A reflection by Simone and Tony Hayes, parents supported by Very Special Kids.
Our first holiday after Hamish died was over Easter, camping with our extended family. It was hard, really hard, and Hamish’s birthday also fell on that weekend; it added extra pain, but at the same time, we were glad to be away and away from our house. Camping is our ‘safe place’.
We relax the moment we pull into the park, and it was the same that first Easter. We didn’t mind being upset around everyone, because we all felt the same. Knowing that Hamish was missing didn’t stop us from going away and being with family made it okay.
We loved every individual that was away with us and they loved us. It was not uncommon to be greeted every morning with hugs and kisses and offers to take Sam to the park so Tony and I could have some time out.
We made light of our situation too, about how we no longer had to take a cot, second car seat, pram, bucket for a bath, extra bedding, clothes and food etc. We have since had a letter “H” put on the back of our trailer. It’s nice to have “H” with us. Going away that first time allowed us to recharge, to show ourselves that ‘we can do life after death’, and that our family was exactly that…family!
We often go away camping now, and as we drive I always have a few tears in the car, thinking of our Hamish and how strange it is that he isn’t in the car with us. I usually remember and think of him as a 10-month-old little boy, but I also have moments when I think about what he would be doing while we are away; getting into mischief with his big brother Sam, riding his bike and enjoying toasting marshmallows.
Each time we go away I expect the drive to be different, but it never is; there is still that feeling of being only three quarters full, with my little quarter missing from our lives.
Whenever we are away, at every evening meal and drinks around the fire, we always do a “cheers for Hamish”. Sam loves it and it’s nice to look up at the stars every night and think of our little boy.
Camping over the holidays recharges us and makes us re-appreciate life, even our new different life.