We’re back home. We had a relaxing weekend in Vegas—ate an amazing meal for our anniversary, saw an incredible show, had fun losing not too much money at the craps table, and just enjoyed being together.
But it was a hard weekend for me, too. For one thing, I had a renewed sense of disbelief that this happened to us, that Hudson really died. Maybe it was because we were in a city full of make-believe. Maybe it was because it was our first “vacation” together since she died, and it was too easy to imagine that we could just be away together for the weekend, with Hudson tucked safe at home with her grandparents. Just when I think I might be turning the corner on the denial, it rears its head again. I can’t explain in words how cruel that sensation is—it gives such a sense of false hope. In one instant, I think she must be here somewhere, just waiting to make her appearance again, and in the next, I remember how impossible that is and am crushed again.
Also, I don’t know if it’s because we were far from home, but for the first time, I felt very far away from Hudson. For the first time, I began to have a hard time remembering what our lives were like when she was with us. For the first time, I began to feel not like I must have been dreaming these last four months, but that our life with her was itself a dream.
But as far away as I felt from her, I felt as close as ever to the grief. There were certainly moments, for which I was grateful, where I was able to temporarily forget who I was and what has happened to me, particularly at the craps table, where you have to focus on a lot of things at once and it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of waiting to see what will happen next. But several times a day, my thoughts drifted without warning to the sad places, tears instantly in my eyes. Sunday morning at brunch, a little girl a few months younger than Hudson was sitting at the table next to us. Her dad picked her up and took her to the buffet, and as they walked she caught my eye. I smiled. She smiled back. I smiled some more. And before I knew it, I was crying. Just like that. Right in front of the line of people waiting to get into the restaurant. Another time, we were walking back to the room from the pool, and Marvin Gaye’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough came on the pool speakers. Hudson’s and my favorite song to dance around to in the kitchen. Right as we reached the door, Tammi sang, “My love is alive, way down in my heart, although we are miles apart.” Cue waterworks. But most times, there was no trigger at all. Ed would just look over and my eyes would be glistening, ready to pour forth without warning. I told him at one point that I remembered a mom in one of my online communities saying that she was so bored with the grief. For the first time, I could really relate to that. Sometimes I just want to scream, “Oh, enough of this already!”
Anyway, the trip was just about what I expected. No break from the grief. No such thing. But I did enjoy myself a little and loved spending time with Ed. We did laugh a fair amount, particularly at what I am calling the “Kardashian effect”—even though we don’t even know who those people are, we were pretty sure that every girl (and there were many) wearing a butt-hugging minidress and stick straight black hair was probably imitating them. It was nice to think (and laugh) about something utterly meaningless for once. I guess I can’t ask for much more than that. But I wish I could.