, from now until I die, I will write your name at the cottage somehow. Next time I Go, I'm going to pick out a tree and carve your name and Ben's name in it. It will become the tree where all of the kids' names are carved. You won't be left out. I promise.

When we got home, we did some packing and I talked to another Angel Mom, Allison. Our experiences are so similar and it was so nice talking to her. I bet that you and her little Drew are good friends up there.

Love you baby,



Andrea said...

Beautiful letter! The things we will never get to do with our little boys is heartbreaking. I'm so lucky to have Natalie to watch grow up, but everyday is a reminder of what Oliver will never do. Love the photos of Jacob's name. Thinking of you.

mommy4boys said...

I am so happy you had such a good weekend. I remember having a lot of anxiety the first time we left for a weekend. I was also afraid of a fire and that I would lose everything. I almost packed their ashes, but settled on their monkeys.

Love you girl!

Mrs.Spit said...

Living in the moment is the hardest lesson in grieving, it's so hard to be here, when you really want to be there.

You did well, living with missing Jacob and handling the should have been's and for what it's worth, I'm proud of you. You are doing such a great job being Jacob's mum.

thinking of you.

Rhiannon said...

A beautiful letter to your sweet boy. I have had the same fear about Harper's things and the same "what if" thoughts. I am glad that you had an overall nice weekend though. Thinking of you!

Drew's Parents said...

Awww, Dana. Your post has my eyes swelled up with tears. I am so glad that we talked on Sunday. Your letter is incredibly beautiful and touching, and your descriptions are so vivid. I love the pictures. I wish that Jacob could have grown up going to the cottage. I know that he would have become such a good man having had you and Ted guiding him along. The cottage looks like such a peaceful place. We had also looked forward to sharing many outdoor experiences with Drew. I hope our boys are somehow experiencing everything that we would have offered them. Hugs and love to you!

Elaine said...

Glad you could get away and have some quiet fun time. I also worry about Blaine's things when I leave the house now. It's all we have of our boys other than just our memories. It's natural to feel a little anxious about it. When we went on our vacation in April I felt like I was leaving him behind. But they are always with us.

Danae said...

Beautiful Dana, absolutely beautiful. It sounds like a wonderful place, and I am just so sorry that Jacob will never get to experience it with you.

It's interesting...I too have thought about canoeing and your experience from when you were little and riding in the middle reminds me of the trips I took with my parents on our canoe trips. There are pictures where I am in the middle, and laying down, completely zonked out. It was something I always looked forward to doing with Bailey. Someday, I hope to take Bailey's brothers and sisters to experience it.

The names are beautiful, and I think it's a wonderful idea to memorialize Jacob by doing something special for him each time you are there. No matter what it is, it will always be your special way to remember him, and for him to be part of your trips.

He is always with you and will always be your little boy, and the things you do for him, to honor his name, and show him the everlasting love you have for him is an amazing thing.

Hugs and love to you!

Violet1122 said...

The cottage sounds like such a lovely place - I'm glad you were able to go and enjoy yourself, even while missing Jacob.

I think it's absolutely sweet that your husband wrote Jacob's name. Sometimes it's easy to think that husbands and fathers don't think about our babies - but they do. Even though they might not express it like we do.

It's a wonderful idea to find a way to write Jacob's name everytime you're at the cottage. He is with you, no matter where you go. But I'm sure it's very easy to feel his presence in such a peaceful place.

I think of you so often... ((Big Hugs))

Radiant Readhead said...

Hi sweetie, I see that you joined DS, and wanted to add you to my blog list too...i blog, and seem to follow these a little better than the journals on DS, so I wanted to add you. Come and visit me @ if you would like:) I am soooooo soory for your loss, but you are amongst some amazingly strong women!!