Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I lost my mind a little bit last night.

Possibly, I lost my mind a LOT last night.

I'm not sure where to begin. This might be a lot of disjointed nonsense. I don't know.

Yesterday was our firm Christmas luncheon.

Our original plan for a firm Christmas party was much better - we were going to do something we'd never done before, namely, go out to see a movie together.

In years past, we often went to J~'s favorite restaurant for our Christmas lunch, because he was completely enamoured of their shrimp cocktail.

I thought that the plan to go see a movie was a good one - make a new tradition, do something unusual - do something that would not remind any of us of J~.

Our plan was foiled by the fact that the movie we had chosen isn't playing in our city until next month. (Thanks so much R*A*V*E *C*I*N*M*E*M*A*S and the stranglehold you have on my city. I so appreciate your monopoly and the way you insist on dictating what 5 or 6 movies you are going to play on the area's 50+ screens. I love you. NOT.)

So, it was decided that we would hold off on our movie outing and order in lunch for our Christmas luncheon.

As we did last year.

As we did last year because J~'s neuropathy from the chemotherapy made walking through the cold torture for him.

And last year, on the morning of our Christmas party, I had to take J~ to the ER (a story that deserves its own post), and in the ER, the realization that J~ wasn't going to beat the cancer hit me for the first time.

Yesterday morning I put on my fuzzy snowman sweater and jeans.

Yesterday afternoon I realized that I had worn that same snowman sweater on the day of last year's Christmas lunch, and I had worn it to the ER that morning with J~.

I didn't make that connection until about 4:00 in the afternoon.

Hours after the Christmas luncheon, I sat in my office in my snowman sweater and fought back the overwhelming urge to vomit, because I swear that, in the moment - as I realized that the sweater I was wearing was the same one I wore last year on that horrible morning - I could smell the ER in the sweater.

Which is ridiculous - the sweater had been washed and fabric-softened and there was no way it was still smelling of the fear and anger and frustration and rubbing alcohol and hospital cafeteria stench of the ER.

But at 4:00 yesterday afternoon, I probably would have sworn on J~'s grave that the sweater reeked of the hospital and I couldn't stand to have it next to my skin.

From 4:00 to 5:15 I worked maniacally, throwing myself into tasks that didn't take a lot of intellectual effort.

At 5:15 I drove home, avoiding thinking about that morning in the ER, fighting back tears.

When I walked in my house I discovered that my son's "State Project" - a project that his teacher had indicated would be completed at school - was due. This morning. And it was 90% not finished.

As I realized that my meager plans for the evening - dinner, walk on the treadmill, straighten the house, maybe watch Modern Family - were shot to hell by the necessity of making a huge project about New Mexico. The idea of staying up late, gluing and pasting and cajoling my son to just get the damn thing done - it was just too much to bear.

My head cracked open and a whole bunch of crazy spilled out.

I screamed. I cried. I hissed profanities about the teacher and the State of New Mexico.

I screeched at my son.

And then I tried to leave my house. I don't know where I thought I would go. (In my haste to rid my body of the stupid snowman sweater I was in purple sweatpants and a red t-shirt. I looked ridiculous.)

So, I just sat and cried for a while.

Which is not helpful, at all, in getting a project finished.

In the end, the project got done. Lana and I went to the grocery store. I walked on the treadmill.

Husband and Gabe did the whole project by themselves.

The kids were in bed by 10, only 1 hour late.

I sat in the tub with a glass of sweet red wine and re-lived that morning in the ER of one year ago.

I cried some more and felt like a total failure at pretty much everything.

I really thought I was starting to feel better. I really felt that the grief no longer had me in a stranglehold.

Last night the grief brought me to my knees and ripped me into tiny little pieces.

I'm not entirely sure how to put myself back together again.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

And we will ride until the sun, goes to the place where it begun

We were driving through Detroit the other day, and a song came on the radio that slammed into my brain and demanded that I pay attention.

It took me a while to figure out what the song was.

But I found it, and it's amazing, and you should listen.

Michael Franti and Spearhead, Hey Hey Hey from their Album The Sound of Sunshine.

(I would prefer to link to the artist's own Youtube page for this page, but for some reason it is blocked in the US. I didn't make this video, and, as always, I support paying artists for their work, and I have purchased a legitimate copy of the song from

EDITED: I found a link to the artist's official page for the video: Michael Franti and Spearhead Official Hey Hey Hey Video

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