To my ex-pats in grief — spending your holiday with me in this somewhat foreign land of merry-makers.
I see you.
I see you re-reading the posts you wrote on the day she died, pouring over the words of sympathy in the comments because you still need them.
I see you stopping to catch your breath, losing the whole thread of the conversation, when your friend announces he’s going to visit his 88 year- old father in New Jersey because your dad died at 80 and why does he get his dad for eight more years than you, anyway?
I see you clutching yourself as people complain that their kids’ Christmas lists are too long and they seem so greedy when you’d honestly give anything to buy just one more Christmas gift for your baby, and give your other kids a normal gift-filled rather than a grief-filled holiday.
I see you in your brave showing up to the holiday party alone this year, fearing you’ll have no one to talk to and having no one to talk to and going home feeling worse, even though everyone tells you its important to “try to get out there.”
I see you. Trying to be a part of what seems like the normal folk — the happy holiday crew.
Imagine if it turns out we ARE the normal? That the thing blocking us from the happy is we just have to admit, and speak for the sad? That the older we get the statical probability of grief is such that most of us are carrying some in our backpack, at all times. Maybe the more we can just say that to each other, we can make room for ourselves in the incessant noise of cheer that the world insists is the only one right way to do this time of year.
I see you. We are all alone in this together.
(To my friends on shore who keep reaching out — you are the lighthouses, I love you. To the boats navigating the dark with me — who also keep reaching out, I’m with you and I always will be, come what may — and to those who are privately saying, “that’s kind of a bummer of a post, I’m going to make gingerbread” — I get it, I was you, just know we will be here when it comes time to need us).
Grief is my side hustle.