"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

22 December 2016

Holiday Meditation

Get to know me well enough, and you realize I don't get into holidays much. At some point, I began thinking of them as a sham. Why should one day have greater importance than another?

This time of year, especially, has had a tendency to fill me with a special kind of vitriol. The hypocrisy of goodwill and thinly veiled cruelties. Blatant materialism. On a personal level, I've gone through bad break ups, deaths, and drama, both with blood relatives and social acquaintances, this time of the year that have left a fair amount of psychic scarring.

For those just tuning in, the day after Thanksgiving, for twenty seconds and four chest compressions, I was an orphan, My father, with pneumonia and septic shock was sentenced to the sickhouse. Now, that would plumb rattle some folks. Me? I kept my reptile zen, because someone had to. My sister has her moments of melodrama and my brother has his moments of jerking his knees, which can make you go blind, because when you knee-jerk, you do not see reason. Someone had to talk to doctors and nurses and sign forms and make grotesque decisions. That someone ended up being me. I have been lauded for it, but I'd rather never go through it again.

Three, getting close to four, weeks later, my father is home. He is on the mend. Trained medical professionals are dazzled by his recovery and drive to walk in the lands of the living. One of my southern relatives says her prayers were answered. My father will say it wasn't his time, but god taught him a lesson. I call it luck. In a cases of twisted symmetry, three doors down in the MICU was the loco drunk I called EMS on six days prior. Both men left the unit on the same day, the difference was my father went to MedSurg. The loco drunk was in a box.

Christmas is in three days. For the first time in so-long-I-can-no-longer-remember, I am looking forward to the holiday, We mean to gather at my sister's house. She's got the biggest place and it is the most centrally located. We shall eat, drink, and antagonize one another, because that's what we do when we get together.

At one point, I shall contemplate whiskey with my father, because that's what we do when we get together. Perhaps we shall toast, or maybe we'll talk about music and a thousand memories from forty-four years of acquaintance. It doesn't really matter. When it gets down to brass tacks and bedposts, it will be a good day.



  1. Good luck with it all, Robbie. I'm staying here this year, the Seattle kids are in transition, and my across the street neighbor puts on a good spread.
    Best to you,

  2. I tend to think of the family gatherings as a time we get together, pretend to like each other, drink too much (usually while I'm "freshening up" in the guest bedroom), and eat our feelings. *chuckle* Learning to say "no" to these things for Christmas has been one of my most contested and yet freeing accomplishments. But escaping the hospital's grip to recover? Certainly a reason to celebrate.

    I'm sorry for your loss, we are indeed diminished. I've packed away the glitter here beneath the rafters for another year and January is ready to pounce with icy claws. May your whiskey be warming through and through...

    1. Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of my mother's death. Perhaps because my father got so close to joining her in oblivion the date held so much more poignancy this year. I think his experience shocked him out of some metaphoric sleepwalking he's been doing since she died, which I told him. He seemed to think I had a valid point.

      There is snow and I got a brand new set of snowshoes. No bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Christmas and New Year's days respectively were good times. I look to survive another winter, and the whiskey helps.

  3. Good luck with it all, Robbie. I'm staying here this year


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