Lately I've been carefully reminding myself to prepare for the emotional onslaught of Christmas Eve, which seems to catch me off guard every year.
The first one without Thomas I spent cleaning - manically cleaning - and sobbing. It has not gotten much better. But that's because I kept forgetting how shittastic Christmas Eve is, for some reason. It's fresh agony each year thanks to my surprising inability to retain useful information like: CHRISTMAS EVE SUCKED LAST YEAR BECAUSE I WAS VERY, VERY SAD.
As the years have passed there's been noticeably less frenzied cleaning activity on Christmas Eve (of course that would be the first thing to go...), but there's still a debilitating amount of very raw sorrow in my heart on the 24th.
It's such a little kid day - my most favourite day of the year when I was small. So much magic in the air. So much promise. So much to look forward to.
And now, of course, there's markedly less magic and promise in my life. And the sorts of things I look forward to are having a schooner of wine when I get home from taking my dad to the hospital, or knowing there's a chocolate bar My Beloved has stashed away in the freezer for me.
See? Wine and chocolate. And I was going to mention something about fleece sheets, but that's just too obvious.
So I've been reminding myself that Christmas Eve is coming, pain and all, because I think maybe if it doesn't sneak up on me, it might not be as bad as usual.
Plus this year I'll be spending some of it in dialysis with my dad - which isn't necessarily merrier, but, well, different. And different is good, I find. Even when the different is actually bad, different.
I don't know for sure if being prepared will help at all - but at least I'm doing something beside waiting to wake up on Christmas Eve to a crushing sadness I'd forgotten would come.