When Friday arrived a combative and harsh attitude permeated our home. I was not prepared to accept anything but perfection and my boys were defensive and fragile. If emotions could emit colour, the air around me would have been thick with crimson. Stained red from the anger of each of my unmet and very unrealistic expectations and from the cuts that my weapon of condescension inflicted on the boys. To say that our morning was unharmonious would be like calling the ocean big.
And as we all sat quietly in the truck on our way to “Thanksgiving Weekend” I tried to dissect the morning to uncover the root of these feelings beyond our grief. As I sifted through causes such as: exhaustion, selfish hearts, unresolved issues, not enough hugs, and even a change in weather I was struck with an epiphany. Every holiday, celebration, birthday, or anniversary since that fateful day in July starts like this. This may have been one of the most intense starts yet, but those shades of red have been present every time. And as I thought back to many special occasions that we have celebrated since the deaths of Colin and Madeline the familiarity of those emotions was strong.
Even as I have planned and orchestrated many of these moments to help us celebrate, remember and give us something to focus on it is like that car crash has altered the very fabric of our DNA. We can’t understand and see the deep undercurrents that are at play yet our bodies still revolt. As though subconsciously we realize that it is not right. That these precious holiday times that are so centred on family and the ones we love most don’t fit us the same anymore. A crying out of our souls in a language that is foreign to us, but desperately begs and even fights to be heard. And though our methods need a bit of polishing, they are effective. It makes us stop, and weep, and reflect, and try again.
And when we begin afresh with one another in each of these special days we learn something. That things can be adjusted to fit again. They may not be better, but they can still work. That there is still a place for us and there are still new memories to be made. I think that is the shock for each of us. Our expectation has drastically changed and we don’t necessarily believe that the peace and joy of these moments is ours to share anymore.
As we drove home after the weekend spent with family I stared out the window at the beautiful prairie and bright blue sky. Which was surprising to see after the overcast and blustery weekend that we had started with. From the back seat I heard Emmett say, “ Today was actually a good day.” I nodded and asked him if he was talking about the weather to which he replied, “No, just in general.”