It is the final countdown. Only a matter of days until Robb has been gone for a year, until Christmas will happen around me, until we will wrap a neat and tidy bow on this neat and tidy year.
How do I feel, as the clock ticks?
Afraid of 2012. Afraid that the one-year-mark will somehow lead others to believe I am stronger than I am, that this matters less than it does, that time heals all wounds.
Deceived. Like I'm in the homestretch, the last lap, the end of the journey. Like December 23 is some kind of finish line. I am near none of those things.
My therapist says, "Tricia, time to nestle in for a long winter's nap. Please consider hibernating. Say no to as much as you can, and stop asking yourself why you can't keep up."
My doctor says, "Tricia, you are absolutely normal. And if you wake up tomorrow and you can't get out of bed? That will be absolutely normal."
I find myself thinking and writing in third person. I'm learning that it is far easier to think about how to write about this season than it is to actually live it. It is far easier to think about the story of a widow at Christmas than it is to actually be one.
The professionals call this dissociation, a crucial survival mechanism that protects you during a crisis and afterwards. It helps you stay on task so you can protect yourself. If you are able to function without fully experiencing the emotional impact of an event, you can accomplish tasks until it is safer to face your emotions.
And so I attend Christmas pageants and sing boys to sleep and teach Christmas carols and shop for gifts and hang stockings and fold laundry and live and breathe and do this thing. And perhaps I will think about it - really, truly think about it - later.
How do I feel about this final countdown?
Fine. Fine, I guess.