Correlation is not causation. This is one of the facts that was drilled into my head in graduate school OVER and OVER and OVER. I know this. But correlations ARE powerful. Like, when I was young I had the stomach flu and ate a big bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and it all came back up minutes later. To this day I still don’t like chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, even though I know throwing it up was simply a correlation.
Well, the association I make with travel and Charlie’s death is just like that…but a million times stronger. I know it is a simple correlation that he died while we were on vacation. I haven’t met another SIDS mom whose child died on vacation. I know traveling isn’t what killed him…at least I’m pretty sure. But because correlations are powerful, I have been terrified to travel with Cami. Like stomach in knots, wanting to simultaneously throw up and cry, just anticipating it.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said all that before but it sets the context for this story.
Because this Easter we faced the FEAR and traveled with Cami! This was our first trip in over a year and it was soo overdue!
What compelled us to take that leap?
Easter compelled us.
I kind of hate Easter, if I’m being honest. In theory I love Easter and all that is represents. I love the promise of being a family forever and am so grateful for the Atonement of my Savior that makes all that possible. I especially love the message that the grave has no victory!
BUT these last two Easters I have not felt any of that hope or peace. Instead I’ve felt this familiar swirling black vapor inflict my soul and found myself in a foul mood. Because more powerfully than the hope Easter brings, I instead associate it with our last memories of Charlie. One day I hope I won’t feel so dark around this holiday. I hope one day I’ll reflect on those memories with a smile on my face and be able to connect with the meaning of the holiday. But I’m not there yet.
So I was dreading Easter. Like, wanting to go to sleep, wake me up when it’s over, type of dread. But I didn’t want to just endure the holiday. I wanted to proactively do something.
After talking to my mom on the phone, I found my heart lift at the idea of a trip to Grammy’s house! I knew if I dwelled on it too much or planned it too far in advance, I’d chicken out. So on impulse we arranged the trip (Thanks Grammy for the tickets!) The next day we flew to Arizona for what turned out to be the perfect Easter weekend for us!I swear there is something so healing in the Arizona air! The temperature was perfect: in the 80s. The pool was even more perfect and where we spent most of our time.
Our first night in Phoenix was hard. Cami didn’t sleep well being somewhere new and Chad and I didn’t sleep well being so anxious. To manage our anxiety, we went running both days we were in phoenix. Seriously, nothing helps negative emotions like a good sweat! When we got back from our runs, we jumped in the pool, clothes and all. It felt wonderful!
And of course there were the Easter celebrations, which included an Easter egg hunt in the park with kids from my mom’s church, as well as an Easter egg hunt in Grammy’s house. I honestly think Easter might be Hailee’s favorite holiday. She loves searching for eggs and stuffing her face with chocolate!
We didn’t go to church this Easter. I felt conflicted and somewhat guilty about that. But last Easter I just sobbed and couldn’t stop and had to go home. So, I don’t regret prioritizing self-care this year. And because I did, Easter was actually a positive experience!
And my mom was amazing. I feel really grateful for her. She was both a physical and emotional support this trip. She was non-judgemental, super involved, helpful, and warm to be around. We all enjoyed being around Grammy this trip!
This trip was just what we needed in every way. We passed the huge barrier of our fear of travel and also passed another painful milestone relatively painlessly. Thank you Grammy and Arizona!