Tonight as I was putting Danny to bed I picked up a framed picture on his dresser and looked at it. It was a family picture taken about 7 years ago at Rocky Mountain National Park. We used to go there every fall and rent a cabin.
Dan told me a few years ago, not long after his dad was removed from his life, that he wanted that picture of the four of us in his room. At the time, I was uncomfortable with it, because everything was so fresh and awful and the last thing I wanted to do was look at that picture. But I set my feelings aside, framed it and put it on his dresser.
For three years I have avoided looking at that picture because every time I saw it, it stirred up so many emotions -- none of them pleasant. Tonight, however, I looked at the picture and felt nothing negative. I simply thought, "That was a fun trip. I miss the mountains."
And you know what? It was a fun trip.
Dan pointed at the picture and noted that I still have the same coat. He asked if this was the trip where Anna threw up in the pool, and I said no, I think it was the trip where he threw up in the car.
Maybe that's what freedom is. To see the ugliness of the past and not be emotionally bound by it, but to simply think, "Yeah, that happened." It was so very painful, but among the broken fragments of the past, there was beauty, too.