For the past 20 + years, Martha and I have developed a calendar of traditions to be able to celebrate the season with all our friends and family. This year almost everything crumbled.
The season usually begins with a feast at our elderly neighbors home. But she is now at her daughter’s in Virginia while her house is being reconstructed. (A car hit the house and moved it right off the foundation)
Then there would have been the office Christmas party. But most people declined because everyone was feeling down about recent layoffs.
On Christmas Eve eve, we have always gotten together with our favorite couple, C & K. They were due at 7 for hors d'oeuvres but called at 5 to say C’s grandmother had just unexpectedly passed away.
On Christmas eve we go to Martha’s niece’s house for dinner and gift exchange. I was just delving into some ham when my cell phone rang. One of my closest friends had gone to the hospital, suffering from more depression than she could handle. And so I left to be with her.
I came home Christmas morning around 4 am to find that Martha’s car was missing from the garage. Both the girls were in their beds but there was a note on the counter - call me when you get in. Apparently her niece’s 23 year old daughter called her in a panic after spending some time in the bar she lives above, she woke to find herself naked and everything of value missing. She had no memory of what had happened. So Martha went, called the police and went to the hospital with her. Apparently someone slipped something into her drink. And then invited his friends.
That was enough to put me into a whimpering fetal position until Martha came home around 7 am. (Rape test came back negative, so that was a relief, although something else obviously happened.)
But we pulled it together, and tried for some semblance of a normal Christmas morning for the girls. Open gifts, fell asleep for a few hours in the afternoon and then went back to the hospital while Martha spent her xmas on the phone with the police making sure everything that could be done was being done. Same with most of Sunday, but at night Martha’s best friend and her family came for our traditional roast beef and yorkshire pudding dinner. Even though they left early due to the snow storm, it was the first moment we had to raise a glass and relax.
Tonight I would traditionally be getting together with my oldest and dearest friends. But one is in the hospital, the other dealing with her own domestic drama, and I have to go to a wake.
I keep thinking this has got to get better and in two weeks I will be traveling to celebrate Christmas with my family. But then my sister called to say her father-in-law is in hospice and not expected to live much longer. They will most likely be leaving for Florida to say goodbye.