Nearly five months of silence.
So it's time for some rambling, I think. 'Tis the season, and all.
I realized, probably not for the first time, but for the first time this year, that the things I do at Christmas post-Thomas are things I do to cope with Christmas post-Thomas. The obsessive ornament buying, the totally over the top cookie baking for the annual family Christmas tea we started hosting the year Thomas died, the ornament making party, the explosion of garland, tinsel and lights all over the house.
It's all busy work. And a bit of a disguise.
Which makes me wonder what Christmas would look and feel like if I didn't try so hard to make it magical. If I didn't wear myself out quite so much. If I just took some time to sit and listen and let the season quietly work its way into my soul on its own terms.
I've been doing this - busting my proverbial (and literal) ass in an effort to prove to everyone that I am full of Christmas spirit and also just fine, thank you very much - since that horrible first Christmas without him.
And while I've been so busy trying to demonstrate my fortitude, I haven't really let anyone do anything for me. I haven't let anyone scoop me up, plunk me down and take care of me during this season when my heart feels both so full and so empty I can't fathom that it even knows how to beat anymore.
I haven't shown the people around me that I'm still vulnerable. That while I love Christmas, it also hurts. That maybe I need a little extra TLC these days, or at least a pass if they find me slightly out of sorts at some point during the back-to-back festivities (all of which I promise I really do enjoy in my own way).
I steal moments, finding empty corners of unused rooms in which to regroup. But I do it secretly. As if there's something wrong with needing a moment to breathe.
I've put an inordinate amount energy into avoiding the need for pity by proving my strength, and to my own detriment. Because now, now maybe I want people to take a moment and whisper that they remember. That they miss him too. That he is not forgotten and never, ever will be.
And now they probably won't. Because they think I don't need it.
Or worse, that I don't want it.
Because I've worked very hard to show that I don't.
Stupid, stupid me. Although, in my defense, who the hell is good at grieving? Especially this kind of grieving?
I think I've done well these past four years and nine months. As well as I knew how, anyway. But I've learned some lessons, and I'll be making an effort (because it's always about effort, isn't it?) to tone down the Christmas dog and pony show next year.
I think it's time.
Next year will be for me.