Dear Three Readers of Mine,
Well, this has been a Christmas to remember but not the kind you think back on fondly. More like the kind you think back on and say “oh man! Let’s not have another one of those anytime soon!”
It started with this
Wednesday December 19th, my father-in-law passed away very suddenly. A brain hemmorhage caused him to go unconscious and he never came back from it. Duty and his brother and two sisters were there by his bedside when his wife agreed to remove the life support. There’s an enormous amount of family drama that I won’t go into; suffice it to say everyone acted for the highest good and there was a peacefulness through all of it.
My father-in-law was a nice old man who was kind to me, loved saying “Well, I’ll be darned” to everything and had the uncanny ability to work the name of the old family dog (Prince) into pretty much any conversation. Duty was the only one of the four kids who was close to his dad in the latter years (again, 10000 reasons why the others weren’t) and while it hit him hard, it was easier than I expected it to be.
Then it went to this
The viewing and funeral was pretty calm with one exception: in the middle of the final song at the service (“Old Rugged Cross”), FIL’s good friend Blackie passed out. He was in poor health anyway and probably shouldn’t have tried to come. As they were singing, three people in the back stood up and yelled “CALL 911!!” and I’m thinking “Oh dear God, Blackie has died right at Bob’s funeral!”
Fortunately, there were a lot of firefighters and paramedics there (service runs in the Duty family) and they were able to get Blackie stable before the official help arrived. It wasn’t anything too serious – he just got overheated. The service was LONG and I think sitting still for that period of time got to him. Glad he was okay, though. That would have just been awful if he passed away right there.
It gets suckier, oh yes it does!
I’m (not) dreaming of a white Christmas: I like snow only as much as it does NOT interfere with my life. Got nowhere to go? Fabulous! Snow your ass off. But most times, I’ve had places to be (work) and it just got in my way. This was especially the case this past Christmas Eve.
Since Duty and I were preoccupied with sadness and whatnot, we didn’t fully comprehend the weather forecast and the fact that my cousin lives on top a damn mountain. So, we set off for CE festivities an hour and a half away. As we got closer, the rain turned into snow but mostly slushy stuff. At some point, it stopped being slushy stuff and turned into serious snow and by the time we got within 10 miles of her house, it was pretty damn bad. The last leg of the trip is the worst part, even on a clear day, full of windy roads, hairpin turns and uphill most of the way. Taking into consideration the worsening weather, the lack of a path on the not-well-traveled roads, and the Prius not really being made for this, it was looking pretty bad.
I had a huge sad.
Also too: a huge scared because cars were sliding off the road and turning around. Here’s a thing to know: Duty loves driving in the snow. Whenever we have one, it’s been our tradition to go out in the truck and survey the surroundings and look for open coffee shops.
When Duty says “this is bad”, I know he’s worried. I know it’s bad.
So, we turned around. While I totally understood on a rational level that it was the right thing to do, the five-year-old in me who wants to be with my family and eat lasagna was devastated. Especially so because I believed everyone else was able to make it up the mountain and they’d have Christmas without me. Pretty sure it was just the sadness of the past few days mingling with the “I’m left out of the only thing I really, really look forward to” that caused the small meltdown.
Once we made it back onto regular roads and highway, it was nothing. Salt trucks were out and the roads were just wet. (Which made it suck even more that where we were going was unreachable.)
I was sad, I was melting down and I was starving, having eaten very little in anticipation of a large meal.
And that was fun.
We stopped at a diner full of people (and I couldn’t help feeling like we were wearing “Aren’t we pathetic?” signs because we had nowhere to go on CE but a diner) and decided to have dinner. For me, comfort food = pasta and/or mashed potatoes. I opted for pasta.
How you can make something that should be so damn yummy into the blandest thing, I have no idea. It was supposed to have basil, chicken and mozzarella cheese on it but none of those things could save it. The chicken was especially bad. (I had to spit one piece out – it was gross and fatty.) Duty got an open faced turkey sammich with mashed potatoes on the side. Surely you can’t botch that, right?
Instant mashed potatoes! Have they no shame?
I did tell the waitress that the pasta was just awful and she was very sweet about it. In fact, she offered something else in its place (uh, no. But thanks!) and even took it off the bill which I did appreciate because paying $17 for crap pasta is not my idea of a good deal. (We did leave her a big tip since she was so nice about it all.) Still, I left there feeling like the saddest schmoe ever. (I wish I could say I am dramatizing for effect but no. I really was sad and no matter how I tried to talk my inner self out of it (“cheer up! It’s an adventure! There’s always next year!”), I just couldn’t do it.
The only thing that made me feel better
Talked with Cousin O’Love on the way home and found out she couldn’t get there either! They ended up driving home, eating the cannoli they brought for dessert.
I wasn’t the only one left out! Huzzah!!
My mood immediately brightened because I knew that things would get rescheduled (and they are – we’re having a re-do this weekend barring more damn snow!) and I didn’t feel as bad as when thinking I’d be the only one left out.
What did we learn?
- I revert to five years old when I’m sad and feeling left out.
- The realization that Christmas eve is the only holiday I like and look forward to. Don’t take my family, lasagna and presents away from me!
- I take in a lot more of other people’s sadness than I think I do, even with my energy all zipped up.
- I love Duty more than I can begin to say. And I respect him just as much. He’s a good person, tries his best to do the right thing and loves and protects me with his heart. I couldn’t ask for more.
I think I’m going to have to learn to roll with things more. Maybe it was because I was awash with ten kinds of feelings I wasn’t processing that I just couldn’t get over myself but not only was I sad, but I was mad at myself for being so and embarrassed as well because I just couldn’t stop crying.
Waves goodbye to Christmas 2012 and happily closes the books on it for good.
Oh hai 2013! Let’s do it up right, shall we??