It’s a remarkable Christmas Eve here on the Island: warm, sunny, calm, green.
Oliver’s full-on request for help, launched in November, met with open-hearted response from those far and wide: our pantry is full, our tree is girdled with gifts, and, well, to be honest I am simply, tearfully overwhelmed with the kindness we’ve been shown.
Catherine was home from the hospital a year ago Christmas Eve; her mother had just arrived, as a surprise, from Ontario. Our house was warm and full of life. We had no idea of what harrowing events were to come: that a week later she would move to the Palliative Care Centre and, a few weeks later, that she would be dead.
There is nothing at all to recommend having your partner die: all the “this is the worst thing that can ever happen to you” reputation it has is richly deserved. And yet grief and joy can coexist, I have found. Happiness and lament, hope and dread, loneliness and warmth, pride and shame, fear and expectation. If nothing else, these 365 days have exposed me to realms of the emotional landscape I’d heretofore never glimpsed. I miss Catherine something awful; I love my son something fierce; it’s been a hard, hard year; I am excited for tomorrow.
Merry Christmas and much love to all.