Thursday, December 26, 2013

had ourselves a merry little Christmas

Ben and I did everything we could think of to guarantee ourselves a happy day yesterday, and, you know, it worked out okay.  Ben's work life is so hellish and awful right now that the last thing I want to do is make his home life unhappy, as well.  So we put up the tree and decorated the house and wrapped presents to be placed under the tree.  Our house looked like a happy holiday home, anyway.

Yesterday morning, we lit the tree and the wonderful old Santa Claus we found at an antique shop years ago.  Ben put on the Christmas CDs we listened to every year as we opened our presents.  And we opened our presents.  Just the two of us.  Well, and Rufus and Katie, of course.  They were the absolute highlight of that event.  I had shopped carefully for gifts for each of them, which I desperately hoped they would like.  And they did!  Rufus was the first to sniff out the fact that there were doggie presents under the tree, and he pulled out Katie's to unwrap for himself.  We quickly gave him his own present, and Katie hers.  They made short work of ripping off the wrapping paper, then they actually played with their toys!  I was thrilled.  Ben and I just sat and watched them and laughed.  The money I spent on the dogs' gifts was well-spent.  It made us happy. 

We had decided to have lasagna for our Christmas dinner, which was what I made through the years that the kids were growing up.  Amazingly, everyone liked that.  It's a lot of work, though, and especially for two people.  So this year, for the first time, we tried the Stouffer's frozen lasagna.  And, you know, it was pretty good.  And the clean-up was great.  Perhaps the start of a new tradition.

There was a dearth of Christmas movies on t.v. (like none) so I put on the copy of White Christmas that I got for Christmas last year and searched out an old jigsaw puzzle from the big box in the basement. I have had this puzzle literally as long as I can remember.  It belonged to my parents, of course, when I was a child.  Its snowy winter scene seemed perfect for a quiet Christmas afternoon.  Ben put in a few pieces, but puzzles have always been my pleasure, and working this one from my childhood while watching that old movie seemed just right, calming somehow.

Julie called us and Ben called his parents, and, mercifully, the day was short, as they are this time of year.  With a little effort on both our parts, Ben and I got through another Christmas.  May next year be a happier one. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

annus horribilis

Taken all in all, it had been not a bad year. Not a great year, but not a bad year. You know, “Strikes and gutters, ups and downs” as the Dude so succinctly put it. I thought turning 60 was going to be okay. I was wrong. In a day, in an afternoon, in an instant, my life went so horribly, heartbreakingly wrong that nothing can ever set it right again.

Neil Young said only love can break your heart, and I’ve always known that was true. My heart has broken over the years. My dogs have died. People have left me. Sometimes it’s been my fault, sometimes, it’s been theirs. Not that placing blame matters all that much. The pain is the same.

The worst of it this time is that I can’t share it with anyone. Oh, a few people know, of course. That was unavoidable. But I can’t imagine ever sharing this heartbreak, so I’m not sure I can ever get over it. I only know I have to try. To that end, I have decided to give myself until the end of this year, my "annus horribilis" as Queen Elizabeth termed it some years ago, to mourn my loss. Then it will all be in my rear view mirror. That’s the plan, anyway.