CHRISTMAS MORNING: the delightful quiet
Of course, last year was our most frightening yet. Mum had open heart surgery the day before. They had her heavily sedated and hooked up to a gaggle of loud machines, so there wasn't much point in bringing her dinner.
Dad's passing has dwindled us down to just three. This is Better Half's turn. We shipped him off to the ER yesterday for his two-day holiday vacation. He's in good spirits. He reminded me so at 8:30 this morning.
And, of course, I didn't get to bed much before 4 this morning, thanks to the dogs and general stress.
But, hey, the downstairs is almost totally clean! Yay!
I've hauled Better Half's laptop downstairs, added a bed for the dogs and some toys, made myself some coffee, and have taken ownership of Dad's chair. It feels good to be out of the tiny bedroom we share.
Angus chose to curl up in Mum's chair - a bad idea considering she has a vibrating heating pad thing. One wrong move and it kicked on. I've never seen a dog bolt so fast... and we've had greyhounds.
There aren't any presents. unless you count the replacement coffee pot I found on sale at Walmart yesterday. I also consider Christmas dinner a gift, one prepared with love. It will be a bit difficult with Better Half out of the house. All the recipes are in his head.
I'm really not into gift-giving. It's a nice way to show someone you care but, as with Valentine's Day and other gifty holidays, if you can't show someone you love them every day, then all you're doing is adding more junk to their cluttered lives. Especially in this family. Way too much stuff. (The Christmas cards are still in their packaging rather than mailed. There wasn't any time to knock them out this year. I feel terribly about that.)
Mum's come down the stairs. She slept well, thank goodness. Last night's Christmas Mass was a soothing balm, but she did have a quiet moment after Communion that tugged her heart strings. We've spent Christmases without Dad before, but he was only a short drive away at the hospital. This year, the finality of it is palpable. Dad is gone, his ashes resting on the mantle. It was only last year that Better Half and I introduced him to our Christmas Eve tradition - Chinese food.
Aha... Mum's come down the stairs.
Demon Dog decided he would bark and snarl at Hershey as he made his majestic descent. He found himself greeted by Angus instead. No friendly, "Hey, happy holiday's dude" wag of the tail. No, it's the table turned. Dante found himself on the receiving end of what he, Dante, used to give Truffle. Good. Now he understands how stressful the barking, snarling, and general standing of ground truly is.
I should be more kind, as it's a holiday, but Angus, too, benefits from having more room. Shared territory, people. After five years, it's time Dante got over his attitude.
Peace restored, I sip the last coffee dregs from my cup and contemplate prepping Christmas dinner.