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  • Writer's picturecatherine@allaboutwriters

Looking for the words...

I just can’t bring myself to tell my family, once and for all, that we aren’t going to spend Easter with them this year. I’ve alluded to it, I’ve mentioned it to one person or another as a possibility, but I’m still tiptoeing around. Maybe this slice will help me feel better about the final decision...or at least help me make it.

We moved back to Canberra almost exactly a year ago. We came to the decision to move pretty quickly in the end, for a number of reasons, but primarily to be closer to my family. It had been a tough couple of years for us, with my mother being diagnosed with cancer and my father’s dementia subsequently stepping up a hundred notches in the absence of his beloved wife and caregiver as she underwent treatment. I’m fortunate to have wonderful siblings, and lots of them, and we all stepped in and rallied around to care for our parents. But it was tough on us all.

Our move to Canberra brought us closer to my family, with proximity to my parents and our children growing up with their cousins being particularly important factors. As it turned out, Dad passed away just three months after we moved, so having spent that time seeing him so often (despite him not knowing us some days!) was a blessing in every sense of the word. As we were still looking for a house at the time, it turned out we were living with Mum in the weeks after Dad’s death, and that too turned out to be healing for us all.

Of course, we’ve benefitted from the move in so many other ways. We see our family often, and our kids play with their cousins all the time. In this past term, I simply could not have built my business in the way I have without Mum being so willing (and thankfully able) to help out with the kids after school regularly. We are all richer for the relationships we have with her and the whole of my large and loud family.

So I’m asking myself, with all that’s gone on, how could we spend Easter away from the extended family? Well, it’s been a big year for my own family too. We’ve moved cities - new school, new home, new job for me and new work arrangement for Hubby, who is now away half of most weeks. It’s been good for us all, but let’s not understate the gravity of all that’s happened. I think that we, meaning just our family, could do with time to be together. To just BE. I know my mother is happy to spend Easter day with my three brothers who live nearby, and she’s invited some acquaintances who would otherwise be lonely. The family will miss us, especially the cousins, but with the fabulous chaos that is our wider family getting together, nobody will be sitting and lamenting our absence. And they won’t have to share the eggs from the hunt so many ways. There’s a win.

We’ve spent the last seven Easters with my family, which called for travel and not much relaxation. There’s some irony in now living nearby and choosing to travel to spend the day alone, but I think we need it. At least now I’ve made up my mind, and seeing as they have us around in regular life these days, it’s likely they’ll barely even notice we're not there Easter Sunday.

Now all that's left is to tell them. Pity I can't slice my way out of that!

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