Arrived at the church, my mother sniping, complaining and criticizing me the entire three hour drive. I kept my father's voice in my head and refused to take the succulent bait she tantalized me with, responding to everything with, "Yes, mother" or just reaching over and taking her hand.
I escorted her into the church, still clad in jeans and t-shirt and fled as quickly as she would let me to the car to retrieve my clothes.
There are three Patriot Guard Riders here, as motorcycle escort (though not flying any flags), all on Harleys. I approached one of the men and thanked him for being here and for everything they do. He smiled kindly and said this was his second most rewarding job. (I will ask him what the first was on my way back inside.)
The man looked at me, removing his dark glasses. "Are you alright?" he asked gently.
"No," I admitted. And he opened his arms and enveloped me in a hug while I sobbed openly into a stranger's arms.
He is old enough to be my father.
Why is it that we often feel most alone in the company of family?