I should have thrown up my snowman out-of-office shingle last week and just admitted I wouldn't blog over the break. Instead, I thought I'd manage to get out a few posts here and there between company and Christmas and a funeral and all that holiday cheer. Unfortunately, I sunk into a bit of a funk during the holidays and staring at the blank screen on the computer was about all the accomplishment I could muster. That, and a few lackluster games of Pathwords and Word Twist on facebook.
The fact is, Jean's death struck pretty hard, and despite trying to keep busy and make Christmas something special for my family, that event seemed to follow me. No matter where my body was, my mind was in that house, imagining what had happened. In the middle of conversations, my voice trailed off and without knowing it, I suddenly was thinking about it. It was everywhere.
Where we ate on Christmas Eve, I found myself facing a window overlooking the restaurant Jean and I last ate at, staring at the parking lot where we last hugged goodbye and promised to get together again after the new year.
On the radio, Billy Joel came on, the song she used to sing all the time around me - used to write around our pictures in the yearbook: Only the Good Die Young.
In a box in my storage closet while digging around for photos to scan, I found a pile of letters she wrote to me when I was at college... I didn't even remember her even writing me while I was there.
It all became overwhelming, this everywhere-I-turn thing. And busy didn't help.
Until New Years Eve, when I was preparing for company, and filling the time with all the things I thought needed to get done. Cleaning, new sheets, food prep, laundry... busy busy busy...
until the winds blew out a power line and we found ourselves with no electricity. No water. No way to clean, or cook, or shower or vacuum. And the house quickly got very, very cold. So all five us dug out a bunch of blankets and snuggled down on two couches downstairs and read. Two blissful hours of reading guilt free.
It was, for lack of a better description, soul-soothing. It was the start of healing for me.
Later this week, I'll write about that book I read, along with another author's reflections on how reading saved her life when her mother died.
I'll also post my I Heart Your Blog Awards, two weeks late (some things about me never change). I have great plans for a New Years Resolution post (which I promise will not mention a word of dieting or losing weight but will involve books.... lots of books), some more reflections on Jean and faith, updates on queries and my publishing progress, possible stories about guitar hero and falling down the stairs. And if you are really lucky, a photo or two of what happens when a gingerbread house meets Wizard-of-Oz-like winds (or Hansel and Gretel.. you decide!) You won't want to miss a word.
Goodbye 2008. No offense or anything, but I'm glad to be moving on.