It’s Christmas eve, and as of the morning my calendar for today and tomorrow was completely blank. This did not perturb me. I have intentionally, deliberately ignored everything about the holiday season this year, first as Marian was getting sicker and neither she nor I wanted any celebration; and of course after she died I did not want to go through any empty motions.
In an academic sort of way I thought it might seem sad to have nothing to do Christmas day, not so much because I desired company, but because if someone asked me later in the week, “What did you do on Christmas?” I would have to say (no doubt in an Eeyore-like monotone) “Ohhh, nuthinnn.” Which would be embarrassing, and would provoke entirely unwanted sympathy from the questioner. Or maybe I could lie, invent dinner with a relative the questioner doesn’t know.
I went for my customary run, which felt fine. During it, I got a text from my friend Suzanne, very graciously inviting me to share supper with them on Christmas day! I replied with a grateful acceptance, and now I have something on the calendar for tomorrow.
I texted back asking what I could bring, and Suzanne suggested “flowers for the table”. Sure, I thought, no problem… oh, wait. It’s Christmas bloody Eve and I have no idea where to get a flower arrangement, OMG OMG OMG what’ll I do? Yelp to the rescue; there are at least four florists within a mile radius. I walked into the nearest and the proprietor, a very pleasant woman, said, “Well, there’s this one I’m just working on,” and showed me a nice arrangement of red candles and red roses in pine branches (not botanically convincing, but a good color match). So I stood by and commented as she finished it with lots of sprigs of tiny white blossoms, so it ends up a bit like miniature fireworks. So that’s set.
Cushions and Varnish
After that I finished putting Leather CPR goop on all the green cushions for the second and last time, and put yet another goddam coat of urethane varnish on the little tables, because there were two little screw-ups in the previous coat that I couldn’t stop seeing.
Back in 2014 when I was an original backer of Soylent, my first order of Soylent came with a pretty Takeya pitcher for mixing a day’s nutrition. Last week, the plastic top ring split, so I ordered a replacement from Amazon. According to Amazon it was delivered to my porch Saturday at 5:30pm. That would be 15 minutes after I left the house to get supper and go to a movie. It wasn’t there, and didn’t show Sunday; then today when I got back from my run, on the porch was the empty box. It had been crudely ripped open, and inside was only the little air pillows for packing. Inside my mail slot was a business card of a Palo Alto police officer, with the note, “Inform Amazon your package was stolen, if that was the case.” I assume the officer had found the emptied package somewhere and brought it around to my house.
Well, you know, Amazon offers no way to tell it, “My package was stolen.” You can return a shipment if the goods or the package are damaged. I started down that path but realized, how could I return an empty box? It would just confuse things. Back to the “where’s my stuff” link: nope; Amazon doesn’t give you any way to say, my package was stolen, please send another. At least, that I could find. It was only $18, I just ordered one.
Pathways Home Health, the company that provided home care for Marian after her operation, and again during her Hospice period, send me a brochure on Grief Support. Based on this I think I’m getting off pretty lightly:
As we grieve during and after the death of a loved one, we may feel numbness or anxiety, shock or fear, nausea or exhaustion. Confusion, denial, or disorientation are also common. … You may feel flooded with sadness, guilt, or a sense of being in a fog.
OK, I’ve recorded anxiety a couple of times, although not the last few days. Surges of sadness, definitely; although the strongest of these are associated, as I’ve written, with the loss of a lifestyle or life-pattern, rather than the loss of a person. When I think of Marian I feel pity and regret. But the sadness of bereavement is different, comes at different times and from different triggers. (I still can’t bring myself to take down that list of entrées from the bulletin board; and there is a whole closet I am carefully avoiding.)
Anyway they offer a “Partner Loss” group session on Tuesdays, resuming January 7th. I will think about this; maybe I’ll attend one.