We definitely live in an era of instant gratification and I have such wonderful friends.
The time between Thanksgiving and the anniversary of David's death, a period which takes in 2 holidays, four birthdays and two death dates is always kind of an emotional roller coaster for me. It has been 17 years since our son David died (14 since his brother Paul died) and, not surprisingly, it's so much better than it was in 1996, but as I have learned, you never "get over" a death, it just becomes part of the new person you now are. The pain is significntly less, but it's like a scar that you may not look at every day, but are aware of when you happen to think of it.
In fact, I've really pretty much stopped thinking of this as an emotional period, but invariably there will come a day or two or three when I'm just blindsided, gobsmacked, and hit upside the head for no particular reason at all. Just all of a sudden, I realize that I have taken a plunge into the emotional depths. I've been at this long enough now to know that the plunge won't last long and that probably before anybody notices, I'll be fine again.
I had one of those plunges this morning. I was sitting here getting postcards ready to send out for a SwapBot postcard swap, cleaning off my desk a bit, writing in the "Who Am I?" journal that needs to be sent to my Swap Bot partner next week and all of a sudden that familiar rocks-in-the-stomach feeling hit me again.
It's the kind of feeling where you have to get up and walk around, do whatever you do to treat it (something bad to eat, if you have it--I didn't, so it was worse).
My plan for the day had been to go have lunch with my mother and before I left, I put a message on Facebook.
Down in the doldrums. Don't know why. Just the usual holiday funk, I guess. Must go find some holly for my heart. (Don't think I'm going to find it at Atria)
"Holly in my heart" has been my watchword for the Christmas spirit ever since I heard Cary Grant say it to Deborah Kerr in Affair to Remember, as he explains why he gave one of his paintings to a crippled girl. It's the sentence that starts what turns out to be the sappy, happy, tear-jerking ending.
In truth, the last thing I really wanted to do was to go to Atria to have lunch with my mother. Just what I didn't need on "doldrums day" was a visit to Assisted Living, and a reminder that my mother can't remember her great grandchildren's names and that she has lost her zest for life and only wants to sit in her apartment. I was not looking forward to the daily "I'm old, Bev. Do you think I'm going to live to a 'hunnert'..." discussion today, but I had told her I would have lunch with her and, even knowing she wouldn't remember that at all, I felt the need to stick with the schedule.
God must have had some holly for my heart in mind today because it was the first day that there was no parking. None. Zilch. Nada. None in the Atria lot, and none on the street for two blocks in either direction. I finally pulled out my cell phone, called her, and told her I'd come for lunch tomorrow.
With my lunch hour now free, I decided to drive downtown to run a quick errand and I plugged in my iPhone to continue listening to my book. I had tried doing that yesterday, but the battery was dead. Now it had a full battery and I listened to the book, got my errand done quickly (thank you, Gilbert [my parking angel] for giving me a spot in front of the door to the book store) and then decided to have lunch somewhere.
Nothing in town appealed to me and if I drove to the far end of town, and across the freeway, I would have lots of book listening time. So I headed off to McDonald's for my usual $3 lunch (plain cheeseburger small fries and, today, a diet Coke because we had run out of bottles of water in the car).
I parked in the McDonald's lot and listened to the book while I ate, then headed home. I could feel that the brief doldrums slide was already lifting.
As I pulled into the carport, there was a big box sitting outside the front door.
In it were several stalks of beautiful English holly, covered with plump bright red berries.
I didn't need to come to Facebook and find the message to know that it could only have been left by one person, Evelyn, who has been so amazingly kind and thoughtful to me over the years.
I came into the house and put the holly in a big vase and stuck it on the window sill of the kitchen, where I can look at it while I'm working.
The doldrums are gone and, for today at least, there really is "holly in my heart" as well as holly in my kitchen.