Henry's diagnosis and relapse both occurred in October.
Who doesn't love fall? The gorgeous blue skies, the turning leaves, the crisp smells in the air. This year, I've liked fall again, the first time since his diagnosis. I haven't had an immersive fall experience, ie hiking and biking and spending time on those beautiful days outside, but that's been because of a busy life and a pregnant body. I can imagine myself loving fall by next year.
This year we traveled to the mid-west to spend time with my in-laws and extended family. I hadn't been there since we traveled with Henry, within 6 weeks of his death. He really enjoyed the trip, and though the rest of us knew the end was coming, at that point we didn't know how quickly. Generally, he was feeling pretty good then. It was a blessing that his deterioration was so brief.
I was surprised by my response to being out there. I avoided the activities and places that made me remember him; they were too painful. I completely lost it one day and had to excuse myself for quite a time of private sobbing. That hasn't happened to me for a long, long time.
I realized that though he's been gone for two and a half years now, it was the first time for me that he was dead, out there. The first time I saw my in-laws' home with photos of their dead grandson on the walls. The first time I saw all the cousins out trick-or-treating, without him. The first time we saw the extended family since he died.
The firsts have always been the hardest.
Since we've been back, he has stayed in the forefront of my mind. His presence generally comes and goes; for most of summer I did not dwell on him regularly. Since our trip though, he's in my thoughts all the time.
I still can't believe he's gone.