Tonight was the big kids camp meeting for summer COVID19 protocols and guidelines. The meeting itself lasted an hour, but the immense feeling of anxiety and fear are still going for over four. Maybe it is because today is the 2nd day into a new month, and history states new months are my downfall. Maybe it is because today is officially bereaved mother's day. Maybe it is because tomorrow marks 15 months, the 65th Monday since she was last here. Maybe it is what would have happened during the same meeting if Sonzee hadn't died and it was going to be year one for her two oldest siblings to be going away from me for a month and her one older one for 8 days. Regardless, here I am.
The meeting explained all the testing and conservative procedures that will be occurring. I honestly don't mind them, they seem fair and appropriate, and will hopefully result in a minimal to no corona exposure experience for all of the thousands of kids that will be attending. What actually began the tailspin in my mind were the words "no visiting day". I anticipated this would be the case. I assumed they would want to limit the exposure of the virus into the camp, but hearing the words made my eyes begin to fill with tears. But why?! I sat listening to the guidelines continue to be spoken and continued to take notes while simultaneously texting a friend to explain everything I was being told.
Almost an hour from the moment I wrote the first text my brain shed some insight into my panic. It isn't the corona protocol, it isn't even really the no visiting day. It is the fact that my children are going away and I can't talk to them and they can't talk to me, and my brain told me not to worry because 12 days in I would be rewarded with a hug. Instead, now it will be an entire month...and I have to remind my brain that this time it isn't because they are joining their sister (heaven forbid). As of tomorrow, 65 Monday's ago I kissed and said goodbye to Sonzee and that was the last time I saw her, the last time I could hold her and talk to her. While the rational part of my brain knows it will be seeing pictures of her siblings daily and it knows they will be having a fantastic summer experience, the grief-stricken bereaved mother of theirs is trying to separate out the reasons for their absence and emphasize it isn't permanent, and they will be coming home. It isn't something that is even easy to make sense to someone who hasn't buried a child. I can't 100% say it makes any sense, but in grief, rational doesn't exactly have a track record of a first-place win.
When the idea of sleep away camp first entered my mind I had five living children. The tears that filled my eyes were a mixture of excitement and remembrance of my childhood summers away from home. Then Sonzee died, corona happened, and this journey began on quite the detour with splashes of a previous life mixed in with life after. Every day I try my best to pretend that the loss of a child isn't living through trauma. I try to remind myself that nothing is up to me, it is all out of my control, and like the quote sitting on my desk staring me in the face, I feel like the only thing I can do is "when it's dark look for the stars" because otherwise, the black sky is just all too much.