We got the car packed and ready to go right after church. I decided to bring one of our Brobie's along. It made me feel like a little piece of Tates was coming with us. (sounds crazy, but it just made me feel better?)
We didn't arrive at Lone Rock until after dark, so we parked off of the beach for the night until morning when we could see better to drive the vehicles down to the water. When I woke up in the morning this is what I saw.
We did lots of playing in the sand and in the water and boating and sight seeing and hiking and talking and sunburning. Hilary would have played in the sand all day. I think that we may need to bulldoze our backyard and just put sand back there. She would self entertain for hours! And the girl is an amazing hiker. There is a place called sand hill that we hiked up. It is only about a quarter of a mile long, if that. But it is straight up and it is several feet of soft soft sand. My calves were totally on fire. She just held my hand and insisted on walking the entire way. She is a real trooper. Our family mantra is "Walker's do hard things". She definitely proved it that day. Maybe that is a genetic thing that we passed on that is a "good" gene:)
The last two nights that we were at the Lake I slept in the van with Hilary. She did so great. She was so exhausted every night that she went right to sleep. The first night, I tossed and turned a little like I always do at home. A few times when I woke up I could hear Hilary moaning and mumbling a little in her sleep. One time I heard her say Tatum. I just wonder if she is having dreams about her. What must her little mind be thinking? I am sure she misses seeing her and helping with her and feeling her and just doesn't know how to express that. It breaks my mom heart. Nothing I can do about it, I don't even know how to help my own broken heart.
When we were driving down to meet our friends, the kids were all resting and I had some time to think. I was pondering some of the different feelings that I have had losing Tatum in comparison to Trevin. One of the things that I think has been a little more of struggle for me is that I know that Tatum was our last child. With Trevin I had a great hope in me that we would have more kids and that our family portrait would be different and even though he would be absent, there were still additions to come. With Tatum I had this vision of what our family was going to look like. The four older kids (with Trevin leading, but absent) and the two little girls at the end, growing up together. So when Tatum died, our portrait changed and that is it. There is no more hope that it could improve. This is it. I am so thrilled with the children I have. I know how extremely blessed I am to have them, truly a miracle. That knowledge just doesn't change the sadness I feel that our family is forever different, that people won't know Tatum anymore, that we won't have her to be Hilary's side kick, that there are no more babies coming. There is a lot of sadness in that for me. I loved and enjoyed having her so much that I just feel lost right now.
I am so grateful for our good friends. For talking me in to going down and spending time with them, even though they knew that I was going to be no fun at all. I don't like feeling melancholy, but it is just how I am right now. It is temporary. Every once in awhile I feel a little of my "old" self, but right now it feels weird to be that person. I know this is all part of the refinement and change that comes from the challenges that we meet in life. I know all of this, but it doesn't make it any easier or less hurtful or hard.
Tonight we went back to the state Developmental Center (state facility that houses disabled adults) to fulfill the second assignment for the youth to volunteer. Usually on the Wednesday assignment they take the residents to the gym and they play music and have a dance. Tonight they did a movie for them. I just couldn't help thinking about the irony of how the world views these individuals. The world thinks that they are imperfect spirits trapped in these horrible bodies and that we are helping them, when in reality they are the perfect spirits in imperfect bodies we are the imperfect spirits in "perfect" bodies. Your perspective changes just being around them. I am grateful that my kids get to have these opportunities to serve those that are physically in need of their assistance. What a great reminder of a lot of things, not in the least just to be grateful to be able to do things because we can.
I was sad to leave Lake Powell today, because I knew that it would be hard to drive in to our town and see reminders of what our life is now without Tatum. I was sad to leave the lack of responsibility I had down there. I was sad to walk in and see that the last of Tatum's flowers had officially died. I was sad to walk by the couch and see that Tater bug was not in her spot. One day I will stop looking for her there, and that will be devastating too.
I am eternally grateful for the glimpses of a future that Lance and the kids give me every day. I know that is what Tatum and Trevin and my Heavenly Father want me to focus on. And I will, and I do. It is the reason I can still get out of bed. I am grateful.
One of the sunshines in our life. Trying to overcome the Walker children's curse of fare skin with her hat and long sleeve shirt:) So adorable.