A Spectacular Day
How do you spend a day that everyone assumes would be really difficult?
I suppose, like I did, you’d take the day off just to be there for your kids and to handle whatever emotional time bombs might be resting in the wings, waiting for you to get close.
But this day started like any other. I got up, made breakfast, and took the three kids to school.
The only indication in the beginning that this was the day my wife, their mother, had passed away was the fact that I bought a dozen roses and put them on her grave. I did it alone, after dropping the kids at school. They don’t like going to the cemetery anyway. It was beautiful morning. The cold breeze was blocked by trees and the sun was warming just the perfect spot by her stone on the row. I talked to her, in a private conversation I won’t recount here, and went home.
I spent the morning and early afternoon with my oldest daughter. We had lunch, eating at a cafe near my house, and talked about school, movies, her friends, my work, like any other conversation.
This could have been a hard, terrible, sad day. But when I asked my daughter if she’d seen video of her mother when she was a TV anchor she said “no.” We brought up the video and she marveled at how she looked, how she was the very age my daughter is now…and the scary fact that her voice sounds a lot like her mother’s.
“It’s so funny, though” my daughter added, “because it doesn’t sound like her. She had a TV voice going.” When another clip hit, one pre-recorded with her voice deeper my daughter’s eyes got brighter and she added “there’s the voice I remember!”
There were no tears, no glassy eyes, nothing. She just smiled and liked seeing a part of her mother’s past she hadn’t seen before.
I made BBQ, cornbread muffins, and we ate until we were bursting.
Then we went to the carnival.
We rode the Ferris Wheel three times. We spun around and around. I rode a glider ride with my daughter. We played games that are obviously fixed so that we lose and didn’t care.
We rode a carousel . . . just because.
Went down the super slide at breakneck speeds. My son got queasy after riding something called the “Thunderbolt” too many times. I heard my oldest daughter screaming in delight constantly and smiling so hard her face hurt.
We played, laughed and hugged and it was just . . . fun. It was going out late on a school night.
We rode the wheel again and watched the orange horizon turn to purple and electric blue and meld with the lights from the carnival. We bought cotton candy, caramel apples and licorice and went to the car . . . sitting and grinning as we went home.
It is a perfect, living metaphor, you see, for what our lives have become. We look at the woman we all love . . . for we still love her. That will never change. We don’t really get over losing her, we live with the memories. Those memories were painful, stinging us four years ago with every daily remembrance. It’s a tribute to the love we have for her that those memories now are fondness, remembrance and caring. We smile in her honor.
But those memories are what we have left. While she remains where she is . . . we continue to live. It’s the best thing in the world, by the way, life. Sure, it’s just a local carnival . . . but I dare you not to smile when you hear the screams of delight from four kids all shouting at once.
If you listen close enough . . . you can hear the delight in their mother coming through when they mix together.