In the back of my mind, as I navigate the waters of grief and the immense amount of things this calendar year has held, I’ve had the pressing reminder that I need to begin working on our holiday cards. The truth is that I really love writing out these cards to send to loved ones. I especially love receiving them. (then again, I’m a sucker for any form of mail that is neither bill nor junk) Anything that nods at connection will likely be a favorite for me.
Even so, I’ve been dragging my feet…
In most years past, I’ve had my gift shopping, decorating, and cards done by the last weekend of November. This is not true this year.
My tree sits illuminated and decorated, while everything else lives in shambles. Autumn prints framed on our ledges, the super-soft pumpkin throw pillow tossed on the sofa. The tubs of Christmas decorations sit cold, just inside our sunroom. Untouched.
It is like our home represents the hodge-podge in-between state my heart has been dragging for weeks now. If I were to say these words aloud, so many would reassure me that grief looks like this–and I get it. I work with clients navigating grief and trauma, I really do understand. This might feel a little like that, but it’s different too.
Something other than the loss of my mom. Something bigger than the impending loss of my only other close relative. Something other…
Finally today, amidst an annoying customer service call due to an overbilling, I sat down to write out our holiday card list. Thumbing through the address book I haven’t opened in a few months, I began to see it there–
The accumulative reasons for this state of purgatory I’m suspended in–beyond the continuing pandemic:
There are nine people on our fairly small card list, who I won’t be mailing cards to.
Nine people whose names to erase in my address book.
Nine people I wrote to, this time last year, oblivious of the fact that would be the last. The cursor of our relationship blinking, blinking, and then gone.
Nine gone, and the number seems incomprehensible.
And that’s just it–maybe I simply haven’t caught up with the gravity of it all yet. When I realize, of those left on the list, how many have also lost people, buried pets, lost jobs… We may be the ones left, but this list of card recipients is stitched together of the damage left from this brutal year. I’m finding myself quite unprepared for the words to fill cards of happy wishes and joy-filled thoughts when we the wounded– the left behind– haven’t quite gotten it figured out yet…