At Least I Tried

November 28, 2013

That’s what I have to keep telling myself.  Because Thanksgiving was pretty much a bust.  I was okay this morning.  And then my mom (and nieces… and sister-in-law… and my brother’s godmother…) arrived to pick me up.

I cried all the way there.  And I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t face that long table with my entire family (whom I love, believe me, I do!).  And my mom and I got back in the car (which my dad and brother had driven up earlier so that they could fry the turkeys).  And I cried all the way home.

Things That Didn’t/Don’t Help:

  1. My mom calling to say that she would pick me up at the front door.  And then parking closer to the back door.
  2. Being in physical pain the entire drive up because my pubic symphysis is still healing.
  3. People trying to cheer me up.  Don’t.  Just.  Don’t.  You can’t, so all that you’re doing is making it worse.  So don’t.
  4. People touching me.

When we got there, I got out of the car and tried to figure out what I was going to do.  I couldn’t stand the thought of going inside.  You know, where people were going to be.  And someone did try to cheer me up, and I snapped at her.  I probably wasn’t very nice.  But at the same time, the fact that I had to say to leave me alone, that it wasn’t obvious that she Wasn’t Helping?  I walked to the end of the cul-de-sac.  And I turned around and walked back.  And when I got back to the house, I debated.  I could have just kept walking.  And I seriously considered it.  And maybe I should have, but I didn’t.

And I walked in the back door and seriously considered going downstairs.  I could have done that.  I could have just disappeared into the basement.  No one was down there.  The lights were all off.  I could have gone downstairs where no one would see me.  And touch me.  And try to cheer me up.  And maybe I should have, but I didn’t.

I made it as far as the dining room.  And there were all of these people.  And there were too many.  And it was too much.  And they were wanting to talk to me.  And to touch me.  And I couldn’t breathe in that space.  And I was crying so hard that I couldn’t see.

My mom took my hand and led me into the bedroom.  And I completely broke down.  And I sobbed.  And I sobbed.  And I sobbed.  (We ran out of tissues.  My mom texted my dad to bring us the box from the car.)  I’d put Sofia’s blanket in my bag so that I’d have it near.  It didn’t stay in the bag for long.  My mom finally went to make the gravy.  I tried to go with.  I was going to go and sit in the back room where we would be eating.  My nieces were playing in there.  I couldn’t.  I stood in the kitchen for a minute or two.  And I couldn’t do it.  I ran back to the bedroom, closed the door, and sat down with my back against it.  Yes, I did that consciously.  That would keep people out.

I didn’t want to be there.  But I didn’t want to leave either.  I wanted Thanksgiving.  I wanted turkey and cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie.  I wanted to hang out with my family and watch White Christmas.  But the only way I could have all of that was to leave the bedroom, to face people, to be sociable.  I just wanted to be invisible.

My mom came back.  I said, “I don’t think I can do this.”

So she drove us home.  We stopped at her house so that she could get her toothbrush and book and journal.  We got dinner out of her freezer.  (Thanks for the enchiladas, Lizzie!  They were delicious!)

And my mom knows me too well.  She told me that she knows how I think.  And that I was not allowed to think that I failed.  And that’s, of course, what I’d been thinking as we drove down 131.  I failed.  I failed my daughter because I couldn’t keep her alive.  I failed Thanksgiving.  But she’s right.  She said I did the harder thing.  I admitted that it was too much and left.

We did discuss whether or not a Xanax would have helped.  I don’t think it would have made much of a difference today.  I think it would have been too much.  Period.  At Christmas, we do a buffet and mingle in small groups.  At Thanksgiving, however, we all sit down to one great big table.  All 20 of us together.  And that would be 40 eyes looking at me.  All at once.  And I couldn’t face that.  And while I’m sad to have, effectively, missed Thanksgiving this year, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it at all if I’d stayed.

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