It’s one of those things you always hear: loss is hardest around the holidays. I can already feel the approach, weaving its way around me like a boa constrictor, ready to start tightening its grip without warning. Do I make an attempt to flee, or will any movement simply trigger it into action?
Last Thanksgiving, Scott felt good. He was on a rest day in the middle of the conditioning chemo that preceded his stem cell transplant. His neutrophils were high enough for him to be allowed off the hospital ward for a few hours. Spontaneously we went grocery shopping and then back to my little temporary flat, where I whipped up a surprisingly good facsimile of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We watched the parade online while I cooked. We Skyped with family back in the US. It was almost like a real holiday.
Last Christmas, Scott didn’t feel as well. A few days before, things had been going as planned. The transplant had taken, and his release from hospital was imminent. Days away. But then some troubling complications started creeping in, delaying his expected release date by days at first. We were still hopeful. We thought the worst was behind us. He came over to my wee flat again, the first time since Thanksgiving. I made pasta. It was nice, but he was in pain. I drove him back over to the hospital, as he wasn’t up for the short walk. Even though he was there until April, Christmas day ended up being the last time he left the hospital alive.
So, yeah, this year the holidays are going to suck. I have wonderful friends here who have invited me to join them, for which I am extremely grateful, but I’m not sure if being around people will make things better or worse. I’ve decided to start some new holiday traditions for myself: so far my new plans for marking Christmas Day include drinking too much and sobbing uncontrollably. Do I really want an audience for this?