Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Just us

overcast, mild, temps minus 2

Everyone has gone. so much anticipation, and then its over. I must say, having a pared-down Christmas is fabulous. No more drama. No tears, or tantrums, or moods or subtexts. No snarky remarks said with a smile. Just people we want to be with and open our home to.

Doug left on Monday, got home safe. And Michael's sons Mike and Victor arrived about 8pm....having driven through the remnants of the big snowstorm on the east coast. We had a humdinger warming in the oven. That's a dish the boys grew up with. It's a casserole made from the leftovers from Christmas dinner. A layer of diced turkey, stuffing, gravy, then a layer of peas, then sweet potato and finally mashed potatoes. Very comforting.

As they blew into the driveway, the casserole was all warmed up. So they dumped their things and we served up. They poured a couple beer and we all took our plates into the living room and sat in front of the fireplace, and the lit tree, and ate. Hearing all about their drive and getting caught up on their lives.

Yesterday I had coffee with Janet at the Cafe Floral in Knowlton, then right after that, lunch with Louise there. I was going to take the beetle, but it wouldn't start! Frozen. So I took Michael's 'real' car instead. Then about an hour later I heard Michael's voice in the cafe and Janet and I looked up to see Michael and his sons striding in. Mike had boosted the car and they decided to deliver it to me. Must have looked a bit like a circus act, these three grown mean squeezing out of the little beetle.

We exchanged keys and they headed home - to the fireplace and their books. And janet and I got back to our chat. We don't see each other often, though she and her husband sometimes stay in the guest cottage in the summer. bob's an actor and she teaches voice at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and has written a fabulous book on voice work called The Thought Propels the Sound.

Then she left and Louise arrived. She's doing extremely well. Grieving deeply, but aware she needs to feel everything and let it take as long as it takes. While putting one foot in front of the other. But not to cover over her sadness. And, of course, she was desperate for the holidays to be over. But she survived and said while she expected to be in tears all the time she only cried a few times. She said since it's now clear she herself won't die, then she needs to learn what the new normal, without Jacques, is - and make the very best of it. And one day she knows, she'll be happy. Just not quite yet.

We had a wonderful lunch. So nice to be in the company of old and dear friends. We can just relax.

Mike and Vic went off to ski at Mont Sutton today, after we all had breakfast in Knowlton. Then they headed to Montreal. Tomorrow I have breakfast with Cheryl in Sutton. I feel, after spending most of the year either writing or touring, I can finally get caught up with friends. Longing to see the work they've done on their new home - and when they might be able to move in.

Hope you're safe and warm and enjoying some quiet time - or some active time. Whatever you enjoy.

Be well, my friends.


A. Wright said...

"She said since it's now clear she herself won't die, then she needs to learn what the new normal, without Jacques, is - and make the very best of it. And one day she knows, she'll be happy. Just not quite yet."

How beautifully put, and a lesson to everyone who has lost someone they loved this year, or at any time really. We all are either in need of learning this, or are in the process of accepting it and just getting one with it. As you say, it is "the new normal."


riverview said...

The Thought Propels the Sound.
Do want to take a look at this. So well put. After Edward Hopper at The Whitney went to Viand and learned about Edmund de Waal's "The Hare with Amber Eyes" tells the astonishing story of the Ephrussis family fortunes. Its author is the great-grandson ... › Arts & Living › I think you'd love it too.

lil Gluckstern said...

What a wonderful friend you are. It's a contemplative time of the year, isn't it? After the joy of the holidays. You have earned your quiet time. I do have this picture of three men emerging from the Beetle. I had one in the 60's, and it took me everywhere, but it felt like a toy car. I think they were smaller then. A happy and healthy New Year to you and Michael, and peace to all.

Diane said...

Your sharing of your friend's grief touched my heart. Our son lost his wife in April of this year and spent his first Christmas without her at home with us. So bittersweet.

Learning the new normal, so apt. As always, thanks for your post.

whalewatcher said...

When I had my Beetle I also had 3 dogs:
a full size collie 70lbs, and two other mixed breed
dogs at 50lbs. each. When we went to the park for walks and I opened the door and started to let the dogs out people would sometimes stop and watch and count and smile and wonder how many big dogs were in my 'clown' car. I made a few friends that way. : )