On my usual Saturday visit to Josh's gravesite, I happened to notice the dates on nearby markers and realized that many others have died since March 18, 2009. How had I not seen that before?
Curiously, upon seeing other 2009 dates, my first thought was that was before/after Josh and secondly, 2009 seems like so long ago. And when I saw a 2012 date, I thought, Wow, that was just recently.
This is another indication of time's relentless movement forward. It hit me that I should expect the empty spaces around Josh to fill up over time. That he is not the only one who died or will die and I am not the only mother or family member who grieves.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, on these weekly visits, I write a letter to Josh in a blank book specifically for this purpose. In Alexandra Johnson's book, Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal, she talks about keeping a travel journal "as if writing a long letter to a close friend. By writing for someone else's eyes, you have to supply context - place names, sights, interesting local information."
This made me think about my letters to Josh. For the past three years, they have housed regurgitations of the same question (why, Josh, why?) and my feelings (sad, bad or mad), interspersed with the telling of family events/trips. But as I explained to him in this week's letter, I am ready to go a different direction.
I feel a need to tell him of what is going on in our lives and in the world around. For example, I told him about smartphones, apps and my iPad as these are new products and services that he would be interested in. What other innovations, changes, ideas and experiences will I be writing in future letters?
So now I have a new job on my weekly visits. I am the traveler who will document life for my son who can no longer see, hear, feel, touch or smell.