I shy away from these kind of pronouncements because things could always get worse: I’ve learned to hedge my bets. But I can say with complete confidence that there’s no way that this year could top the last and I’ll tell you why.
Last Thanksgiving was the first we celebrated after the death of my father. It was also the first time I’d be in Austin instead of New York. I was feeling that singular holiday dread that I shoulder with varying degrees of intensity every year. No one in my immediate family shares these feelings, and I’m glad they don’t. I’m also grateful we’ve come to a point where they don’t try to talk me out of the melancholy.
We’d taken in my dad’s elderly, terminally ill cat after he died. Against my better judgement, I’d become extremely attached to Artie. As of last November he was in diapers and we knew the end was near. Artie had been living on borrowed time for months.
I’ll cut to the punchline: we had to put him down on November 21st. I wasn’t prepared for just how devastated I’d feel. I couldn’t stop weeping. I had to go in and out of the vet’s office as he was fading. I called my brother from the sidewalk. He didn’t know what to say but was very sweet.
I think I cried more over the next few days than I did after my dad’s death. A spigot has opened that I couldn’t close. I don’t drink but I had a glass of scotch. I got into a big fight with my sister.
I wanted to be alone in the apartment on Thanksgiving and I was.
My mom came to be with me after having the meal at my sister’s house.
It was so terrible I don’t remember much more than that. I still feel a lump in my chest as I write this.
In three days we’ll sit down for a meal as a family. I expect to join in and talk and feel as good as someone who doesn’t enjoy the holidays can.
Cheers to that.