I’m beginning to like Dr. Goodenough.
He wants to keep me close while we’re getting to know each other, meaning he wants to see me monthly until we both feel comfortable going longer in between visits. He also doesn’t want to mess with my meds, thank God. They work just fine, and he’s going to leave me on them for the foreseeable future. He’s even going to prescribe me Klonopin, which all but one of my previous providers wouldn’t, even though I took myself off of it and only use it in extreme circumstances (like when I’m sitting on the tarmac waiting for my plane to take off. LOL.)
I saw him for a med check Wednesday, and instead we spent most of the session talking about my feelings regarding the upcoming holidays. I’m having a difficult time—in fact, I’m dreading them—because they’ll be the first ones without Will. I’ve been missing him a LOT lately; the joy I used to experience during the Christmas season is nonexistent this year, and frankly it just seems to amplify the grief.
As you all know, I’m quite self-aware, and I realize this is all completely normal for someone in my position. I know where bipolar ends and I begin. Doesn’t make it any easier though. Tears are never far from the surface nowadays, and I spend a great deal of energy controlling them when I’m around people. I don’t want to burden others with my sorrow; they all have their own to deal with. The only folks who really understand my pain are other widows, some of whom have adopted me at church and we always chat after Mass, which gives me something to look forward to each week.
I’m not depressed; I still find magic in the old Charlie Brown and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cartoons of my childhood, and I’m particularly grateful for my family, who makes me feel warm and safe and cared for. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them…probably six feet under, or scattered to the four winds.
But I miss my husband. And I miss our old holiday traditions: Decking the halls the day after Thanksgiving, which actually took the entire four-day weekend to accomplish. Draping lights over everything that would stand still (and having my annual conniption over the electric bill in January). Going out with the kids to look at other Christmas displays around town. Attending the Family Mass and then going home to open one gift on Christmas Eve. We also watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on that night and drank cocoa by the fireplace. What’s not to miss?
At least I have a command performance at church on Christmas morning. I’ve been assigned to read Scripture from the lectionary on that day (even though I didn’t ask for it), so I HAVE to go. This will prevent me from sitting around all day feeling sorry for myself. There will also be a Christmas dinner prepared by loving hands. It’s not all bad.
Still, as we head into the thick of the holiday season, I look wistfully at the past, which wasn’t so long ago, and reminisce about the way Will and I used to “do” Christmas and New Year’s. How were we to know it would all come to an end before any of us were ready?