It’s at miracle, at least it is to me, that I made it through Christmas without a meltdown. I had a small pity party on Christmas Eve and wept and felt sorry for myself for a while. I called Frances (my 81 year old friend who has open house every Christmas) and told her I wouldn’t be able to come. I lied to her and said I wasn’t up to it. The truth is that, since I talked to her last, Cuz decided to come for the weekend and Deidra said she and Taylor wanted to come by on their way to Seminole, their plantation in South Georgia. I wanted time with my wonderful friends more than an opportunity to stand around with Old Macon’s Finest, eating cheese straws and drinking.
Thinking about it - and I have a way of over-thinking things - I believe it was as easy as it was because Christmas was never a big deal to Clint. He just let it happen all around him and was relieved when it was all over. Had he been one of those men who dress up as Santa and make happy, I would have had a much harder time. But if he had been one of those men, I would never have married him.
Cuz came to spend the weekend. His son and daughter-in-law had fiddled around with their plans and kept him completely confused about what was what, so he was depressed and feeling unloved so I invited him to come see me. It was a perfect solution for both of us. We both loved Clint, and we told stories about him and laughed at some of his antics over the years.
Deidra and Taylor came around 1 PM and they stayed for a good visit. She’s another person who loved Poppy deeply, and being with her and Taylor and Cuz all at once was exhilarating for me. It’s the closest thing to real happiness I have felt since 6:33 PM on June 8.
The family filed in about 4:30, full and tired from all their other activities of the day. The twins, Abbey and Drew, now 20 months old, were afraid of the dogs so there was some screeching and whining until they got used to the animals and started wanting to pet them. I fed everyone some snacks and dessert, and we visited, moving in shifts out to the deck for the smokers to get their nicotine charges, then back inside to graze or sit and stare at the fire. With the young adults here, there was a great deal of prattle that made me want to start hitting them, so I just wandered away from it and checked to see how Abbey was coming along in her effort to remove all the photos from my refrigerator. One of her parents caught her, so she didn’t get far, but she did well in the little time she had. It didn’t care. What else would a small person do when faced with all that shit at eye level?
Gretchen tried to call, but guess we just didn’t hear the phone. I had put together a playlist of happy Christmas songs and it was filtering in through every speaker in the house, including the ones on the deck. The more insulation, the better.
I thought of Clint at intervals all day and didn’t cry until I got into bed. I’m a little weepy right now, but it’s doable. I feel as though I have achieved a sort of personal victory that no one will ever understand. The depth of it gives me hope.
When I finally talked to Gretchen, it was Saturday night, and she was agitated and confused, had precipitously stopped her Lexapro 5 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS and was all over the map. I was afraid she was on the verge of some sort of psychotic break, so I begged her to go to hospital but she didn’t and when I spoke to her yesterday, she was still antsy but could string together a whole sentence.
It was after that when Cuz ate a chocolate covered cherry and choked on the cherry. He got up and ran into the kitchen and I followed him and did the Heimlich maneuver. He’s a lot bigger than I am, and it took 5 tries but it popped out. Little pieces of it actually popped out of his nose. It just occurred to me this minute that I actually saved his life.