One of the things we discovered after Luke passed away was that he was trying to orchestrate a trip across country to California with a few of his buddies. Luke had travelled to Cali for his first big gaming tournament the previous year and fell in love with the weather, the vibe, and the pretty girls, lol. He also loved that he received VIP treatment on his return plane ride and he was convinced it was because he looked like a model. OI! What an ego. 🙂
A California road trip. It was easy to picture the young hooligans crammed into a vehicle, and not showering, and sleeping in the car all in the pursuit of happiness. The stories that would come out of that adventure! And it was in this spirit that I thought it would be a tremendous gift to Luke, and his boys, if we could somehow bring this dream to life.
I don’t know how I convinced John this was a good idea. He likes his alone time when we vacation and spending a week with all these teenagers wouldn’t normally be his first suggestion on how to spend his summer holiday, lol. But honestly, I think after you lose a child, especially in those early months, you will do anything to keep their spirit and their memory alive. So, I found a house outside San Francisco and rented it for ten days in July of 2016. I wish I had a picture of the lads’ faces when we told them that Christmas. I believe Eric called me a Queen and what else did I need after that? We weren’t going to drive there, of course, but we told the boys to get to San Francisco however they could and the rest was on us.
All in all, going to California was an incredible experience. Logan and I hadn’t been many places on holiday so we welcomed the adventure. And Northern California is gorgeous! Very different from New England and I enjoyed every minute of playing tourist – Napa Valley, the Red Wood National Park, San Francisco Bay. It was all beautiful and interesting and memorable. It was also a lot of fun to treat the lads to this experience and see it through their eighteen year old eyes. It was like having not one Luke, but three with us on our journey. I loved that they were constantly giggling, running out to get cigarettes, chasing Pokemon on their phones. We stayed up most nights under the stars at the house, chatting about life and love and all things philosophical. I don’t know how everyone else felt, but for me every minute felt like tiny band-aids being placed across my heart. Healing.
At the end of our time together, the boys made their way down to L.A. and Logan, John, and I made our way back to Massachusetts. The trip was bittersweet, as is everything we do after our child passes away. I took comfort in the fact that it felt like we were honoring a dream of Luke’s. It wasn’t a rowdy, cross-country drunk fest, but more quiet moments celebrating our boy who longed to be bigger than life. And for this momma, it was enough.
So here’s what I need you to know: When we lose someone we love, the desire to keep their memory alive or pay homage to everything they loved can be a guiding force. It might feel crazy or extravagant or outside of your comfort zone, but don’t fight it! What greater feeling in the world is there than standing on a beach watching the waves crash in and thinking, Bill or Jane or Luke would have loved this? Doing something in your loved one’s honor is a testament to your relationship and I think one of the last beautiful acts we can share with our child, or parent, or spouse. I believe our dearly departed are always with us, cheering us on and smiling at our adventures. I will never forget my amazement at *seeing* Luke in our pics from California – this spiral of energy in the corner of most every shot – letting us know that he was with us every step of the way. Magical! So polar plunge, hike the Appalachian trail, write a book – whatever and however you honor your love is up to you… and always right. Here’s to connecting from this world to the other side of the stars. Xxx #CaliForLuke