The last week has been a little insane.
First my close friend emailed me to say her husband was in the ICU on a respirator with H1N1. Things got bad enough early last week that he had to be put on kidney dialysis. His kidney and liver function was so weak, it was looking very, very bad there for a few days. The good news is that he has now turned a corner and, while he has a very long way to go, he is most definitely on the road to recovery. He is a great guy, and for this good news I am so very thankful.
Then came Friday. I got a phone call in the afternoon from the Captain's uncle. I could hear in his voice that something wasn't right. He didn't beat about the bush. The Captain's father had had another heart attack, but this time he hadn't survived it. It took me about 8 hours to get in contact with the Captain, and because he was so far from base, the satellite communications were terrible. He could hear me, but all I could hear was a dead line. I yelled down the phone that he needed to call me until he got a better line, but four calls later, the situation hadn't improved and I had to just start yelling "YOUR FATHER HAS DIED!" down the line. This was HARDLY the way I had envisioned breaking the news to him.
The Captain is no wimp, and he's doing just fine, choosing to continue on as normal and get the job done...whatever "the job" actually is. I'm not really allowed to know much. But, rest assured, he hasn't gone off the deep end and run into enemy fire with his rifle, or collapsed in a heap on the ground, sobbing. And we are doing fine here too, though I can't help but feel now that I'd really just like to get 2009 behind me. Between Rosemary's Baby's autism diagnosis, the deployment, and now this, I can't help but think 2010 can only be better.
I'm working hard to get into the Christmas spirit here. The tree, as I've mentioned before, is up. Or down, depending on Rosemary's Baby's moods. But it's on display either way. And I have the 24/7 Christmas music station going. The traditional one, not the modern one. I managed about 15 minutes of the latter before Donnie Wahlberg stated "this is a very serious message..." and I had to resist the urge to punch something. When faced with the choice, I'll take Dean Martin over that junk any day.
But it's not completely working yet. I can see that this year, with the Captain missing from the festivities, I'm going to have to work extra hard to feel festive. So I've made some decisions.
Firstly, I am going to fill my own stocking with stuff. I was going to leave it empty, but I realize now that filling it will give me maybe just the slightest lift on Christmas morning. Even though none of it will be a surprise, and certainly none of it will be expensive, I figure the little bit of joy those few new little bits and pieces will give me is well worth the effort. And I also won't have to explain to the kids why Santa skipped me. Bonus!
Secondly, I'm celebrating American Thanksgiving. I'm not actually American, but my parents and most of my siblings are. And I have lived in the U.S. and I love the U.S. and all my bloggy American friends. So why wouldn't I celebrate with you all? I still have much to be thankful for, and it'll be helpful to have an official kickoff to the holiday season. I may have to have roast beef or ham instead of turkey at this late stage, but it'll be a celebration and a chance to give thanks for my many blessings, and that's what counts.
And lastly, I will embrace my inner Grinch. This isn't to say that I'll walk around scowling and making the holidays miserable for everyone else, but I'm also not going to pretend that things are ideal either. I did that after we had Rosemary's Baby diagnosed, before I felt like things were really going to be okay. I was like a supermodel, roughed up by her drug-addicted glam-rock boyfriend, pretending to the world that "Women's Shelter Victim" was the hot new look for young girls. Pathetic. The constant putting on a happy voice and telling everyone how positive I was feeling and how much hope I had for the future was bloody exhausting. I'm not adding that job to my already overwhelming holiday season, thank you very much! Besides, I'm pretty sure the miserable side of being alone (but with kids) at Christmas could make for some pretty funny blogging. Time will tell.
So, I'm not beat yet. This holiday just won't be the same without my husband here, but I think I can still probably salvage a little Christmas cheer. In the meantime...