This year I have not been much in the Christmas 'spirit'. I was excited to put our tree up for the first time in our new house and I love it. I love the glimmer of the tree, I love the bright lights along the eaves of the house whenever I pull into the driveway after dark. I love hot mochas with Kevin and Christmas cookies and watching the cats play and sleep under the tree. I love watching 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'A Christmas Story' and in a way trying to recapture (or capture for once) a different, happier feeling that Christmas is supposed to evoke. I'm pretty sure after 26 Christmases that the feeling of the Christmas spirit, of joy and magic in the air isn't so real as I hope - just make believe. I guess it's just made up by adults to make the very youngest of children feel like there is something wonderful about life and something to look forward to - cuz us grown ups are looking for it, too. Reality and the truth about false expectations sets in and we realize Christmas is just another man made holiday like the rest and just an excuse to buy things and eat more sweets than usual.
This Christmas Eve, my cousin Mike passed away. He had cancer and was fighting it hard for a couple of years. He leaves behind two wonderful young children and many, many friends and colleagues.
He is missed and will be missed as time passes and the truth of this reality sets in: he's not there anymore if I want to text him or have him over for dinner. I won't be at his house anymore drinking boxed wine and laughing about something trivial or talking about his next art show.
I feel angry and sad and shocked and uncertain. I am not sure what I feel or how to feel but I am pretty sure I have a conglomeration of feelings and conflictions going on all at once.
A pretty sad thing to dwell on at Christmas. We're supposed, I guess, to think about family and love and Jesus and lots of good food and company. It's next to impossible to do that when life's razor-sharp ability to sorely disappoint our expectations kicks us in the butt when we let our guard down just a little and dare to hope just a little.
Today Kevin and I are having turkey and mashed potatoes and peas for lunch and I'm drinking some Chardonnay. There's something ironically happy about the Christmas music playing in the background and the cats playing with each other. The lights are still on, the music still plays, and people still talk and live with one another. It just helps you appreciate a little more, I suppose, those people that you care about while they are here for you to talk to and see with your own eyes.