I wasn't particularly in a party mood last night as I sat on my couch contemplating the only Christmas party I had committed to this year. It's an annual event I really enjoy, and while I wanted to go and see some friends and catch up with people I only see at this party, I just wasn't really feeling it. Last year, it killed me to miss this party. Friends asked me to fly home from New York for a weekend just to attend. I wanted to want to go. So I went.
I talked and laughed and wished at least 100 people Merry Christmas. I caught up with a friend recovering from an illness. Chatted with a friend embarking on her first full Ironman in 2010. I talked a lot about my impending trip to New York and missing my family and not having seen them all year. I ate and drank and had a great time. Until I ran into the friend whose mom died last year.
I can't say that we had a bad conversation, but it was very upsetting. Add to that a few drinks and some significant holiday stress, and I created the perfect cocktail for a meltdown. I held it together until I left the party, and then I. Lost. My. Shit. In the front seat of my friend's car. At 11 pm. Thankfully, she had a box of tissues handy. Sadly, she's been through this herself.
I'm not sure that I was at all coherent through the sobbing. I don't think I could get many words out through the gasping breath and running nose. I'm not attractive when I cry, and this was far beyond tearing up at a sad movie. I sobbed. We talked. I sobbed some more. This went on for about an hour before I calmed down enough to get out of the car.
I eventually cried myself to sleep, and woke up this morning with what I can only describe as a crying hangover. I was sore and my eyes ached and they were all red and puffy. The last dregs of my mascara had settled in the creases around my eyes. My throat was sore and my voice scratchy. I got to work and a colleague thought I had a cold.
My dad died 360 days ago, and I miss him in a way that defies description. I don't even really have the words to explain how sad and lonely and angry and abandoned I feel. The intensity and volatility of my emotions is a little scary, and kind of overwhelming. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced. Some days it's easier to deal with the big, gaping hole his death has left in my life. Yesterday was definitely not one of those days. And the remaining days leading up to the first anniversary of his death and then Christmas don't look like they're going to be a walk in the park either.
I've mostly opted out of the holiday frenzy this year, and until this morning I wasn't too sure if that was a good idea. Now I know it is. I think I've had my last cocktail of the Christmas season. I know I've gone to my last holiday gathering, and I'm really relieved. Christmas cheer can suck it this year.