Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Road to Healing through Halloween

This has mainly been a political site, but I wish to shake things up a little. I hope no one minds too much. After all it is called “Live, Love and Learn”, and this is an example of me attempting to do so.

Halloween has been special to our family for many years. I still remember early in my youth being excited about Halloween more than any other holiday. My Grandmother would turn her garage into a small haunted house for children in the neighborhood and friends that would be able to accompany me to her house. The memory of my Aunt opening her eyes while lying in a coffin is still with me. As the years have went by, I took the tradition of haunted houses and now my family comes to my house to put together a place I hope children will remember for many years to come.

As I’ve put together our haunted house, the past years I’ve always excluded a certain member of my family and her husband. About 10 years ago there was a huge argument where I threatened her husband and my sister said that she hates our family. At that point I made certain that I would no longer speak to her, or even be around her, no matter what the occasion was for. As I look back on the argument I could have easily handled it better if I had just tried to be more diplomatic about the situation, but diplomacy was not an attribute I used very well in that time.

As of late, I’ve started coming around to the idea of forgiving my sister (or maybe she needs to forgive me) in hopes of having a more complete family, but I have found it difficult to say everything that I know needs to be said. I still have much to work on.

This year I must admit, I wasn’t in the spirit of Halloween. I didn’t feel like going through the effort of putting the house together and taking time off of work and other ventures to complete our annual undertaking. My wife persevered and forced my hand to get it done. She said it was for her benefit, but as I look now, she did it because I needed it. So we went and got our place set up and ready for a haunted house. I invited my sister and her husband to come and be a part of our program. It was a little tense at first, but as the night progressed, smiles became more natural.

With my sister on board, along with help from other family members, my son’s friends and help from some local children we had a great night. I let my sister do my regular job of being the guide through the house. With so much help available it allowed me the freedom to step back and do what I really like to do; take pictures. I took pictures of everyone I saw that I could get, whether they were actors for us or just families wanting to see what we did this year. My brother-in-law started off behind the scenes, but as he saw the fun everyone was having he became a center figure in our house. He grabbed the chain saw yelling and chasing people from our back yard. I think he ended up having a good time despite the tensions between us.

Halloween became part of the healing process for my sister and me. We still have a ways to go before the trust we once had can be fully realized, but the road to healing can take many turns.


John Hosty said...

Ken, like I have said before, feel free to post what you wish here. I can completely relate to your story, as I have family memebers that I have kept at the end of a stick for years over blowouts we have had. When I started reading this a lot of the old emotions welled up, and I realized that I too crave healing with them. Life is very strange, and I am no where near where I would have thought I'd be when I was growing up, but everything seems to happen for a reason. The fight, the time angry, the healing, are all part of a greater picture, and part of the path we chose for ourselves if you believe in Buddhism. Your story seems to support my growing conclusion about life, that being kind is its own reward.

RedStateExile said...

Ironically, I was looking at some mail earlier that I needed to put out and thought "what's stopping me from writing a letter to my mom?"

I haven't talked to her, not one word, in three years.

The last time I spoke or saw her was around the Thanksgiving holidays. I can't remember exactly what our argument was about, but I do remember her disrespectful attitude toward me and my partner. Somehow she felt I should stay for Thanksgiving dinner even after she disrespected our relationship.

Aside from the obvious fears of not trusting her, I guess there is no reason not to at least write a letter. Part of it is that I just don't know what to say anymore.

Ken Weaver said...

Hey Redstate;

It took my Mother crying for me to start the process with my sister. She was so upset at the thought of never having the family together again that it put her to tears. It no longer mattered who was right or wrong, just that someone had to put away the proverbial hatchet.

We all had a good time on Halloween; it was just tense at first.

I wish you good luck with your Mother.

RedStateExile said...

Ken, your story is heartwarming and gives hope. I wish you all the best as well.