Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Wrapped in grief is the gift of joy.
– Nell Tomassen Reboh

My sister-in-law, C., and her brother came over for Christmas brunch, and card games, and Dance Dance Revolution. We even opened a few presents. C.’s brother, who lives in Japan, gave to me a stacking bento box with glittery butterflies on it. I adore it.

It makes me feel orderly and thin and hygienic — as if I live in a tiny, tiny wood-floored apartment with metal and plastic furniture, and have canned goods organized alphabetically and by category in my spotless pantry.

I thanked him very much for the gift. He goes back to Tokyo Jan. 8th. I wanted him to take me back with him.

I think it was the sadness peeking from behind every corner. So far, I’ve been fairly good about accepting that loss is a process, and I have to let feelings come and go.

But today, I’m feeling like “I’m done” — I’m done with trying to smile through the holidays, I’m done with “staying strong” and “sitting in sadness,” I’m done with living with “integrity” and “facing my feelings”… I’m just plain done.

I need a vacation from myself.

Christmas was as perfect as it could have been: we laughed, we cried; we looked at old pictures, and thought about the future; we honored my brother’s memory and we embraced life la de dah dah.

And yet — as sentimental and “healing” as it all was, I can’t help but go to bed tonight with a kiss’s worth of bitterness in my heart.

— this whole honoring-honesty-openness thing? Is exhausting. And I feel weak, and tired, and small.

* * *

For Christmas dinner we were on our own. My mom — the master natural chef — cooked quinoa, peas, and kale. Then we let the dogs in. Then we watched “Elf.” Then I kissed forehead’s goodnight, and grabbed my cat.

And now I’m sitting at my desk, Christmas sinking away, trying to remember that I’m still unwrapping my gift.

§407 · December 25, 2007 · Unthinkable Loss · · [Print]

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