The decision to embark on a family holiday is one that when younger, is out of your hands. Sitting for three days in a car to get there is also out of your hands. When you reach your twenties however, despite how hard you fight it, the decision is now (at least partially) yours. The ritual patterns of our lives which become comforting to partake in have fundamentally changed. We are adults with our own fully formed personality and conciounsness.
My family decided to embark on a holiday three months after my father died of a brain tumour. We consciously and purposefully chose to spend a concentrated amount of time together, in another country, mainly eating and drinking. Surely undercurrents of frustration and sadness were always going to attend, packaged in idle threats and snappy churlishness. The empty chair at a tapas bar, trying to lay the table for five – the constant reminder that we didn’t know how to behave as a four. A team member down, competing grief and a life time of patterns cannot be masked with copious amounts of liquor.