Well . . . we made it through a first. . . the first big holiday and family gathering without you here. It was odd. An oddness I can’t adequately describe. I kept talking myself through it at different points throughout the week. “It’ll be ok. Enjoy your kids. Enjoy your brother and his family. Cook a nice meal. Keep the conversation light. Have fun - - hunt eggs --- play games and avoid ‘memory lane’.” You know, no matter how hard we tried to do ALL of that --- it was so evident a portion of it was forced.
Nancy actually cried a bit after lunch and Curtis’ voice cracked while he was saying grace. As hard as it was to hear and see, it was also comforting. They are so strong. Minus the last day in the hospital, I haven’t seen Curtis not be “ok”. Nancy is always going and doing and moving - - - - she just has it all under control. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think any of us should be sitting around curled up in a ball, not going on with life. But, it’s been two months, and every once in a while, I still get those “everything is fine and then it’s not moments”. It might be a smell, a sound, a flashback, my sitting down to write in this journal, and then I cry. Sometimes for 30 seconds, sometimes it lingers throughout the day.
I just keep thinking “How come they are ok and I’m not. What is wrong with me?” If his own wife doesn’t have those moments, then why the heck should I? “ Yesterday showed me that maybe they have those too still. As I thought about it, possibly it’s circular support. We all tell ourselves we have to be strong for the other two (Curtis for Nancy and I, I for Nancy and Curtis and Nancy for the kids), that none of us allow each other to see the moments that we aren’t. OR, maybe it’s because we are each too proud for the others to think we’re not strong enough to handle it --- even though we each are. OR, maybe it’s just I’m the emotional one and I’m looking for a reason to not be alone in my thinking. I don’t know. I just know for a brief time yesterday, I felt connected to them in missing you and knowing you SHOULD HAVE BEEN there celebrating Easter with us.
So, not having you here this year spurned a memory I hadn’t recalled in years! It was one of the things you did each year while I was growing up. You weren’t (until later years) the grab your wife and kids and love and hug on them all the time type person. Oh, we knew you loved us --- it was just portrayed in how you provided for us and raised us to be strong disciplined individuals. However, every Easter, you couldn’t wait to show off your family at church…..and you always made sure the girls in your life had a special “extra.” The Easter Corsage. Whether you hid it in the back of refrigerator, or out in the garage, it showed up every year. I remember knowing Mom was going to get one and just anticipating you bringing it out and her smile. I’d snoop (much like I did and possibly still do at Christmas) to see if I could find it before you brought it out.
I remember vividly the year I found it AND THERE WERE TWO BOXES!!!! It was the first year I got one too!!! I still remember the dress it went with. Mom always sewed me a new dress for Easter each year --- this one was white eyelet sleeveless dress with blue flowers and a blue satin bow….. and it was the year I GOT TO WEAR A CORSAGE to church TOO!!!!! I felt so special and grown up! I’m not really sure when the tradition stopped --- I just know that recalling it this week brought a huge smile and some tears. You loved your family so very much and showed it in such unique and special ways. Thank you. And we love you!
So --- I know I said I wasn’t going to, but I went to church yesterday. I knew in my heart that it meant a lot to Mom to have her whole family there yesterday, and I knew you’d want me there. My kids also asked me to go, and I didn’t want to hurt their memory of Easter Sunday. I would have much rather stayed at home and cooked and gotten the house ready for everyone to come over and eat, talk and play. It took everything in me to not walk out during “Amazing Grace” screaming this is all a huge bunch of crap!! I know, I know that it would break your heart if you ever thought that one of your kids lost their faith over all of this, and I’m not saying I have – I just DON’T KNOW anymore. It was always such a paramount element in life for you. I know you prayed for us, led us, and ran the family in a Godly manner. I know you believed. Well….here’s the deal ….. I’m not so sure I do anymore!
It’s so much more than just being mad at God. I truly don’t know if I believe it anymore. I don’t know that I’m convinced it’s not all been a 36 year time waster I’ve been involved in. I’m not buying into the “it’s all part of the bigger plan” gig --- I’ve seen too many people lose too much after hours and months and years of prayer to believe that God hears them yet still loves them enough to say, “No, I’m going to answer it my way.” It’s going to take a “big benefit in the bigger plan” this time to convince me. It really is. I’m sorry if it’s selfish and rude, but it’s me.
This event has truly rocked me to the core of what I thought I knew my whole life - - - I’m not sure WHAT I believe about a higher being, afterlife, and spiritual intervention in the physical world anymore. I don’t even know where to start to find the answer. “Just believe” or “hold onto to your faith” isn’t cutting it for me!!! There’s a part of me that wants to believe we’ve not all been fooled -- for a multitude of reasons --- I just don’t have that “assurance” inside of me anymore…..it’s gone.
I can hear your voice and lecturing and all of your examples as to why I’m wrong --- it’s just where I’m at --- and it’s hard! At a time my kids are becoming MORE involved in church and asking for Bibles, communion, etc --- I’m wondering if I’ve led them down the wrong path. I’ll arrive at a direction at some point --- I’m just confused right now about what’s true and not.
We missed you yesterday. We miss you today. We love you! But damn it I could really use one of your hugs right now --- it’d go a long way to fixing my heart right now.