Last year at this time my husband was in the last stages of cancer, just two weeks from death. He was so ill he didn't know what day or month it was. He hadn't been expected to live that long, but his heart was young and strong, and it kept beating far beyond what the doctors had predicted.
All year I have dreaded this season. Normal days are bad enough. Special occasions are worse. Our Thanksgiving falls in October, and that was a hard, hard time - harder than I thought it would be, given that the previous Thanksgiving was a time when my husband was in treatment and was able to enjoy our usual special meal. Maybe that's precisely what made it hard this year. I don't know. All I really know is that I was laid low by memories and tough emotions for several weeks before and after that holiday.
Then for a couple of weeks, I felt enormously better, and thought to myself, maybe that was the peak period of grief for me.
Then all the feelings came roaring back in November and have been with me ever since. I thought I'd be okay with a very scaled-back Christmas, and actually did most of my gift shopping early. I'd always done that alone anyway, as my husband was generally tied up with work.
But I've had feet of lead the last week. When I thought about wrapping gifts or decorating a tree, I couldn't do it. I had planned to bake as part of some gifts, but felt physically exhausted. Extra sleep didn't help.
Last night, I forced myself to dig out the gift wrap and start, one gift at a time, to get the wrapping done. It was literally a process of telling myself each next step to do and willing my hands to do it. I cried more than once during the process.
And the baking isn't going to happen. I'm realizing I'm just not going to find the strength to do it. Instead, I'll be buying whatever I give.
I would like to bake. I would like to decorate the tree. I would like to enjoy the food. I would have liked to do some crafts for the season.
How is it that our bodies know better than our minds how we are truly feeling?