Friday, November 27, 2009


Well, we knew it would be tough, this first major holiday without Kelsey. Finding the right words for it is a challenge. I really cannot. For me personally, the actual holiday itself was not as disastrous as I worried it might have been, but only because there was the busy work. Coordinating the meal, worrying over the house with eight dogs and the dust and muck that creates, pulling out the linen and china and crystal, worrying over whether Kelsey's Diva cat would make a mess of things, all of it served to distract me from the place at the table that I wasn't setting. I imagine things were harder for Marissa and Greg. They both pitched in to help with the preparations, however, and the day pulled off as a result of family effort, in a way that we really haven't had in a while. Dealing with Greg's mom was hard, I will readily confess it. Her own grief, as from the very beginning, clashes against our own. In a way, my mother's contempt for Kelsey has made it more bearable to deal with her. She rarely speaks of her and doesn't miss her, so comforting her is not among our many tasks. Kelsey always gravitated toward my husband's family, finding a level of understanding on that side of the genetic fence that she couldn't get from Mother. Maybe Mother couldn't go there because of the lack of actual blood ties, but I tend to think it was more generational. Mother was, after all, practically old enough to be Kelsey's great-grandmother and she therefore has a more buttoned-up approach to individual frailties. Add that to her advanced dementia, and it's a wonder she remembers I lost a child at all. But, my mother-in-law is another story. She feels her granddaughter's loss like an acidic burn because they were close, and she has not had the opportunity to process it and try and come to terms with it. That is very obvious every time we have any interaction with her. So, we try to limit that interaction. Because one thing we know for sure is that we cannot act as her outlet. She needs one, on that we can agree. But, it cannot be us. I believe we can also agree on that point. Yet, we know she means well. The situation is one of those messy scenarios that likely play out in every "PT" household. Everyone grieves in their own way and those ways don't always fit together seamlessly. The holidays put a spotlight on it. Intellectually I know that, but I did find myself wondering how I was going to get through Christmas if she pushes the same buttons. Worrying about it is premature, I suppose. I need to get all the way through this one first.

As it turns out, Mother was too tired to come over. The irony of this is that we put on the traditional holiday dinner mainly for her benefit. Greg's mother would have hosted us at her apartment dining room as an alternative. Further irony is that the receptionist had called me earlier in the day to say Mother was up front waiting to be picked up. I explained we hadn't planned on picking her up that early so we wouldn't wear her out. In the end, she did not seem to be particularly upset that she missed the time with us, and I have to accept this is just the way it goes when someone is 91 with multiple health problems.

I noticed Greg was a little more edgy than normal during the UT game and Marissa was hard to read, but we all got the hours to pass and the day to end finally. I failed, however, to mentally prepare myself for the next day. Black Friday. Traditionally, this is a mellow day. It's a day to catch up on chores or errands long pushed aside. This year, the linen tablecloth clean and pressed, the china stored away, the house still relatively dog hair free, the quiet settled in once more. I am not sure why, I guess maybe because I was so intently focused on surviving the actual holiday, I had no counted on the oppression that would come with that silence. As I have mentioned before, the quiet house gets to me. I think the same was true for Greg as well. Neither of us stayed at the house for long. I fled like a perp leaving a crime scene. Greg left before me. I spent the day out, coming home having suffered through a bad movie and with blond hair.

Now, it's Saturday. I have TNT on a little too loud. I have laundry waiting and poo to scoop in the yard. I cannot continue to flee the scene, but listening to Kyra Sedgwick's thick false Southern accent does not cover up the quiet in the background, and the yawning void it represents. I find that I am becoming impatient with myself and my frail state. I want to take control of myself again and enjoy time alone again (well, surrounded by a pack of dogs and an ill-tempered cat), but I can barely hear myself think with this stupid show on. So, I think I'll leave.

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