It has almost been three weeks. Most of which Dan and I have stayed put. Safe inside the house, surrounded by family and friends. We make small movements as to be careful not to set off any land mines that will have us crippled with tears. Land mines being those spots that remind us of Ryan. These land mines I'm coming to realize, are impossible to dodge. Some can be put off for a while. Like Disneyland. Some have to be experienced sooner as they are a part of our daily life. And some come out of no where.
I've come to notice that for a little while my life will be filled with;
The last time I was here...
The last time I did this...
The last time I heard this song...
I was with Ryan.
Every week my son and I would frequent Target, Trader Joe's and Starbucks. We would walk to the park or get ice cream after preschool. We would have the best conversations about nothing and everything. I still haven't driven my car, because it hurts me to not see his little face in my rear view mirror. I feel pain when I think about the next time I drive in my car, I'll be alone when his favorite songs come on the radio. I won't be able to hear his questions "Mom, we have to get grass?" (do we have to get gas?) or yell "Mom! Wook! Crash truck!" (Look! Trash truck!).
Just the other day my family and I went to Trader Joe's and I had no idea what I would feel. I had forgotten for a second how much my little one loved that place. He loved the samples and picking out his fruit leathers. He would always ask the checker for stickers. He would always say "Please and Thank you" to them. Walking around the store with out him was painful. I cried and touched all the snacks and things that Ryan loved. I thought to myself the last time I was here...I was with Ryan. As we left, I asked the checker for some stickers.
I'm taking it day by day. Hitting those land mines a few days at a time. Making small movements and eventually big ones. Yesterday Dan and I went back to the gym since our lives changed. While I was running on the treadmill 'Dark Horse' by Katy Perry came blaring through my head phones. This was unexpected because I had it on a Spanish Pandora station specifically to avoid songs that reminded me of Ryan. It took my breath away for a second and then my mind was flooded with memories. Ryan loved this song and he loved singing the chorus. His favorite part was singing the guys deep voice exclaiming "there's no going back". Except Ryan would say "there's no pushing back!".
He loved listening to music every. single. day. We would always listen to KISS FM radio on the way to pre-school or would blare popular tunes while cleaning the house. I would take breaks from cleaning and he would take breaks from playing and we would dance with each other in the living room. Holding hands jumping around laughing. I thought I would never be able to listen to music again. Like I said, I have been listening to Spanish cumbias that have no ties back to my son. Some songs still make me cry, but some make me smile. When our songs come on I need to remind myself how much Ryan loved music. I need to remember his little mouth moving along with the lyrics and his intense red curly hair bobbing to the beats. I have to think about all the times he would yell "Mom, I can't hear the songs! Can we hear the songs?". When his tunes come on, I need to take it as a sign. It's Ryan telling me he is happy...It's Ryan telling me to turn up the music.
So, this will happen a lot I guess. These land mines of ours, I have no control over. However, I do have some control. I have control over whether or not I step on the land mines. I can avoid everything that reminds me of my son. Avoid all the beautiful memories my son and I created together as we lived our daily lives...OR live them again with Ryan in my heart.
When I came out of the shock from my son's death I remember saying to everyone "Please don't forget about my son" and "I feel strong". I feel strong. I still feel strong. I believe Ryan would want me to go back to our favorite spots and feel him next to me. I believe that igniting these land mines and feeling everything there is to feel is how I will heal.
Below are photos we took for a denim photo contest at my job.
We didn't win...but I am so glad Dan took a million shots.
I miss those tiny long arms wrapped around my leg so much.