I recently finished the most relate-able book to my situation, The Mediocre Widow. There are lots of gems from this book that I could tell you about, but the topic I’m thinking about today is milestones. In her novel, Tidd talks about how widows will dread a milestone and be depressed about it far in advance. Often they aren’t even aware that they’re doing it, but many times when the day comes it’s not nearly as bad as all the time and energy they spent dreading it.
This was true for me when it came to my slew of October milestones, mainly my anniversary. I was down weeks leading up to that day, but when it happened I didn’t fall apart or crumble. Yes, I was sad… but I was a functional sad person.
Now I’m heading into my favorite time of the year, but the despair is already bubbling up. The holidays are upon us, but I wish they weren’t.
Thanksgiving isn’t a big deal to me. I haven’t celebrated it formally since we moved away from North Carolina in 2008. The past several years Tim and I have gotten lots of delicious and often non-traditional food at Whole Foods, and hung out together during a chill day eating cheese. That’s the Thanksgiving standard I’ve had for a while, so having friends in town for a weekend of fun is right along the lines of how I’d like to celebrate the holiday. To me, Thanksgiving has mostly been a way to pre-game Christmas.
I love, love, love Christmas.
Part of it is that I’m a December baby, so my birthday is just another awesome day in a slew of awesome days at the end of the month. Really though, I love all things Christmas. I love cooking and decorating and gift giving and Christmas music and mostly being around my favorite people.
Therein lies the problem.
The last Christmas I spent without Tim was in 2008. We had recently moved to MA, and weren’t engaged yet. After spending my birthday together, he flew to Mississippi to be with his family. I was invited, but at the time didn’t think anyone knew how to do Christmas but the Upton’s and that not being with my family wasn’t an option. I flew home to NC, and instantly regretted my decision. Of course I love my family and enjoyed seeing them, but I laid in my bed alone in my old room on Christmas Eve and silently cried until I went to sleep. After that, Tim and I took turns and compromised and I learned that Christmas is not about unyielding tradition.
When packing up my house to move, I found our little collection of stockings. Knowing that two of them will never be hung & filled again is too much for me. I can’t bear the thought of decorating this year. Everything will stay boxed up, and the only hint of Christmas cheer is the decidedly non-Christmas Simon ornament I had made that’s now hanging on my china cabinet.
My mom has started enthusiastically asking about my Christmas list. I mostly got my love of this holiday from her, and shopping for everyone has always been something we enjoyed. This year I’ve started brushing off the question, because what I really want to do is simply reply, “You know what I want.”
Well, that and maybe a new pair of breeches. You can never have too many pairs of breeches.
Despite my wish to skip until January 2016, the holidays are coming with or without me. My plan to shake things up a bit with a massive road trip will help to some degree. I’ve got some fun things planned (looking at you Beka), and am quite looking forward to two plus weeks off of work… regardless of the circumstances.
When the dreading is over and the holidays are actually here, I’m sure they won’t be as bad as they seem now. I’m also sure I’ll miss him, and will constantly have a glass of Prosecco in my hand. I know at the core, I’ll be a very lucky person even without him.
Getting to that point in the next 30+ days though, is going to be difficult.