Transition. I am in transition. For over a decade prior to 2017 my holidays were spent with my in-laws. Nice people, but we have never become close. By the time I entered their world, they had their traditions and daily lives, and I was not a part of them. I always felt like I had entered someone else’s high school reunion; I rarely knew the verbal shorthand or got the inside joke. I was an in-law, or as they called me, an out-law. That phrase. meant as a joke. hurt more than they or Ken ever knew.
Once Ken died, it became apparent how little (other than Ken) we had in common. No animosity, no anger, just not much there. Of the family group of about twenty, one person has become close and more important than I could imagine. I am so lucky she is in my life.
This year, starting at Thanksgiving, many people are asking me to join their celebrations. I have been grateful for each invitation, but have declined. Part of me feels like a newly orphaned person. And yet I am comfortable being alone. I was alone until I married Ken in my very late thirties. Part of me does not feel very merry and bright, and I wish to avoid raining on their holiday parade. I don’t want them to take care of me just now.
What do I want? Quiet. After spending the last six months of 2017 not talking about how sick Ken was, and shielding him from unwanted remarks and attention, I spent the last eleven months of 2018 doing what I felt necessary. Unlike many couples Ken and I lived and worked together Often I had to face how very intertwined our lives had become. Sometimes it felt like carefully combing out long, tangled hair. Other times it felt like quick and decisive action was required – like putting out fires. Just now it feels like unraveling a weaving or knitting project to reweave it into my current and maybe even my future life.
I have told people near me I feel like I am entering a dark and quiet place. Let me modify that. I feel like I am sitting by moving water – sometimes a river and other times the ocean of my childhood with the ebb and flow of tides with sunrises and sunsets and moon rising and setting. It feels very strong, quiet, constant and flowing. It feels good. I gain strength as I consider what next.
So, although I am not always merry and bright, I am fine. Celebrate with me what we have had, what we have, and what we shall create. Light the darkness and be kind. Happy Holidays to you and yours.