01 October 2009

The Mind of Madness...

Last week the family and I went on vacation down to visit family in North Carolina. This is about the fourth time my family has made the trip, but it was my first time finally being able to go with them. For one reason or another, I have never been able to go with them. Last year's trip was the first time that my family stayed in our timeshare during the trip, and they had a blast. I experienced the trip through the many photos and videos. The trip last year was the week of May 10-17, so this years trip was a bit later in the year. Maybe the date stands out to you, but probably not. Dates have become very much an "issue" for me lately, and seeing the photos from last year, dated that week in May, well, maybe it is just my twisted mind..

Since I had seen the many photos of the kids fishing last year, once we arrived and went fishing it all came to life to me. Unfortunately, one of the key photo subjects was not with us this time, and it was all that was on my mind as I relived the photo memories in person now. (Comparison photos from this years trip can/should be viewable to the public for a while by clicking HERE on my Facebook page.

Later in the week, we made the trip to the aquarium, which had also been visited by the family the year before. I again had experienced this previous visit through the photos and video clips. One of the first displays that hit me hard was the alligator. The kids again climbed on it, but all I could see when I looked, was Jonathan sitting there with his arm in the alligators mouth. Probably this, being added upon the already heightened emotional status of the prior events, made me noticeably somber for the aquarium trip (my wife assumed I was being grumpy because I am no real fan of such "nature" trips...lol).

Now, do not get me wrong. I did not mope around and cry the whole trip. We had a great time, and it was the first time that I can recall in many years (if ever) that we went on a vacation for any length of time where we really had nothing to do but relax. Unlike the 2007 trip to Disney where it was run, run, run, this trip was do what we want when we want, for the most part. We slept in almost every day (well, they slept in, I used the early morning time of peace and quiet to do some much desired reading...completing three previous started books). We fished, we swam, we shopped, we visited the in-laws, but nothing was on any specific time table. It was nice to get to spend such exclusive time with the kids, and I think we all had a good time.

We returned right before the weekend, so we had the weekend to recover before starting the new work week. Our church had a picnic Sunday after church. I ended up getting sick Saturday evening, so I was unable to attend church or the picnic that followed. I used this almost entire day alone, to rest and read. I did however, decide that this quiet time might be a good time to disassemble the photo board we made for the memorial service for my son Jonathan (pictured in a previous post). It had been folded up behind the couch ever since the memorial service ended, and we wanted to remove the photos to put them all into a dedicated photo album with other keep sakes and memorable pieces. I knew it was going to be a hard task, and I knew my wife would have a hard time with it, as she had often asked me to help her get it done.

So, I did it, but it wasn't pretty. I guess doing this, on the back of the already mentioned grievous vacation times just made matter worse. With each photo I removed, memory after memory of "better" times flooded my mind...and of course the tears flowed and flowed. (Yeah, I said it, I cried, but I AM a man...lol). One of the toughest ones was one with my mother holding Jonathan. My mother passed away in 2002, so seeing a photo of both of them, now being gone, just hit me pretty hard.

I made it through, and immediately jumped back into reading to get my mind off of it all. If not, being home alone, I would be really depressed and mope around even worse. My stinking melancholy temperament always attacks me when I get alone, and the littlest thing sets it off usually...not that it needed anything else this time.

The thing with dates, and this is where my madness is the strangest I guess, is that whenever I see a date prior to May 17th, it immediately screams at me of a time when I still had my son with me. At my office at work, I have iTunes installed on my computer, with a couple hundred songs that I play randomly through the day as I work. For those of you not familiar with iTunes, it has a column out beside each song, with stats, which includes one for the last time the song was played. Many times a day I look at the player to identify the artist or song/album titles that is playing, and I see that date. Any date prior to May 17th chokes me up for a moment and I immediately think "I last heard this song when Jonathan was still alive."

Likewise, when I see or hear dates anywhere else, a similar thing happens. I do not know if this is in anyway common, or something anyone else might experience. I can only compare to those around me, and this type of thing does not happen with my wife. Shoot, she barely remembers what day it is, has to think hard to remember her own age, and has no clue of when our anniversary is, or how many years we have been married. So, the date game is not an issue with her, to say the least (sorry honey for picking on you...I love you...lol).

Tuesday my family went back to the home school co-op school for classes, and Jonathan's art teacher met my wife in the hall, and turned over to us yet another batch of Jonathan's artwork from the previous school year. Add another memory moment to the already heightened memory meter for the week. oh, and the other odd thing, is that this same art teacher lost her husband...May 17th, 2008...one year to the date, prior to Jonathan's death, so that has always been a bit mind boggling. The date game drive me further into madness, but I guess it always will.

Well, I won't go on, I know some of you are probably tired of my constant grieving on here, and I understand. I just wanted to share and get this weeks story off my chest. I do hope to return to writing here more frequently, both on personal life matters, as well as further theological topics.

I have once again begun reading some of the more challenging topics, and have acquired a couple more titles dealing with topics previous discussed on prior blog postings. I am hoping to be more frequent in my blogging here, and I thank each and everyone of you who take the time to read the words of a simple madman like me.

Many of you read through links on Facebook, and leave comments on Facebook itself about my posts. I appreciate every comment, but would appreciate it even more if you would leave your comments right here, below, on the blog itself. That will preserve them linked to the article permanently, unlike how they disappear on Facebook.

Thank you