My Dad just asked me what I wanted this year. I said, in all honesty, nothing. I've got to do some serious downsizing over the next twelve months and I can't be surrounding myself with crap I don't want or need. I won't even get the latest season of Doctor Who on DVD or blu ray (an annual tradition since 2005) because I haven't watched two thirds of it yet. I saw the first four episodes and didn't like them, so why waste money?
I spent most of last Christmas visiting my mother in the hospital and four days later she died. I probably shouldn't be alone as the anniversary rolls around, but that's what will most likely happen. I'll spend Christmas with the friends who've kept me afloat over the last year, and then go and see some other friends on Boxing Day if they'll have me. Beyond that I have no plans. I would like to do something, or someone, on New Year's Eve because I never have before, but I've no idea what just yet.
I predict I'll spend much of the holiday season at home, wondering how much longer I can stay in this house and in this country without cracking up. I have my UK trip to plan and look forward to but, even if that works out as I'd like it to and I wind up settling permanently, it'll be the same old me with the same old demons, just in a shiny new location.
I will not put up a tree or send cards because I'm not, as they say, feelin' it. I'm not feelin' much of anything just now and I suspect that's how I manage to carry on. The moment I stop long enough to think about what I'm doing and why, I'll freeze, fall to pieces and my brain will explode. I'm like that guy in Neil Gaiman's short story 'Bitter Grounds', who decided one grey and meaningless day to leave his shattered life behind, get in his car and drive until he ran out of world. At the end of the story he realises he's been dead the whole time. There are days, many of them quite recent, when I've felt the same. If I'm not already dead I may as well be, until the phone rings or I remember I have something to do or somewhere to be. A reason, however small, to keep going even if it's only around in circles.
I've tried to make my house as comfortable as can be although it will never feel like home again. In a moment of madness, perhaps the last gasp of self medication through retail therapy, I bought a widescreen HD TV that I never watch. The shelves in my living room are full of DVD box sets I bought for Mum and I to enjoy together when she came out of hospital. I haven't even opened them. I've lent them to people without really caring if I get them back because they're just things, dead layers of a skin I have to shed before I can find out if there's a new and very different me underneath.
Traditionally Easter is the season of death and rebirth, but the end of one year and the start of another is just as good a time for a new beginning. Merry Christmas, y'all.