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Every year, I stay up over the night of the Winter Solstice.  I stay up all night, and then I go outside and watch the sun rise the next morning.  It's a symbol.  It means, to me, that no matter how dark it gets, no matter how long, I'll be there.  I'll be watching over everyone, and I'll make sure that somehow, the light comes back.  

This year, I didn't.  

I thought about it.  And then I realized my heart wasn't there.  I was tired, and more than physically.  I can face down physically tired to stay up all night.  I do it all the time - I work graveyards.  But as I looked at the clock, I realized that for once, I couldn't do it.  Someone else would need to stand guard.  So for the first time since I was a teenager, I went to bed and didn't watch the sun rise the next morning.

It feels odd.  I don't feel like I let anyone else down.  It's my tradition, and not one that I spread about.  No reason, it's just my tradition personally, and I don't feel the need to broadcast it.  I don't even honestly feel like I let myself down, per se.  It's just odd to feel that after over twenty years of keeping watch, I finally had to say, "I can't do it.  This time, the night is too long, and I'm just not strong enough right now to watch over all of you."  I know my limits, and that was one of them.  But it's odd.

The kids threw a surprise party for me for my birthday.  I was just going to skip it altogether, but they decided to throw me a party.  I have the best kids.  For my actual birthday, I spent it with a friend.  He's a tattoo artist and did a pair of tattoos for me.  One is of the creature face from the Haunted Mansion, with the quote "Foolish Mortal" beneath it, and the other is of the Lady Amalthea in unicorn form, with the quote "There are no happy endings because nothing ends."  I was afraid I'd just mope and be depressed if I was at home, remembering our trip to Disneyland last year for my birthday, so I opted for something completely different.  It worked out quite well.  It was totally different, we had fun chatting, and I was high on endorphins, so that was good.

Howard's six month deathiversary was the 16th.  And I made myself stop wearing black.  Six months is enough of that.  Start putting things back together, Medea.  

My best friend's family told me I'm coming over there for Christmas dinner.  Thanksgiving with them has always been a blast, but I've never been invited for Christmas - that was always just family.  But I count as family now, for which I'm grateful.  

It's hard going to the store.  I keep seeing random things and thinking that I could get them for Howard's stocking, and he'd just love tha... Oh.  Right.

For my part, I'm moving at the beginning of January, so trying to do Christmas just seemed like more effort than it was worth.  So I loaned my tree to my best friend - hers broke at the end of last year, so this way, she can get one this year when they go on sale, and just use mine.  I drew a tree on the side of one of my moving boxes.  Yes, really.  It amused me.  

I'm well ahead of where I need to be in moving.  There's still stuff about, but mostly stuff that I'll need for the next few weeks.  Another offer came in on the same day for the other house, but this one is so much better.  Waiting on underwriting, which is nerve wracking.  All I can do is just wait and hope.  But this house is better, and I just love it.  

As part of packing, I've been moving things about, including a number of very heavy boxes.  So I ended up with tendonitis of the rotator cuff.  It's not pleasant.  I don't recommend it.  But I'm coping.

I bought more random things for the new home than I should have, but I'm not necessarily upset about any of it.  I got a new TV and the mount for it, a second wine fridge, which I'd been wanting, the frame and headboard for the guest bed, a table and chairs for the patio.  I got a vinyl cutter, which I'd been wanting, and I'll use for vinyl stickers for the walls.  And I got a rain lamp.  Like, the old 70's one like my grandma had that has the oil that slides down the lines and makes it look like it's raining.  Yeah, it's silly, and it was a stupid amount to spend on a lamp, but I'm happy with it.  I measured all the windows when I was there for the inspection and bought curtains and curtain rods for all of them.  So now I'm just waiting on underwriting and hoping all goes well.

It's a truly charming little house.  It's perfect for me and has literally everything I asked for and even things that I wanted, but didn't write down - like citrus trees in back and places that are going to be just lovely to put roses.  It wouldn't have worked well for Howard, but it's a perfect little home for me, and I'm very excited about it.  

Even the darkest night ends.  The sun eventually rises.  Even if I don't have the strength to watch over everyone else, and I have to leave it to faith that the sun will rise, rise it does.  

I choose hope.

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Comment by Medea on December 24, 2016 at 12:17am

Thank you!  Next year I'll likely do something fairly similar to you (minus the church) with outside time with the fire pit and some wine.  

It's been mild up here in Tempe, too.  It's starting to cool off a bit, but not overly so.  

I was kinda pushed in to the move decision, but I'm not sad about it.  The new house will be lovely.  I promise to post updates! 

Comment by lonelyinaz on December 23, 2016 at 6:36pm

Medea,

BRAVO TO YOU!!  All the moving issues you seem to have taken on with much energy and even some excitement for the new place. You'll do the Solstice next year in your new yard.

 After my husband passed, I've been going to a local church on the 21st, they have a Longest Night service each year.  It is well done, but theme is for those who don't always feel so festive, jolly and all.  This year had folks speaking of their losses, and was sad.  I had a small dinner later with some other good friends (widows as well), we hit the wine right away when we got back to my home.  Had some good laughs, went outside some, night was mild here in Tucson, that's changing some for the Christmas weekend.  Keep us posted on your move, I'm still going back and forth on that decision.  Sometimes it's best to just go for it when you find what is perfect for you.  Happy Holidays, Hugs to you.

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