Saying things out loud can be so terrifying sometimes, can’t it? But do you know what becomes more terrifying? Not saying things out loud.
Here’s what I am saying out loud today: Yesterday, I sent my husband, Kevin, and my two boys to family camp without me. I told most people it was because I couldn’t get a dog sitter to take care of the canines. I told Kevin and his family that staying home alone gave me a chance to get some writing done for the class I am taking that is over at the end of the month. But what I am telling you right now is this: family camp makes me really sad. Every year, for the past 7 years or so, we have gone with Kevin’s whole family and our sister-in-law’s whole family, and every other Dutch person and their whole family to Cascade Family Bible Camp. I go, and I sit and I sing painfully outdated worship songs, and I smile, and inside I am thinking about what it would be like to be at camp with my family, the camp we had been going to since I was a child, with the people who had known me since I was born. When I would say, “I’m Nicki Lang”, they would say, “Oh! You’re Bob Lang’s daughter! You look just like him.” And I would smile and laugh and wonder if they realized it was strange to say I looked like a man. But, whatever, I would love it. All of it (well, most of it). But I don’t get to love it. Because it’s not my family.
Instead, I am at home having family camp with my dead family. It’s actually not as morbid as it sounds (the dogs are here, and they are alive). I had planned to spend the weekend at the kitchen table working on my memoir project, until a friend said, ‘Why don’t you set places for your family?’. And then I couldn’t NOT do that. It seemed like the perfect idea. So, the minute the boys were out of the driveway, I walked through the house and collected all of the framed family photos I could find of Mom and Dad and my sister, Jeni, (and one of my Grandma Lang, because it was there, and she was looking at me like I couldn’t just leave her on the wall), and I set them up surrounding me on our long rustic dining table. Then I set up a mirror facing me, and a painting I just did of Manzanita, because I feel like that is the place where we were last all together and really happy. Then I lit 3 candles. And then I went and got another one. Because why should they get candles and not me? I stared at those 4 candles, and I imagined the four of us being together again. And my heart broke into a million little pieces and dribbled in tears down my face.
So, there. I said it out loud. I am still sad that my family is dead, this many years later. I pretend every day that I’m not. And don’t get me wrong, I am not only sad. I am happy, too. I let the happy hang out, but the sad is harder to show. But when all of the happy comes out, and all of the sad stays inside, there gets to be a bit of an imbalance. The inside becomes a very dark and scary place.
And so, I’m starting this blog. I’m starting this blog to have a place to say things out loud. I promise it won’t all be morose. I think I’m really funny sometimes (although others disagree), so I’ll work on that aspect, too. But mostly, I just need a place to say things out loud, about life, about death, about everything in between. Because there is SO MUCH to this life. And some of it is just really hard, and really scary, and really confusing. And some of it is just so, SO GOOD. You can visit whenever you want. Stay as long as you’d like. I hope that it will make you want to say more things out loud.