Breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe in…
I looked up at my Christmas Tree this week and was struck with the incredible sense that I would love to take it down. Now.
I know that’s wrong for any number of reasons, but I have always been candid here.
In the 10 days since we have buried my father there has been a whirlwind of papers and errands. There have been things to organize and sort. There have also been “regular” things to do, as I pretend to feel like I am part of the world going on around me.
And as I sat in the chair last night trying to absorb the beauty of the brightly lit tree and the litany of memories spread out across it as the ornaments we have collected through the years, I couldn’t shake how disconnected I feel.
This year the reasons are kind of obvious. I am starting to think its likely to get worse before it gets anywhere close to better.
Then my husband reminded me about last year. He reminded me about Hurricane Sandy, and the fall Grandma took, and the days in ICU. He reminded me about the car accident last November, and the months spent sorting out the paper, aggravation, and pain in my back.
It was right after Christmas last year that we had the “Santa” talk with my girl. My one and only.
So, I guess I knew all along this would be a year I had to look a bit harder for the magic. We looked hard in Disney in August. And we found it.
But, by the time we put the tree up this year my father lay dying in the hospital with less than a week to live. That day our family turkey and Felix’s special gluten free stuffing warmed the house with a soothing aroma. I heard the Christmas tunes. I helped with the ornaments. And I felt like I was in a bad movie.
Meghan had suffered with migraine headaches most of October and November as my father was sick. An MRI on November 20th confirmed the migraine headache diagnosis and the medication – once doubled – finally brought her some relief.
I couldn’t get the cards together this year. I just couldn’t do it. Maybe some time around Valentine’s Day I will feel up to a greeting. I ordered the food for Christmas dinner too. Yep, its better for everyone anyway, as I am a rotten cook. And the family is bringing dessert. I bought gifts for the children. Although even those were mostly purchased online. And so many of the adults are getting gift cards to their favorite stores.
Last weekend Dad’s mom was in the hospital. Today she is back at her home, but she is worn out.
And as I size up the dust that has gathered in every corner of my home I strive to remind myself that Baby Jesus was born in a stable, and slept in a manger. Somehow, as long as we open our hearts to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas, the miracle of the birth of the Baby Jesus, it will all be ok. Somehow.
So tonight as I took Meghan to her 6 month thyroid check up; the appointment where they monitor those pesky precancerous nodules, I was reminded yet again that it is just not ours to control. After the doctor examined her, and her neck, he asked for a tape measure. He measured “significant” growth since June in one of the right side nodules. “No point in wasting time with a sonogram, I need a tissue sample so we will schedule a biopsy.”
My heart skipped a beat.
“Where did you get that necklace Meghan?” asked the nurse.
“My Grandpa Tom gave it to me. He died this month from pancreatic cancer.”
Sometimes silence really is deafening.
“It may take a few days to get it scheduled Mrs. Ortega. You know, with the holidays…”
Yep. I know.