Christmas is coming, time goes faster from now on. My plan is to go to my daughter again this year from Christmas Eve. This means missing out on some of my old activities but I can't really think of anything else to do. Some of my friends go on cruises, take advantage of offers from friends or simply plan to spend the day alone but I don't really like any of those options. In the past five years I have spent Christmas with my family with the exception of one year when the family could not be here till late in the evening so I went to friends of friends. It didn't really feel like that was Christmas for me, more like one of those parties you get invited to when you suddenly realise no-one really wants to be there, it is just somewhere to be so as not to be alone. Not to seem ungrateful I thanked my hostess for a lovely day, which in some ways it was but was glad to get home again.
Christmas is important to me and yes, I still do see it as a family celebration. I do love my kids and grandkids but spending Christmas in someone else's house every year is not what I want to do. Maybe next year I will decide ahead of time and do something different. Maybe if I plan it right we can have Christmas either before or after the usual day and get some old friends to come along too. In the days when the children were young we used to go to my mother-in-law's place on Christmas Eve. She told the kids that she had a special arrangement with Santa that he dropped the presents at her house first so they were there waiting for them. Maybe I can get a late delivery from Santa.
At the moment I am stuck again, it seems to be between being alone versus having some company. It is lovely to have parties to go to but it is always that factor of coming home alone to an empty house that gets to me. No-one to discuss what happened at the party, to laugh with at the funny things that happened, to have serious discussions with about what was happening with this one or that one. I really miss that. I get a bit of that when I visit my son in Broken Hill. He lives alone apart from his five day access visit with his daughter every two weeks. Those five days he is busy dealing with her, keeping her occupied, enjoying the company but then she is gone and he is alone again so I think he realises that I go through that all the time. He says after she has gone the house echoes. I understand that. Sometimes all I can hear is my own breathing.
Someone asked me last week if I still consider myself a widow? What does that mean? I am a widow and will always be a widow. There is no changing that statistic. I hope she meant did I identify myself as a widow? Yes and no. Most of the time I just consider myself retired. I consider myself as a volunteer to many organisations, as a mother, a grandmother and a friend. There are times when solitude turns to loneliness and then I know it is time to get out of the house and go to wherever people are. When I am home and can't go out it is time to clean out the cupboards or do something that will absorb my time and attention. It is easier in winter than in summer as the days are shorter and handwork can fill the evening,knitting and crocheting. In summer is not a great idea to do handwork when the evenings are hot. So I can fill the days but the nights seem very long sometimes.
I am recovering from the operation to remove the melanoma behind my knee, there are some complications like lymphodema in that leg when I stand for too long particularly on humid days but I hope to discuss that with the team on my visit to the Clinic in January. If nothing can be done I will cope, but I know life has slowed down from what I was capable of doing before the op. I know the surgeon cut into one of the muscles so maybe that is a problem that can be eased by doing some exercises or by having some gait training exercises. I know with ageing I will naturally slow down anyway but want to keep as fit as possible. I can't do a lot of the dancing I did before the op because the left leg does not want to turn in it's old pattern so I hesitate to do some things now I once took for granted. I am only 70 and had hoped to be fitter than I am now.
I have a lot of blood tests to be done this week, some to look for markers that may indicate I have other forms of cancer. I am hoping that is not the case but if it is I will deal with each issue as it arises. None of us live a charmed life, the many illnesses and relapses Ray had during his last few years showed me that. And at least I got this far without anything major happening to my body. So I do consider myself lucky. I know many people have not enjoyed the good health I have had and into each life some rain must fall, some pain and suffering must happen. I am not a martyr but I am a realist so know that often the last quarter of our life is pain and suffering whatever the way the first three quarters have been. And so far mine has been a good life.
So it is time to put up the tree and decorate at least some of the house, no lights though as I am not allowed to climb on ladders any more. It is time to write and post off the Christmas cards and reply to any I have already received. It is time to access what I have in the cupboards and buy some Christmassy food just in case I have visitors over the Christmas period and to get some small gifts for the neighbours who have been so kind to me, particularly during the last few months when I have needed a bit of help. I am working on the theory " fake it till you make it" so that if I work on being happy, joyful and delighted that Christmas is coming my mind will respond to that with the appropriate emotions. That is my theory and i am sticking to it!