During Advent, every tap of the play button on my ipod assaulted me with someone’s version of “Blue Christmas.” So perhaps I shouldn’t have had 5 or 6 different versions on my ipod. There’s Elivs, Wynnona, She and Him, Michael Buble’—well I don’t remember the others. Doesn’t matter because it was a constant parade. Despite the fact that Adam usually sends me songs, this didn’t have his hallmark. It was a random, machine-based luck of the draw. I resented it, especially when I neglected to press “shuffle” and all of them played in tandem.
I should have paid attention because it was a very blue Christmas. A dark and inky indigo. Was looking forward to not hosting for the first time in a long time. Was looking forward to spending the holiday with my in-laws, and the day itself at my sister’s new house. But as gifts were passed around Christmas morning, I went from sky blue to teal to indigo to navy, to midnight. Tears. Could’t stop. Not wracking grief, but incessant, irrepressible, annoying leakage that embarrassed me and rendered me useless.
Last year I hosted, despite having just lost Adam, and I pushed through the fortnight with a combination of adrenaline and the lingering numbness of loss. I had none of that this year. I was left to myself, a confirmed mess.
For whatever reason I couldn’t wait to bug out to the refuge of my in-laws’ house. It just seemed that they would understand better when I turned up a mess. Even better—they were napping when we arrived and I was able to sneak off to my room and weep in privacy.
A friend of theirs who is dear to me was coming for cocktail hour, giving me a reason to get out of bed and pull myself together. The rest of the evening was magical and enjoyable, a 180-degree relief.
My story is, I suppose, an illustration for you should you think it’s time to be “over it,” and you’re far from “over it” (which you will never be, I must remind you). I didn’t expect to be laid low. I did so well last year. Just goes to show that maybe Dr. Phil is wrong as his philosophy pertains to grief: the best predictor of future behavior is, among grievers, perhaps not past behavior.