Family traditions are met to stay. They are established for a reason or simply due to a habit from everyday life. So why break them? Moving with someone else and having to combine traditions to keep peace. Or sometimes, sometimes something will rush and crush everyone’s life and force that change.
It happened to us a long time. Not so long but enough to barely remember life before that event. Since then, links have been broken among us. Not because of the loss of love but by pure isolation. Some of us try to keep the tradition the best they can. As for me, I couldn’t. I have barely seen my family, at least not all of them at once. They care enough to come and visit with me. I have nothing much to say, to them. My heart is carrying a lot and asking the questions would remove all of its strength. It’s impossible to think about possible answers. I just have the facts of what I remember.
During summer, at the end of the week, after some really hard work, we all gathered to eat outside. Bring a few chairs next to the old stumps and in its center starting a braising fire. The dutch oven was set against the rock and the cast iron pans. Pies and skillet were being cooked for our big family with a large piece of meat we had leftover from last time. We needed all of this, our family was large. It was a great benefit for all with 4 boys and 3 girls.
I was with of the oldest or the youngest among them. After me, a few long years past before my other sibling started showing up. My poor mother had to work so hard for all of us. We didn’t make her life any easier either. We all got along very well. My oldest brothers and sister love to tease me, find my limits and break them. Just being a family they said! Of course, I wasn’t that poor little girl.
When the youngest started to show up, I’ve used them the same way I was used. I didn’t want to hurt them and I wanted to be better than the oldest kids in our family. Sometimes it was just too funny, and I’m lucky enough that today they still care about me.
As I knew, a tease too far can hurt. I didn’t learn my lesson. They got hurt too. I never felt proud, I was ashamed of myself for knowing better. Running to them and trying to apologize deeply never made their tears go away. I had to do something for them in order to bring peace in our family. Giving was bringing forgiveness. Now I have nothing to give, no forgiveness to receive.
One of those nights, it happened. It wouldn’t if I were where I suppose to, doing what I was supposed to. I’ve let a younger one do my job while the others were inside. It got out of control, and soon the flames are everywhere. It becomes so bright and the heat so intense I just stood there, looking at everyone running around either by panic or by the desire to keep everyone safe. The oldest of the family rushed to the house and grab everyone they could and our belongings. They stayed a long time in there before back coming out. One went back after trying to catch a breath, and that’s how the story end.
Every year, they all join together to the old home. I’ve never been able to. I’ve never gone back. If I did I would die.
The burial place was just right there, next to our home. Still being a protector to where our family was born and raised.
I’ve learned so much in my life. I just stopped living those last few years. Was there a point anyway?
The last few weeks have been hard, harder on me. I didn’t take care of myself and for sure didn’t want anyone to see me or respond to their invitation to be all together again. It wasn’t all. It will never be. That day to remember what happened passed and the darkest moment of life was going from my heart to my entire body affecting my last place of reason. I couldn’t live anymore and no force to take action. Only one specific place I knew would help me do that. This time I had to go.
I arrived towards sunset, it was just perfect I thought. I walked towards the resting place, kneeled in front of the grave our family made with what we had left. Just old burned wood. Through my teary eyes, it seems only first 2 letters have been carved, leaving the last one out. I ran my finger through it. The guilt was too strong. It was all my fault. None of this would have had happened if it wasn’t for me. None.
Being there, in my coldest spot, in my darkest moment, I could still feel the warmth of the sun brightening everything around me. An old feeling started to surround me, making me lighter, I didn’t feel alone. This time I was where I was supposed to be. That darkest place I was so afraid wasn’t a place to end but a place to start. The dark moments were passing by, I had given something very small even my tears, my forgiveness was being received.
More tears came down, my hopes started to rise from those ashes. After long minutes on my knees, I finally manage to recompose myself. I walked around seeking for a rock. I used it to engrave a M.