The road trip

At some point the night before Sylvia was born, between sobs, Carlos looked at me and said that we were going to take a trip together, that we needed to get away, just us and the dog. I don’t know how he could have known that this was something we needed to do at that point, but he did. We’ve taken a lot of little trips since Sylvia’s death, but this trip is different. This is the trip. People who we have talked to who had a infant or child loss have told us they did the same thing, take a long, extended vacation you never had planned. It’s a curious common denominator for parents in this situation. I have been thinking about the meaning behind this trip, trying to figure out what it represents and also trying to get excited about it. Is it a release of energy? An escape? Are we running? Are we searching? Are we trying to find something bigger, something new? Does it represent anything other than the-trip-we-took-when-our-daughter-died? We don’t even know how to feel about the trip…because this isn’t what we were supposed to be doing. We will only be on this trip because Sylvia died. If she was here, it would not happen. Do I resent the trip for this? I am scared, I know that. I know that it will be painful. Every place we go, every new thing we see, we will be thinking about how we wished she were in our arms and we were showing her the world. We are taking a trip because she died, rather than having her here and taking her on the same vacation…that wouldn’t necessarily happen, because she would be alive. I don’t know if it can be anything other than the-trip-we-took-when-Sylvia-died. We leave next week. 

We know where we are going and where we will be for about half of it, the other half is still a mystery to us. We wanted to just get in the car and drive originally, stopping and going only when it felt right. We ended up having to plan a little more than that, and thats ok, because we still have zero agenda due to the fact that we aren’t really that excited about it. Other trips in my lifetime I would have a million things written out, saved pictures, tips, and locations, restaurants and shops to check out, activities and hikes…I love to way over research. This trip we have nothing. We have no plans, no restaurant ideas, no things we have to see, no itinerary. I vaguely know about the various locations we are going to from conversations and articles I’ve had over the course of my life, obviously completely unaware that these spots would be relate to the-trip-we-took-when-Sylvia-died. So for two, maybe three, weeks my husband and our huge white shepard labrador puppy and I will be driving all over the western side of the country. Dreading isn’t the right word, and neither is excited. It’s not that we don’t want to go, but it isn’t like we really want to go either. Our feelings are completely neutral, numb really. ‘Yeah, we are going on this trip. Sure, okay.’ I know we will find bits of happiness and joy along the way. I know we will look back on this trip maybe not as fun in the sense that say, a trip to Disney Land would be, but as something we did together during the hardest time in our life and we unexpectedly had an okay time.

Carlos is building Sylvia’s urn. An emotional, painful and scary task that he has taken upon himself. I am so amazed and proud of him. We picked out the wood, sketched out the design of the urn, created an image for it and are still finding a font that is worthy of spelling her name. Carlos made a prototype of the urn so that we can see it and tweak and make adjustments now. It needs to be perfect. Can you imagine? Can you even imagine doing this? Can you imagine trying to find a font that some how embodies grace and love and hope and elegance and femininity so that it can spell your daughters name on her urn? How can a font even be worthy of something so painful and beautiful? How can I look at the prototype of my daughter’s urn and say, ‘Yup. Looks great,’ when everything in my body wants to run, because this can’t be real. You can not even imagine, I wouldn’t want you to. Three days after she died we were at the funeral home signing paperwork for her body to be cremated. It is the only paperwork I have had the privilege to sign mother on the line asking for relation to Sylvia. You can not even imagine…I wouldn’t want you to. It takes a lot of time to create the little box that will hold Sylvia and keep her safe and Carlos is going to take all the time he needs to emotionally and physically complete it. Because, it will to be perfect.

For now, Sylvia is in an urn that is her temporary home. It is so heartbreakingly tiny. I rub my fingers over the smooth oak box with etched roses equating it to stroking her long dark curly hair, rubbing her perfect little cheeks, wrapping her long skinny fingers around mine and tickling her round belly. I talk to her, kiss her and hold her often and tell her I love her constantly. She will be coming with us on our trip.

Teresa MendozaComment