This past weekend was amazing. Doug and I went to Gatlinburg to celebrate my 30th birthday and he had several activities all planned out. Our first day started with a ropes course and rock climbing. I have never rock climbed before and Doug had never done a ropes course before so it was interesting to say the least. I only made it half way up the rock wall before my knees began to shake and I asked how I was supposed to get down. The guide nonchalantly told me all I had to do was lean backwards and walk down. WHAT?! At that point, I couldn’t go any higher. I could have gotten up there just fine but the coming down part…now that freaked me out. Doug was great though, he made it to the top and tried to encourage me to keep going but I just couldn’t do it. Then we made our way to the ropes course which was about 50 feet off the ground. For those of you who have never done this, I highly recommend it! It’s so challenging and very rewarding once you complete it. We both were pretty nervous at the beginning but we pushed each other through and by the end…we were pros. Doug had planned for us to go ice-skating and ride the sky lift. Both were a blast. The next day we went on a 6 mile horseback ride up the mountain in Gatlinburg and that was so fun! We laughed all weekend…really really laughed. Like tears falling down our face from happiness…not sadness for once. And for the first time, we didn’t feel guilty for this.
Doug and I really enjoyed doing some new things together. We really felt like it gave us a chance to reconnect. The past 3 and ½ months have been hard but we are pushing through. Any kind of loss challenges a marriage but losing a child is the ultimate test. Right after little Dougie died, Doug and I made a pact with each other that we would not let this tear us apart. It hasn’t been easy, there have been challenges but overall, we are surviving. And I would say not just surviving but thriving. We are connected, even closer than we were before and more importantly in tune with where we each are in this journey. It takes a lot of communicating and a lot of listening. We are handling things different and for us, that is ok.
I was supposed to be celebrating my 30th birthday with a baby in my arms, instead I carry him in my heart and tried to celebrate just like I know he would have wanted. Here’s to hoping my 30th year will be filled with love…however that may play out.