This trip is hard. It’s awesome – there’s no question that it’s awesome – but it’s also hard. And not just hard because it’s difficult to wrangle two busy little children on one’s own – although that is hard – or because being on the road is hard – ditto – but because it’s challenging to find joy in such a wonderful, family-affirming journey when there is currently so much pain in my extended family (pain beyond the pain of grief; it’s much worse than that, and it’s so difficult and sensitive and defies my ability to explain.)
Death can bring out the worst in people. All the more when the death in question is that of a much-loved but complicated and difficult man, and when his death brings about the close of an era and an estate and when everyone around him disagrees about how he felt about everyone else and when some lash out angrily and cruelly in order to protect a certain narrative about that man’s life and death so that that person’s own interests can be protected. And when the ensuing storm shatters hearts and relationships to pieces, when a family faces the worst of each other and finds that they cannot forgive the worst, there leaves so little room in the heart for joy.
Funny, though, how the heart knows how to expand to fit the filaments of joy that squeeze their way in, that push past the dark and force their light into the corners and allow, for some moments, the welcome sweetness of light and laughter.
Never leave home without your beaver.