For the first time in over 10 years, I’m going on a vacation without Shannon. We were already planning on holding off on any big trip this year (We have been taking “bigger” vacations every other year since 2010…Pigeon Forge in 2010, Disney World in 2012, Maine in 2014), but my parents suggested we take the kids to OC for a little bit of time this summer so we still had a chance to get away.

Part of this ties into what happened when Shannon died too. The kids were in OC with my parents and Bill’s family, as part of a trip that had been setup awhile before Christmas. Basically a chance for the kids to enjoy Winter OC. We originally hadn’t planned to go anyway, but with Shannon in the hospital in a holding pattern, I sent the kids with my parents to OC to get their minds off her in the hospital. Just a day later though, these wonderful kids were being driven back to Westminster, with no idea that when they got here, their whole world would be shattered. The trip was cut short, and we promised them at some point later, we would get them back there so they could get to do all the things they had missed out on. So in a way, this might be some catharsis for them…

In another way though, I am a bit worried it will stir up some repressed emotions in them. Back in Spring, I asked them if they would want to go with my parents alone, just in case I couldn’t find anyone to watch the pets. Noah said something along the lines of being worried that if they went and I stayed, something bad would happen again. Heartbreaking, but I totally get it. He went to OC without me, and his Mommy died. He goes to OC without me again, and ? Probably nothing would happen, but that would be a lot of stress for him to shoulder, worrying that something would happen.  Darcy also had a very weird reaction when we dropped off Lucy at Danya and Joe’s tonight.  When we went to leave, she FLIPPED THE F OUT, saying she wanted to bring our dog home, saying she wanted to keep our dog, not let Danya have her.  I tried explaining over and over that they aren’t TAKING out dog, but just watching her.  I think later it came out that it was partially because Joe was having a bit of fun with her earlier and pretended to take her Hallie doll, so she was more worried about leaving Lucy with HIM (I assured her he wouldn’t do anything bad to Lucy, and Grandma Danya would certainly be ready to get him back with her pincer tongs if he tries anything like he did with her Hallie doll.  Mean old Pop-Pop! :-P).  It’s just more very random emotions that come out of nowhere to me and make me worry at the types of trauma/challenges she’s going to have later in childhood.

I am a bit unsure of how it will go. I’m sure we will have some fun, since all the cousins are together, and getting away from work and all will be relaxing. But it’s going to be strange to not have Shannon with me. She was never a huge fan of OC, but we had our traditions there, we had our things we liked to do. She loved the arcades there, particularly the quarter/dime crane machines (Although, I think those were removed in the last couple years). We went to Sneaky Pete’s a few times, we usually hit up Dough Roller breakfast. Thrasher’s fries were a must each time we were there…Things I can do in her memory, but things that I wish she was still here to do with us. I saw on Facebook, two years ago is when we were down there with all the family. I took this snap of her with Darcy and tagged it with a hashtag that OCMD was using at the time for some tourism thing where you might be retweeted or shared out, etc. It’s just a wonderful moment between the two of them, and something I hope Darcy can retain some memories of.



So, keep us in thoughts…as we experience a new “first” in this terrible new normal.  First vacation without her.


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