David and I arrived at the unveiling for Eric’s Uncle Ben in East Haven, CT almost an hour early yesterday. We drove down the dead end Brockett Place, past the tall iron spike fences on either side of the small road, tall headstones behind the black rails, turned in the circle at the end, and parked heading out. Then got out of the car to go for a walk.
We wanted to stretch our bodies after the drive, and we didn’t want to be present for any family drama that might show up early. All summer I’ve been trying to stay clear of the discord that’s erupted in Eric’s family since Ben’s death. It occurred to me that family disputes that arise after someone dies, centered around wills and inheritance and who got what, or didn’t get what they expected, may just be grief displaced. Or maybe I’m being too nice.
We walked into the driveway of a school and sought the shade along the edges of the open field to each make calls to our families. There were vines twisting up the trees, curling around themselves, circling into spirals that climbed up. The twists looked like family to me, all the ways we love each other and wrap around each other and how some families forget how to make sense of their lives together without conflict and how the best of families support each other’s twisting, new vines growing on old wood towards the clear light at the top of the tree canopy.