I can remember the day that I new my parents marriage was over. They had been fighting since I was in Grade Two for sure. That was the year that my mom came and started sleeping with my younger sister Melinda and I in the big bed in the bedroom. The big day that marked the definite beginning of the end was their 16th wedding anniversary.
My Aunty Hulda and Uncle Fred came out to visit us with a cake as they always did. We made burgers and had some lunch. Making sure we had our best picnic dishes out which wasn’t saying much for a family that lived out of an old grain bin. Aunty wanted our picnic table in the front yard for some reason. I felt we were exposed but they were our guests so we obliged.
After our lunch we took pictures. Mom and dad were photographed with the cake first. Then a family photo. Then Aunty Hulda slips in beside her brother and has a photo taken with the three of them. Dad placing his arm around Aunty. I noticed my mom’s face change during this picture. She became unhappy. Complete sadness came over her. She could hardly conceal it for the photo.
The atmosphere changed after that. Mom’s energy wrapped around all of us. The tone of conversation changed with mom falling more silent where just before we were laughing and my sisters and I were running around the yard. Us kids watched as all the adults ignored it, pretending that everything was fine, not wanting to wreck a perfectly good day. Where they unaware they day had just fallen apart in a single moment?
It seemed strange to me that no one asked my mother what was wrong. As kids we did that all the time with each other. But these were adult things so I watched the adults lead the way. I guess ignoring things was what one did when they grew up.
Later, years after their divorce, I asked my mom what happened that day. She said that she felt so unloved by my dad. He put his arm around his sister who drives him crazy but not his wife on their wedding anniversary. She felt like she wasn’t good enough. How ironic that my dad mourns the loss of their marriage to this day. He only ever loved my mom. He sits in a nursing home, 88 years old now, and still gets romantic thoughts about my mom. My mom still searches for love.
PS: Strangely, searching for the pictures taken this day to use for this blog post I could only find this one. Even more strange is that I see my dad’s arm is around my mom. Very baffling. Did my mom not know that his arm was indeed around her? I am so many more questions now.