We are traveling through Europe, the children and I. I wanted to make happy memories for them this first anniversary. To separate the event from Graham’s 11th birthday on Saturday. Children are very smart. You cannot fool them. We arrived on the 4th and as the day went on it was clear in some of the more quiet moments, such as dinner, that we all knew; we had not forgotten. Looking at them, a heavy silence hanging in the air, we all left one another to our own memories of the day. Graham keeps saying he wants to be home and have a normal birthday. I think even he understands his birthdays will be different now. After.
While we are gone the painting of the outside of our house is being completed. The painting started with my bedroom out of necessity. Then Natalie’s room for good cheer. The screened porch to clean it up, the family room to brighten it, the guest room, including new carpet and bed, the dining room, and finally the only thing left was the brick exterior. I think somehow like the trip, it is an attempt to both cover everything ugly as well as try to make something new from what we’ve been left. Steps on the road to move past it.
It has occurred to me to sell the house, move us away, start over, start fresh somewhere. If nothing else this trip has made me understand finally I can go to the ends of the world and it will follow me. It is part of me now. Thus I need to find a way to make some sort of peace within myself that bad things happen to good people. To accept I am not the horribly selfish, miserable, mentally disturbed person he insisted I was. To come to a place on the journey where I can co-exist with the pain, the dreams, the memories and quiet them rather than give into their pull and remain threatened by them.
I don’t imagine this will be overnight, or during the 10 days we will have been away. I’ll admit I had a bit of an Extreme Home Makeover fantasy. We would arrive home and our house, the events that occurred in it and our lives would be miraculously transformed. Then again, maybe it is not a fantasy to imagine things changed. Nothing stays the same. Today that is a welcomed fact.