Off limits

There are places from our former life that are now off-limits.  Places that hold really difficult memories for either Ted, or I, or both of us.  Places we just know that we cannot visit again - or, at least, for a long while.

There are the obvious places that I avoid as much as possible - like driving past Max's daycare, the hospital where he was first brought, or the one where he took his last breath.

I haven't written much about it - but I loved Maxie's daycare.  I loved the woman who took care of him.  I loved her little boy.  I loved how much Maxie loved it there.  It was a place that I thought Max would be safe and that brought me tremendous comfort.  Knowing that he took his last breath there makes me want to die - it is the reason that I feel like a terrible mother.  I think about how I made my decision to send Max to daycare over and over and over again and wonder why I didn't do something differently.  It just about kills me.  Thoughts of the daycare send me into a panic, a never-ending looping nightmare of scenes that I have imagined over and over again in my head - never really knowing what happened that day.

And - someday I will HAVE to go back to that Emergency Room where the doctors tried to save Maxie's life.  It is blocks away from our house and to think we will never have an emergency again is wishful thinking.  I keep thinking that I should start driving past it now so that when the time comes when I really need to go there, my heart won't just stop.  I've only been there once.  I can't imagine that being in that place could do anything but make me want to die.  It was unbearably horrific.

The hospital where Maxie's life ended is in Tarzana.  Ted hates going to Tarzana period.  I was in such a fog when we drove there, following Maxie's ambulance, that I actually didn't even really remember where it was and where we had been those three days.  But, when we come anywhere close, Ted's jaw tightens and he gets very quiet.  Tarzana is pretty much off limits (with VERY few exceptions!)

Laguna Beach is off-limits.  Dear friends of my mother's offered their Laguna apartment for us to stay in one weekend soon after we lost Max.  We thought it would be a nice place to go to get a break from our grief.  It is a cozy apartment, just a short walk from the beach and several nice restaurants.  The thing is - we could not get a break from the grief.  It was with us there so strongly AND I think mostly, we just felt totally lost and out of place.  We would have been better off just staying home.  There were children everywhere, we drank too much to try and drown the pain, and the reality of our lives hit us in the face with full force.  It was too early to think we could get away.  I love Laguna but for now, it is off-limits.  It's much too painful for us.

Catalina is off-limits.  It makes me sad too, because I spent many of my childhood summers there.  Ted and I planned a trip to Catalina for our second anniversary before we lost Maxie.  Ted had never been there before and I was excited to share the island with him.  I booked the hotel and my Auntie Alison arranged to come to town to spend the weekend in LA with Maxie and my mom.  After losing Maxie, we decided to go anyway.  In retrospect, it was a huge mistake.  I spent the whole weekend crying.  There were families and happy children and babies everywhere. Ted never wants to see Catalina again.  I don't really blame him.  It was awful.

There are many other, less obvious places too - restaurants we used to go to with Max, a yoga studio that I did prenatal class at and that I took him to for Mommy and Me, the Pump Station in's all too hard.  Our life with Max was beautiful.  So beautiful, in fact, that it is hard to be in the spaces that we once shared with him and it is even harder to be in the spaces that we occupied after we lost him. 

1 comment

Susan said...

Yep - I have a list too. I find the places we went the last couple of weeks she was alive too painful to contemplate.

Our the hospital.. we had to go back with M - they thought she had flipping chicken pox. When it came down to it, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be... I just got on with it - the thought of it was far worse than the reality xx