In June, a couple of weeks after burying our sweet baby boy, my husband was told by his dad that he needed to attend a business meeting in California coming up in July. James worked for his dad in the sales of appliances, lighting fixtures, TV's, and commercial/ home wiring. It was a long time family business. One of the lighting fixture companies they dealt with was having this business trip. These trips were designed for wives to go also. The family and James thought this was a great opportunity for the two of us to go and enjoy ourselves. I would have thought so too, however this was a trip flying to the west coast to Disneyland! Disneyland was a place for taking your children and mine had died. Not such a good idea in my mind! In the 1970's Disneyland did not have the adult aspects that it later developed. That began with the opening of Disney World in Orlando, Fla. I can tell you up front that I wasn't excited about this trip. Actually nothing excited me. Having fun wasn't in my vocabulary yet. The family insisted that James just had to take this trip and he shouldn't go alone. I agreed to go.
July arrived and we were off to California. I have to admit that it was good to get away. The flight was my first. James and I were really alone to enjoy each other. We were also trying to get pregnant again. Just maybe this trip would work out after all. First, we went on a tour bus going to Beverly Hills to see the famous movie stars' homes on the exact bus that Lucy & Ethel took on the "I Love Lucy" show. I began to get excited at this point. I did enjoy myself during the tour. Later, I went on another tour with the other wives who had come on the same business trip. This one was to Universal Studios. The movie, JAWS, had just been released. We got to see the mechanical Jaws they used in filming the movie. That was pretty cool. So far, this trip was really going well. California was a beautiful place. All was going well until we arrived at Disneyland.
Why I agrred to the Disneyland part of the trip beats me. I immediately became uncomfortable. What in the world was I doing here? This is where children's dreams come true! My child would never get to see this or experience this place! How could I as his mother come enjoy this when he couldn't? We should have left and done something else. But we didn't. As we made our way through the park, I got sadder and sadder. All of the usual Disney characters were walking around greeting families. These families included small children having the time of their yong lives! It was just the two of us. Again, what were we doing here? Yes, it was a beautiful and exciting place! But that was what made me sad! Our child wasn't with us! We weren't sharing this place with him! Get out of my way! I need to leave now! When we went through, It's A Small world After All, which is a water ride through a beautiful tunnel while small children sing, I began to tear up. I couldn't tell how James felt, but I knew it wasn't like the feelings I was having. I cried in the tunnel. I felt like we shouldn't be at a freaking famous theme park for children. I think James felt like we should just be enjoying ourselves. Some friction began. He enjoyed our climb up "Swiss Family Robinson's Tree House" as far as I could tell. During the entire climb, I just kept thinking how much our son would have enjoyed this magnificent tree house. But he would never get to climb one, and I was feeling very guilty about doing it. James just didn't get the guilt trip I was on. I thought we should leave the theme park. I honestly don't remember if James was ready to leave or ticked off at me for wanting to leave. I do remember being a real drag while James just kept trying to cheer me up. He became tired of having to cheer me up. He didn't understand that I couldn't be cheered up! I didn't want to feel this way, I couldn't help it! We did buy a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear and a Mickey Mouse hat. I don't know if we bought these children items just because it was what we would have done if he were alive or just to make me feel better. It doesn't make sense why we did it, we just did. We took pictures of these gifts. Don't know why we did that either. I just kept having waves of deep sadness sweep over me. My face showed grief. You can't hide grief even when you want to. Your facial muscles just won't let you. It is in your eyes and body language, too. You just naturally slump your shoulders and hover. You have lost your bouncy self. At least, that is how it was with me for almost two years. I just couldn't shake it and James got tired of it. When we got home from our trip our lives began to change even more. I didn't think things could get worse, but they did.