Monday, January 7, 2008

Polar Express on the Heber Creeper

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Me with Aaron Jr

Back in the summer, Aaron's parents got us all tickets to ride on the Heber Creeper (Heber Valley Railroad) a few days before Christmas. At Christmastime, they make believe it is the Polar Express.
They gave ever hot chocolate and a cookie. The kids all come in their pajamas. They read the story 'Polar Express'. They sing Christmas carols.
It was something we had been looking forward to for months. It was an exciting thing to look forward to as a family.
Once Aaron passed away less than a month before Christmas, everything to do with the Christmas season became things that I dreaded. I didn't want Christmas to come, I didn't want the Polar Express ride to come, I didn't want to celebrate. Aaron's parent's asked me over and over again if I wanted to still come with all of them. The truth is... I didn't want to go. I was going to be the only one there without their spouse. I truly didn't want to do anything that we had looked forward to doing as a family. The reason I decided to go wasn't for me... it was for Aaron Jr. Even though he would not have known the difference if we had never gone, he deserved to have fun that night. It was very difficult. I see why it is such a neat thing for people to go and do together as a family... but my time on the train was mostly spent thinking about what we were missing out on not having Aaron there with us. The tears could not be kept away. Just watching the other fathers with their kids and watching the husbands with their wives... it was just so painful. There have been and will continue to be so many things that we experience without Aaron that we had planned to experience together... so these feelings are not behind us. They are so fresh and new and these times will continue to be so very painful. He is so missed.
I am glad I went though. Aaron Jr had a great time. He was happy... and the experiences that he can be given that will bring him joy are experiences that I should not deny him. I am glad we went.
Below are some photos that I took that night. I believe it was the first time I had taken any photos since Aaron had passed away.

Aaron Jr

Grandpa & Grandma with all of the grandchildren
Outfits are from Grandpa & Grandma

Aaron Jr

Me with Aaron Jr

Christa, Steve, & Isaac (Steve is Aaron's brother)

Malia (Steve & Christa's daughter) &
Grace (Nick & Sadie's other daughter)

Nick, Sadie, Pearl, & Sophia (Sadie is Aaron's sister)

Dave & April (April is Aaron's sister)

Susen with Grandma (Susen is Dave & April's daughter)

Grandpa with Aaron Jr

Aaron Jr

Me with Aaron Jr (he isn't picking his nose... this time)

Thank you to the Harkness' for this adventure. Though Aaron was painfully missed that night, Aaron Jr had a good time. I am glad he got to have this experience.

We love and miss you, Aaron.

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Joann said...

I am so glad you took Aaron Jr. He looked absouletly adorable! Those jammies are so precious. I think it is good and most likely theraputic for Aaron's family to spend time together...especially with Aaron Jr. One thing that will help you is all the wonderful and adventurous stories you can all enjoy while you are together. I know it helps Justin and Dax a lot. I really enjoy reading your blog. Even though know it is difficult for you, it helps me feel closer to you and Aaron Jr. Love you!

Vicki said...

Leslie, I absolutely LOVE reading your blog and seeing all the pictures... I check it every day and look forward to it. It's a sad time and I know it's very hard at times, but from reading your thoughts and experiences I can tell you are strong, especially for Aaron Jr. He's such a cutie. Know that I love you, Leslie!

Your cousin, Vicki

Liz said...

OH i love all those pics. I can not imagine how hard that was for you guys to try and put everything behind for a couple of hours and have good time. I am sure that you were in a lot of pain.

Seesalou said...

i know how hard it was for you to get into the christmas season this year, leslie. how selfless of you to do some things just so aaron jr. could. i'm sure you just wanted to curl up in a ball and not even move. love you.

Laurie said...

Leslie, This is Laurie (Williamsen) Lorenzon, it's been years, but I've been able to be reading your blog. You are an amazing writer. I can only imagine it is helping to write things down. I cry every time. I just want you to know my heart goes out for you.

Melinda said...

I am so proud of you for what you are doing... for reaching deep inside for that strength to do such hard things for the sake of others. Thank you for the great example you are to me! I love Aaron Jr. in that robe! Too cute! Love you, Leslie.

Kristi said...

It looks like Aaron had a good time. At least that, right? We love you guys.

April said...

Leslie, I'm here. There hasn't been an hour that I haven't thought of you. It's been hard. I miss him so much. I pray for you... know that. Love to you and Aaron Jr.