Today we participated in a press conference to announce the introduction of the HOT CARS Act of 2016, which requires new passenger vehicles to be equipped with technology to provide an alert that a child remains in a rear seated position. It wasn't at all as I'd expected it to be. In the aftermath of Ben's death, back in the summer and fall of 2014, I held it together. I remember the word stoic was used. That was not the case today. All the families who spoke....it was heart wrenching. Tears and broken sentences. I can't believe I cried in front of national news media. But....that's life. Back then....it was adrenaline. Be strong, or you will break. One chink in the armor and its all over. I had to be strong or we would fall apart. Now...it is back to real life. Today made me accept the truth...
...I am forever - FOREVER - changed. And that is okay. I have to accept that one fact, in order to move on. I don't write anymore because I don't know how to verbalize all of this. I feel like an outsider. Us parents -- we move on in the sense that we become once again part of the outside world -- but we are never the same. We are not part of your world anymore. Back in 2014, I thought time would heal. That I would wake up one day and be "okay." It doesn't happen.
Life is back to normal as much as it can be. Both Kyle and I have jobs we love. The kids are happy in school and sports. "Normal life"...but it isn't. My mind doesn't work the same as it used to anymore. The trauma...it did something to me. I have this constant sense of something...it seems like anxiety but it isn't. It is more like a "waiting for something" or a sense of something missing. And maybe that is it - I am missing something and always will be. I am looking for that missing piece. I wake up each morning with that sense. It won't go away and it torments me.
I don't have real friends anymore. We left all of our lifelong friends back in Connecticut when we ran from everything. And, I've accepted that. It is just us. And there is a comfort in that. Longing for those moments at the end of the day and on the weekends when we all just hang out. Snuggle on the couch. Laugh. Hold hands. Having only family teaches me something --- that all we humans need is something very simple: the love of family. It brings me a simplicity of sorts.
I yearn for the past. To be back in Connecticut. I can feel the fall breeze, see the changing leaves, see our family walking through the pumpkin patches in fall and Christmas tree farms in winter. I want it all back to badly. But, that is not the living. It is the past. We have to move forward with what life offers us. And, that is the challenge.
Everything that has happened. It was utterly horrible. And, no, to answer that question -- we don't move on. It has changed us and we continue to struggle through. And that.....well, I guess that is the living.