I haven't read any mourning books so this won't sound very credible but I think we've entered the "holy sh*t this is for real and Max really is gone and we can feel it deep within our bones every minute of every day" period of mourning. On the surface, I think some - maybe most of the people we see on a regular basis - believe we're getting along just fine. And we are, on the surface. We have fun, we go out, we laugh.
We talk about Max. Or we don't.
We're over the "structured" part of mourning where we try to schedule/control how and where we integrate a Max moment into our family's experience.
It just happens. Or it doesn't.
We're not forgetting him, we're likely just becoming used to him being dead and not with us. Don't mistake this for being comfortable with him not being here.
I'm supremely comfortable not fighting cancer every day. It's nice not to have the proverbial gun to your child's head every day with all the stress and anxiety that brings on. But the topical relief of not having the stress of the fight, versus the deep, deep pain of not having him around, and knowing that we'll never see him again on this earth ever again, is much worse.
Three weekends ago I took Nicky to the Miramar Air Show. I hope I'm not pinning all my expectations and lost dreams from my relationship with Max on Nic - trying to have Nic be my stand-in for Max. If you start to see any pictures in this blog of Nicky standing at the top of a skateboard ramp while Tony Hawk does a hand plant in front of him, please email me and tell me to stop. So, back to the air show.
Walking around the tarmac I came across a familiar looking bi-plane. Anyone remember this?
It's the airplane on the left from Max's celebration of life. It was the last airplane owned by Steve McQueen (a Stearman). I felt it was a good sign from Max to come across this since I usually wander around the more exotic airplanes at a show like this.
Nicky has also taken to demonstrating his disapproval in a most obvious manner. I think he didn't like that I wanted to take his picture by the landing gear of this C-5 Galaxy.
Here's another photo with the same pose so that you know I'm not making this up...
Rather than watch the planes Nicky liked to walk through the static displays and most of all, he liked the "army guy" tanks and guns. This is a howitzer of some sort that impressed Nic.
This past Saturday we went and got our pumpkins to the east of us at Bates Nut Farm, or as we have started calling it (thanks to Leo), "Nates Butt Farm" which the kids enjoy for obvious reasons. Yes, we are high-brow in our household. Being that it was a sea of orange at the farm, it was hard not to think about Max (or Macs).
We brought "Max" along with us (in the form of his trusty Bruce shark). I'm sure people think I'm weird carrying around a stuffed animal in the middle of the day, but then I've also shaved my head and people are giving me a wide berth these days anyway so...
I've been thinking a lot lately about our trip to Disneyland last August when Max was really sick and not really in the proper condition for an all-out attack on the Magic Kingdom. The picture below was from our second night I believe when Melis took Hannah and Nicky to see the Fantasmic show that our friends Lisa and Lance got us in to see (from the producer's stand no-less where you are right up in the action)... Max had no desire to go and so he and I were going to hang out in the hotel room, but I persuaded him to visit the Lego store in Downtown Disney for a little side trip. He ended up walking the whole way to the store and back. Coming back he was shuffling away with so much energy, so happy to have procured yet another Star Wars Lego set.
Max kept on saying, in his magical sing-songy voice, "this is the happiest day of my life," and I was almost crying as I knew there weren't likely many more moments like this to have with him.