“Get away from me! GET AWAY FROM ME!!”
The voice was loud, angry and quivering with emotion. I turned around on my skis to see what was going on. There it was – a snapshot of a domestic distress at the entrance to the ski lift in Park City, UT.
The woman had two small children clutching each of her legs. She was crying. Both children were crying. Their skis were lying haphazardly on the ground around them. Her partner was standing 3 feet away, gesturing as if he wanted to help, but being told to stay away.
The meltdown of self control that typically happens in the privacy of our homes, away from prying eyes, was happening in front of the transfixed crowd.
“GO AWAY! GO AWAY!!”, she continued yelling at him. Everyone paused to see what he would do. He stood there, looking at her. Her hands tried to comfort the two sobbing children. “Don’t touch me! I don’t want you here! GET AWAY”, she shouted, ignoring the crowd, her eyes flashing at him.
What had snapped her reserve? With two small children, they had to have been together for several years. How long had this been going on? Or was it just a bad day due to the accumulated stress of the ski vacation – flights and cars, a new hotel room, getting the children dressed, the heavy boots, the cold weather, the falls of beginning skiers?
No one dared intercede. The woman shuffled over with her children to a bench at one of the outdoor tables. Tears were still streaming down her face as she hugged them. At that moment, my skiing group showed up from their run. I left with my group into the anonymity of the lift lines, leaving her sitting on that bench.
For the rest of that day, the woman and her situation were on my mind. Except for the public loss of self control, perhaps we have all been in her shoes. Memories of times where anger, frustration, fatigue, loss, misunderstanding, rejection, or unfulfilled expectations, have led to yelling and screaming. Not our proudest times, but these signs of pain and suffering are what make us human.
On that day, I wished that she and her family could find calm and peace, and I continue to wish for a better future for them.