We’re heading to San Diego for a wedding this weekend. Initially, this trip held an absolute ton of anxiety for me, because it was going to be the first time back in San Diego since Eli’s injury in March. And then we took a day trip out of the blue a month ago and a lot of that apprehension was taken down a few notches. I thought I was feeling pretty good about this weekend, but the more I let my mind travel that direction and the closer the trip gets, the more I realize that I’m still nervous.
We will be heading to the zoo on Saturday and the last time we were there (we have a year pass) was the day before Eli’s injury. And while I realize that it’s crazy that I remember that, there is literally not a detail from March 20-25 that I don’t remember. Nothing. I can tell you everything I ate, when and where I slept, what I wore, what Eli wore (and trust me, through all the puking, he wore a lot) and more. My brain clings to these details like they are it’s very life force, no matter how badly I want to forget them, they’re all stored away, just waiting to be triggered by something completely innocuous to everyone else.
And that’s what’s so tough. My husband will be making this same trip, my in-laws (who were in San Diego with us just before Eli’s injury as well) will be there, and they will all be fine. I will be a basket-case. I am not so lacking in self-awareness that I don’t know what is normal and abnormal here or that I can’t see that my child is fine. He is fine. I know this, I see it every day and I could not be more thankful for it. And I should be fine, I should be excited to go to San Diego and hang out with my family, to go to the zoo with Eli who will be in love with all the “dogs” there. There is much to be grateful for and excited about. But instead, I’m a mess. I’m scared and sad and worried. I know that this is not normal, that this is now how I should react, but here I am.
I want to go to San Diego this weekend and just enjoy the time with Eli, with my husband and my mom and my in-laws, but I feel like the whole weekend is rife with land mines. That city is the last place I felt normal. It’s where I last slept undisturbed. It’s where I last felt like me. The real me. When I look at pictures from St. Patrick’s Day, just a few days before Eli’s injury, I can see a difference. I see a carefree parent, I see the person I used to be, the way I wish I was. And when I look at pictures now I see how much I’ve aged in subtle ways. I see the fatigue. I see the fear, the scars.
Monday will mark 6 months since Eli’s fall. 6 months since he fell and I broke. I’m afraid to be back in that place because it’s where everything changed for me. And while a part of me is afraid something new will happen, mostly, I’m afraid to feel a fraction of what I felt when I was there 6 months ago.