This christmas was really rough.
The week before, we were called by a good friend of ours to come and say goodbye to his partner of 25 years as he died peacefully in his home.
After having only a few days to recuperate from that loss, we were hit even harder; my partner's mother died. Their relationship and her death aren't my story to tell, but they were both complicated, and I can see the strain on my boyfriend. Death has cast a pallor on the holidays this year, and while we enjoyed some quality time with family, we both kind of wished we could be under the covers, hiding from the world.
I want to reclaim New Year's, or at least my birthday, which follows less than two weeks later. We won't have much money, but I want to do something grand, something I'll remember for the rest of my life. Something life-affirming. I don't have a single idea yet, but I'll be thinking on it.
But, back to christmas. I'm giving each family unit an aloe vera plant and a jar of sauerkraut, which some people have loved and others ignored. I don't worry about people who don't appreciate the gifts I bring, if they refuse to take one, there's more for everyone else. And the people who do appreciate it make up for the grinches in spades.
My boyfriend flew back home from dealing with his mother's death on xmas eve, so we kept it quiet that night. The next morning we drove to the city and spent the beginning part of the day opening presents, making pickles!, and leisurely chatting. It was pretty great.
We stopped at our friend's house, the one who lost his partner, and spent a little time with him, but before we knew it, we had to head off to the big family extravaganza.
I slapped in my earplugs as soon as we got there, but still only made it about thirty minutes before I was wishing it was over. It makes me sad how little I enjoy these big fmaily gatherings now, it used to be the highlight of my year, but my new reality is what it is, so I'm just happy I made it out of there without crying or screaming at anyone.
We're on day three of project holiday recuperation, and I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, I also see my birthday approaching, and that's usually a whole other ball of social gathering pain.
I do pretty well with my limitations throughout the year, but these two months never fail to remind me of just how sick I am. I miss having birthday parties, and looking forward to the holidays. But there's not point in moping over it, I'm making the best of a very difficult situation and all I can do is keep trying.
So, I do.