Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving. And the seasonal depression has begun.

I'm alone today on Thanksgiving, for the very first time in my entire fifty-four years. One child lives half a continent away and isn't coming "home," and the other and her entire clan accepted an invitation from her father and his wife to go there. He's never before made this invitation to host her, her partner and the grandbabies at his place and evidently felt snubbed that she has always spent Thanksgiving with me all these years. So I kept quiet, and let everyone else assume I was doing Thanksgiving with my family as usual and so no invitations to join another family or group of "orphans" were extended to me. Of course, my own mother invited me to her home, but having gone there only one time since I left home at eighteen -- on the heels of divorce, with small children in tow -- hers is really only a "ceremonial" invitation; she knows I won't actually accept.

And I must admit, I am sad today. But I'll take the dog for a long work, rehearse and work in the studio today. And eat just what I would normally, alone, this evening.

I went to Target yesterday for what I hope will be the very last time until after Christmas to get it out of the way because of the Christmas music that will now start playing there. I cannot listen to Christmas carols or songs on Muzak or on the radio. I have to avoid any environment where they will be playing. My heart hurts me, a lump rises in my throat and tears flood my eyes. It all goes back to my father's death in October when I was eight, and the Christmas following. I cannot "have myself a merry little Christmas." The holiday season is incredibly hard for me and I'm sad, usually, from Thanksgiving right through New Year's Day. Without small children of my own to make the holiday bright for as I did all those years, my true feelings surface. My heart hurts, literally. It's a time for me, always, of reflection and regret and longing. It's a time to wonder what might have been if the course of my own life had not been forever altered that fall long ago. The feeling I have is roughly equivalent to most people's emotional reaction to the ending of the movie The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. So I have to protect myself during the holiday season.

And then, the dreams start.

It's especially excruciating this year because of what my life was like at this time one year ago. I was madly in love, had just returned from my lover in Italy, and was preparing to return to him there for my birthday, Christmas and New Year's -- to live a fairy tale. I was buying him a million little gifts and wrapping them. He confessed he loved to sing Christmas carols around the house when no one was there, so I had even burned half a dozen Christmas music CD's for us to sing together while I was there. And I was able to tolerate the Christmas music, even enjoy it, because it was for HIM. My love for him enabled me to transcend the loss and sadness the music had always before triggered. My love for him inspired a desire for Christmas in me I hadn't felt in my heart since 1962. It had been too difficult. The hurt had been too great.

And here I am, one year later. Alone.

Last night I dreamed of him for the first time in many months. In my dream, I confronted him about how very much he had hurt me and confessed about the Christmas music CD's -- about how uncharacteristic an action that had been for me, how untrue to my own natural preferences, but how joyful a gift it had been for me to make them for him because I loved him so and wanted to please him. I told him he had no idea how much our love affair -- or how it ended, really -- has harmed me emotionally. I asked him if he has ever cried over me, as I have cried over him. He nodded his head vigorously up and down in a funny, childish gesture he sometimes makes. I told him since the ending of our affair early this year I've been all over the place psychically -- but the positive outcome has been that I have thrown myself into all kinds of experiences and creative activity as if chased by the devil. And then I lay face down on my bed, where my dream confrontation was set, and wept. He made no attempt to console me, and I woke myself up. Too painful.

Have yourself a happy little Thanksgiving and treasure those with whom you'll spend this day. Do not take it for granted. Even if you've been up cooking since 5:00 a.m. this morning, it's worth it. And say a little prayer for those who are all alone today, whether of their own devising, the twists of their own fates or by necessity. We were all born alone, and we will die alone. Some of us just start practicing early.

...and I miss you most of all, my darling, when Autumn leaves start to fall.

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