Friends gathering for a holiday feast arrived at my home with delectable dishes and a huge bouquet of roses. Roses in winter. Who’s getting married? I said upon seeing so much pink, although I was immediately drawn to it.
There was no Christmas tree in the house, again, this year. No Hanukah decorations. I hadn’t even bothered to light candles. At the last minute, realizing how dark the place was, I’d turned on extra lights all around. But the roses outshone even the fake fireplace. And now, days later, I’m still getting lost just gazing into the depths of those bright blossoms.
What brightens the holiday season for you?
As the sun bowed down to the longest night of the year, the Snow Queen challenged her guests to set intentions for the beginning of winter. Mine was to play more. To party. To dance. To carry on with wild abandon like my daughter did, the daughter who died.
The Snow Queen pretended to throw snowballs at me. Just to get me started.
What are your intentions for this season?
“I’m bringing over my leftover bottle of Vouvray. Also, can I pick up some chicken thighs for us to do up? They’re supposed to be healthy for you so I’ll be wanting to learn how to make magnificent thighs.”
That’s what I thought I had texted to the girlfriend I often have dinner with. Only, somehow I ended up sending the text to my carpenter (who knows us both), (who’s young and married) instead. He texted back, “Sounds good! Hehe.” Then, for the first time in years, I laughed ferociously.
The sound reminded me of my dead mother’s laugh. A hysterical high shriek that blasted out in between gasps for breath. My friend thought I was crying. And later I did cry, feeling guilty about feeling good, and missing my mother and my daughter and the days when laughing was simply a part of living.
I’m learning to laugh again. It will take some practice.
What’s out there to laugh about?
When I pulled back the curtains to see the sun rise, I thought the panes of my French door were spectacularly frosted over. Until I realized the glass was completely shattered. I have friends like that who have been through so much you kinda wonder how they can still stand without crumbling. Broken but still beautiful.
The Skinny Winnie Fireplace/Heater that I gifted myself for Thanksgiving, arrived with a big scratch on its painted front. Its mantel-top became unglued and fell off in the process of my trying to remove the unit from the packaging. And then, there was a slight problem getting it to stand upright. But once it got unpacked, there was no way the fireplace was going to be sent back. Even scraped, unglued, and off-kilter. I was hell-bent on having the thing installed and running before Turkey Day. Sensing my determination, a devoted friend came over to help put it in place.
My Thanksgiving is not supposed to be a food-frenzy this year. Invited to another devoted friend’s Thanksgiving dinner, I am simply going to cook a tiny turkey breast for myself, and maybe a sweet potato dish, so I can have traditional leftovers for the weekend. The fake fireplace is to distract me with comforts other than food at this difficult time of the year, the time when some of us who have suffered great losses question what we really need, what we want, and what we have to be grateful for.
So my dog and I are basking in light and warmth. At this moment, I’m feeling very blessed. And I’m wishing everyone lots of light and warmth, and devoted friends.
What’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?