She opens the curtain and looks out her bedroom window . From where I stand in the kitchen I watch her. What is she thinking? The snow outside tells her that it’s winter. The sun tells her it’s day time. She can recognize the yard and surrounding area so she knows that she is in her own home.
She is wondering, Where is everyone? Where’s Ian? It’s been more than a year and she is still looking for dad. She is stuck in that time warp.
Another Christmas has come and gone. I continue to go through the motions and pretend that everything is normal. I find the little tree that is stored downstairs, the one that Ryan bought his grandparents more than ten years ago. I bring it upstairs and plug it in. The lights still work but no longer flash the bright colours it once did. I bring her the Christmas cards that friends and family still send to her in the mail and she reads each one. I help her to sign some cards for family. This could be the last year, I think to myself. This year, she does not know how to spell MOM. She still remembers her Ojibwe syllabics.
I cook a dinner and pick her up and bring her to our house so that she can enjoy a meal with family. She doesn’t know why she is there but she enjoys the company. I watch her as she opens her gifts. I continue to pretend that everything is normal.
This is our normal.