This day was one of the hardest of the trip. The mortuary called me in the morning to tell me that we could come pick up Penelope's ashes. It killed me that I couldn't go RIGHT then, that she was alone (I know that sounds weird, but it was still SO fresh that she was gone). I cried most of the morning and the kids watched channel 8. I feel bad, but I just couldn't get myself together. I finally managed to get dressed and we went to an indoor mall not too far away. I was hoping to find a play place inside the mall that the kids could be entertained by and I could recoup emotionally. The play place in the mall was pretty pathetic which was disappointing, but the kids still seemed entertained for a bit. Then we walked around for a bit. We found a Claire's store which sells bows, jewelry and little girl knick knacks. We went in to look around. We found these delicate tiny little butterfly necklaces for $2 (and if you buy three, you get three free). There were other charms, so the girls each got to pick a charm they liked and also got them each a butterfly. We talked about how the butterfly represents Penny. We cried together a little and the girls put on their necklaces. We went back to the play place and ate our lunch and played for a little longer. Around 1:30 we headed back to get Peter down for a nap. We picked up Keith in the evening and went out to dinner. We walked around Excalibur and the Luxor hotels after dinner.
We had passed a park the day before on the way to the mall. So, today we dressed and headed there. I had looked the park up online and saw it had a splash pad so the kids went in suits. The park was beautiful and had a cool treehouse theme to it. All the playground equipment looked like it was trees, tree roots or nature. It was cute. The splash park was geared for bigger kids (all really high water spouts, nothing from ground or lower level). The kids played a little, but weren't super interested in it. Would just run through it to cool off and go play on the playground. I was grateful for this fun park and the distraction if provided. I was still struggling emotionally and was feeling worn out. We played all morning here and headed "home" around 12:30. We ate lunch in our room and Peter took a nap. We again picked Keith up and went out to dinner after he got off work. I will admit it was very nice to not make dinner for several days or have to do the dishes. We went to eat at an Indian Restaurant on the north side of the strip. The kids probably ate this food the best and we had a nice dinner. Then we walked over to the Circus Circus hotel to see the "free circus" show. It was about a half mile to mile walk there. They have a free show every 30 minutes that is just a one person short act. We saw a juggling act and then an arial ribbon act. The kids thought it was the most amazing thing. We got home kind of late and the kids were SO tired. They were to bed very quickly.
Keith only works half a day on Fridays and we were suppose to be out of the hotel by 11am. We wanted to rush home so we could get to the mortuary before they closed at 5pm. Keith went in early so he could get off work at 10am and we'd head straight out. So I had the joy of packing everything up and getting it into the car. It was hectic and crazy with the three kids in tow, but we managed to get everything done and ready by 10am and picked up Keith. We got on the road and luckily didn't have too much traffic getting out of town since it was early. We stopped in Kingman and had lunch at Sonic. The kids played and slept most of the trip and Keith and I listened to "A Boy and His Horse" from the Chronicles of Narnia series. It was a great story and nice to be distracted while we drove. We got into town around 4:30 and went straight to the mortuary. They gave us a few minutes alone with her in the chapel there. We just cried together and I clung to all I had left of my baby. We got home and unpacked everything from the car. Keith still had a stipend for dinner so we headed over to Red Lobster and had one final dinner out together.
It was nice to be back and I was very relieved that we had made it home in time. Driving into town I felt the pressure in my head coming back and the anxiety I'd felt before leaving. Going away turned out to be so helpful for me. I was able to leave the pain of everything here and surround myself with other things that didn't constantly remind me of how empty and lost I felt. Coming home though it all came rushing back. The next week proved to be yet again VERY difficult and a rather dark week. I don't have too many memories from that week as most of it was crying or feeling very crushed by depression. I spent most of my time feeling very empty and crushed. The following week I started back in babysitting kids and getting Ada ready for school to begin. It was helpful to "get back to normal" routines. It was hard and I was still very depressed, but it helped to have distractions that forced me to still function. Slowly the dark and deep depression did lesson and I could go a few days without crying or at least have shorter crying periods. Keith threw himself into work as that was his escape. He started working longer and longer hours and it was very hard on me. We decided to go to the temple and on a date. We found comfort in being there as it was as close to her we could be. The last time we'd been in the temple was with her. It was comforting to think she could be close to us there. The darkness is lifting, but I feel like part of me is gone. I feel like a different person now, and I don't see ever being the same ever again. Part of me literally died, and I'm trying to figure out how to live without that part. I am very grateful for this little trip that gave me a break and a chance to breath from all the pain.