Our Story Begins: A Change in the Day
By all accounts, if the last two years had been an indication, today should have been hard. It should have been very hard. It was the very day, three years ago, that my wife Andrea passed away.
I guess, for that reason, it bothered me a little that the day progressed so that is seemed less like a difficult and stressful day and more like . . . Wednesday.
It’s funny how the day played out. While I took the day off and wandered through my routine, the world continued to turn. The FBI raided the office of a senator at the California state capitol and charged him with some fairly serious crimes. Tornadoes started to form in areas north of where I live.
But I was oblivious to a lot of this, at least at the beginning. I started the day driving the kids to school like every other Wednesday. As the news of the FBI raid unfolded I was at the cemetery with a bouquet of red roses. They weren’t Andrea’s favorite flower, in fact I am not sure she loved roses that awful much. I got them for her all the time because, well, red roses were what you gave someone when you loved them. I figured that was the same this Wednesday.
When I got to the grave, it was pouring rain. It was like the day was fighting with itself. The normality of the day was struggling to go forward while we struggled with the loss of such a strong spirit influencing our daily lives. As I placed the the flowers next to her picture on the stone I had Elmore James’ song running through my head:
The Sky is crying, look at the tears rolling down the street
The rest of the day was just the day. While I’d talked about traveling out of town my son, Sam, didn’t want to go. He wanted to do his speech competition. So we did . . . and he was amazing! We went out to dinner and had cake from the local bakery. We talked about the day and I argued with my kids to put their phones away so that we didn’t have distractions while we ate.
But as I put 3 of the 4 kids to bed, my oldest sat on the couch with me, home from college for Spring Break. She hadn’t seen the movie About Time and wanted to watch it. It was a decidedly bad idea for the end of what had turned out to be just a normal day with the sadness moved to the fringes of our daily grind.
I had a glass of wine . . . then another. A love story played out on the screen . . . then a wedding, and as this was my wedding anniversary as well it wasn’t particularly pleasant an experience. Then came the twist at the end . . . a parent dying of cancer . . . and I saw my daughter rubbing her sleeve against her eyes.
We both tried to go to bed after and failed. We watched The Soup in order to cleanse our mental pallet of the emotions whirling around like the storms outside. That, too, failed. We watched TV awhile and I realized the combination of emotion, wine, and sadness had taken its toll. My oldest wanted to stay up . . . and ended up watching something like Hannibal – as polar opposite from what we’d been experiencing as you could get.
My point is, you see, that the day was like any other. The rest of the world trudges on while we have our small stumbles.
But at the end of the day . . . as I lie in bed and then sit up . . . writing here . . . I realized that this is closer to normality than we’ve ever been. Our annual video is filled with smiling, happy, adventurous people. That’s not an anomaly, that’s really how our days are now. We aren’t lost or scraping the ground as we walk forward on the path of our lives. We’re moving at a pace that’s nearly caught up with the rest of the world.
But at the day’s end I realized that we’re both happy . . . and disappointed that is the case.
Hard as the emotions were to face at the end of the day, part of me is happy. It shows all of us that we’ll never really forget what this day means to us.
And I look down and it’s after midnight. The storms have abated for now. The barometric pressure equalized. The rotation in the clouds has stopped.
The sky isn’t crying any more.