Friday, December 07, 2012

Good Grief observes the holidays.

I had read at one point in my grief research (yes, that is me, don't just HAVE it, read MORE about it!) where someone said that month 8 often saw a resurgence of grief for a loved one. So I kept a squiggy eye out for it around November, the beginning of the Season of Overeating.

Of course holidays carry their own special sting with the loss of a loved one, and Thanksgiving was no different. I charged cheerfully into the meal preparation, determined to enjoy the process and drag joy out of even the grocery shopping. Dammit, I'm gonna have me some JOY!

And I did. I talked to strangers in the grocery stores, one time offering a listening ear to a man with the "deer in the headlights" look mumbling to himself and whoever was nearby, "Can I defrost a turkey in a day? Should I just buy a fresh one?" I love these moments, because I am not a cook, but I can appear as a Martha Stewart Angel to a stranger. For a moment, (a moment I hold closely to my heart,) I can APPEAR to be an all-knowing goddess. After I told him how much more I had spent on a fresh, brined turkey at Trader Joe's the day before, he decided to buy the fresh instead of frozen one. (Though it may have been the less Martha Stewart part of me and more the *real* me saying, "I dunno, mine is always still partly frozen" that won him over....)

Anyway, shopping came and went, and the chopping and peeling commenced. I remained calm and somewhat joyful. But once the major things were prepped and I went off to shower and get out of my baggy sweatpants and into something more guest appropriate, it hit me.

Even if I didn't talk to my sister every Thanksgiving, even if it was more of a pre or post "What did you have? Who was there?" conversation from our separate states of California and Oregon, I COULDN'T.
Not even if I wanted to.
Fortunately, this disolving julie has awesome children who actually and weirdly LIKE to cook, and they took over and finished up dinner while I used cold water and makeup to cover up the sudden grief that had overtaken me. Did I mention they're awesome?
And now, going into Christmas, I've decorated a Patti Tree, clothing it in her colors of purple, green, and blue. And when I see it I smile. And I hear her saying, "I wish I could be with you guys for Christmas, you're so much fun!" And I think of Patti, and I miss Patti, but I have a sense of her with me, surrounding me.
My "Patti tree" complete with Penny the cat.
Just the way she would have liked it.
I'll try to hold onto that happy feeling when it's time to wash the Christmas dishes.
Skimmer's Recap: Grief is normal, grief is good. Pass the turkey.

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