I am having a really difficult time Christmas shopping this year. I went to the mall after work this afternoon picked out some things for the littlest nephews and niece and left the basket in the middle of the store and walked out. I tried a second store and stood reading Christmas cards to a son. I became increasingly sad put the card down and walked out of that store too. By the time I drove home I was irritable and broke down in tears. It is 15 days until Christmas Day and I cannot bring myself to shop for gifts, decorate or even put up a tree. The only gifts I have been able to manage were books for Ava from Amazon, sneakers and cleats from Dick's from Joey to Ava, a couple of Nike hoodies and gym bags for Shaun & Nikolas. That is all I have been able to manage and that shopping was the result of someone else picking it out and me ordering it online. I tried writing a list. The list sits in my handbag. I am expected to put something together for Christmas Eve and I am afraid I will fail. I have to keep it together for my other children and grandchildren however so far I am scoring a big zero.
I am functioning. I have not missed a day at work and I now write and send books to four different young men in prison on drug related charges. I do it because they have no support. I do it because I believe reading is a positive coping skill and educates the mind and keeps those in prison out of trouble. I do it because I care. I do it to be a service to others. I do it to keep my mind off my own problems.
I am a different person today.
Yesterday I received word a tree fell on the house in Cape May. I was notified and sent pictures by the development staff and I did not get upset even though I am sure it will be a huge expense. I went about my day at work doing what I do everyday. I had come to the conclusion it could have been worse. The tree fell on the screen room . It could have fallen on the main house. I found myself feeling grateful and not upset. When I got home to our place in Plymouth last night a pipe burst in one of the bathrooms. It scared the shit out of me as it sounded like an explosion. Good thing we were home from work because the pressure of the water shot out like a fire hydrant towards the ceiling and flooded two rooms. Bill & I were a sight soaking wet trying to turn off a valve to the water. The water was cold and we were soaked head to toe. By the time the emergency plumbers came I had called it a day with a glass a wine as a dozen of towels used to dam the flow of water were in the washer machine. Wet Vac and blower later, the hallway outside the bathroom and one of the bedrooms is still damp so I do not know as yet if it will need to be replaced. We did discover that there was work on the water main in the street that day which caused an increase in air pressure in the pipes which resulted in the pressure being so high it burst the pipe.
I learned two things yesterday. Do not expect anyone to understand that you may actually be concerned about a tree falling on your shore house because OMG you have a shore house so the response is lukewarm. Second, things could be worse. When you have experienced what I have experienced in the last few years and managed to survive (barely intact but survived) there is few things that can rattle my bones.
Did I mention I am a different person?
Once upon a time it took very little to rattle my bones. I took many things for granted. I had many expectations. At times I even thought I was better than others. I was a bit stuck up. I was smart. Received more than one education. Worked hard. Career minded. Had a very supportive family. Experienced many things. Traveled. I had this amazing life and had it taken from underneath me in one night. It happened to me. It could happen to anyone. If you take things for granted you can lose them in a matter of a hour, a day. Everything you ever thought life would be becomes something you never thought possible. I never thought the events and consequences of today would ever be imagined a few short years ago.