Monday, December 23, 2013
Vivaldi's Four Seasons is playing in the background. My girls have been baking Gingerbread and Sugar cookies while I had been out shopping. Husband has been out attempting to kill the gopher that is digging holes in the side lawn. Shovel in hand perched to strike. Our son has finished playing video games and I heard the strum of his guitar playing a few moments ago. Our dog Stewie, is sitting in my lap, his head lays on my right wrist as I attempt to type. He's little, thankfully, as his head weighs heavily there. He's cold as his body shivers occasionally.
I believe Stewie is my protector of grief. He seems to know when I am in need of comfort more quickly than any of the family. He comes and sits near me or begs to be lifted in my grateful arms. His eyes watch my every move. Of late he also is giving his comfort to my son and husband more than he use to, as though he senses their need as well.
It is an unsettling Christmas for me. How can any Christmas not be after a loved one has passed away? How can the Christmas spirit be found? Mine is numb. Such a numbness that I've never felt. Empty? I've tried playing holiday music but that makes me weepy at times. Most often I have not felt it's joy. More often I don't play any.
I'm not trying too hard as I understand this can't be forced. I give it an effort but inside a part of me feels that grief at the holidays is without guidelines. A personal journey that will take me where it wishes. Sometimes I stand waiting in a line while shopping and feel that while everyone around me is jabbering and talking, I am on an island of stillness. Alone and unseen. I feel my breath go in and out of my lungs, my calmness settles around me. Am I here in this bustling place?
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I have some gifts left to wrap, my dining room table to set, pies to prepare and food to prep. I will be preparing Coq au Vin and Vegetarian Cassoulet. One daughter will fix a salad and one will be making an Apple Tart. I'm always touched by their help. I'm not one whom asks for help, so when I'm asked if I need help I have to think and say yes. Since my mom's illness and now her death, my cooking is striking out in new paths different from the traditions of having the same dinner for Christmas as we do at Thanksgiving. Christmas Eve is really quirky for me. What to do? We use to go to my husbands mom's for Christmas Eve, then when she no longer could do it we went to my sister by marriage's home where her children and grandchildren would come. That has past with their new traditions of church going on Christmas Eve. That was hard to adjust to that my little family now must do our own thing on Christmas Eve. And so Christmas Eve never feels like what I've always expected. Good or bad? Neither. It is.
In some ways I am weary of this year's holidays. I'm tired of the shopping though it hasn't been fraught with difficulty. I've gone with a smile on my face and that calmness I have mentioned. I thank the sales people for their help, I chit chat with them. I've always disliked those people who are short or rude to sales clerks. Why can't people be nice?
It's time for me to rise and get myself out to the kitchen. Tonight is homemade pizza to fix. Simple and that is what I need. I can't believe that I was going to do Tamales on Christmas Eve! I've never made them and here I thought I would do just that. Sensibility finally prevailed!
I'll light the candles on the mantle. I've been told I have quite a few up there and indeed I do. I need the candles glow in the darkness of winter. A light that burns softly and the gentle flicker that catches my eye and holds me in it's trance.
Peace be with you and those you hold dear.