You could fill a whole dinner table up with everyone in my family that’s died. Four great-grandparents that I never met, three grandparents that I did (plus my dad’s dad, who I didn’t), my parents, my only sibling, an aunt, a couple of dogs, and at least one cat.

For some reason this morning, New Year’s Eve, driving back from dropping Barry off at work and just about to pass over the University Bridge, it struck me that they were all there with me — that’s so uncomfortable to type — in some form at least. Memories, ghosts; both?

I can’t quite get it all the way sorted, but I got this overwhelmingly positive feeling that I wasn’t alone. Quite a contrast to Christmas Eve, when the mere idea of a possible thought about my parents turned me into a pile of sobbing, hopeless toddler on my husband’s lap.


And some years the holidays show up and it’s suddenly like you’re buckled in to the Grief Express™ and trying to Handle Regular Things like you did yesterday is impossible, and everything feels less like a Saturday and more like trying to clean up a overflowing bag of garbage that just makes more and more of a mess as you try to deal with it.

If this is happening to you, it’s okay, and more importantly, you’re okay. It’s okay if Christmas is a sad sack nightmare, and it’s okay if all you can do is leave that Neil Young record on repeat and sit in your husband’s lap and cry it out.

Don’t forget to take your meds, and drink more water than you think you need, and remember that you’re allowed to do whatever it is you need to do to get through it. Maybe you just have to shut the world off until Tuesday, or stop at the pot store, or maybe making cookies or taking a walk or watching Elf or Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas will help.

Above all else, know that you’re not alone. This shit is hard.

PS, we’ll be making lasagna tomorrow if anybody needs a place to come and hang out.