holiday hangover.

christmas is the time when everybody is who they normally are, but more so. -ira glass

raise your hand if you’d like to say an amen to that! that’s the sort of amen i can get behind. i hope you’ve all had a nice week! i’m back in portland after christmas in new england. there was snow, there was food, and reconnection with old friends and people i love. there was a tree strapped to the roof of a rented chevy impala. there was family being who they normally are, but more so… myself included. for better and for worse, we are who we are.

it was a nice trip, but it was hard. i do try to keep my posts around here on the cheery, spunky side, but i’m also into being honest about the nitty gritty challenges that life slings our way. because if we can hold the hard stuff close, and spin it around awhile, and sprinkle fairy dust on top, there are always silver linings, something to learn, something to be grateful for, a center point of balance that comes, in everything. the fairy dust is time, i think, and the dust is settling for me today.

in new hampshire, i spent a lot of hours sitting in my father’s living room, staring at the wood stove, talking and thinking and being with my parents. something i’ve not shared here yet is that my father has dementia. it’s getting worse, or different as it evolves, to weave a brighter cloth. but no matter how i frame it, what’s happening in this process isn’t pretty. dementia isn’t fun for anybody. it makes people angry, and frustrated, and sad, and frightened, and guilty, and resentful, and worried. there are, of course, certain pieces of dark humor to be found, but there are also tears– mostly those. there’s a kind of faith i’m finding, too, as i wade through it all, faith in something i can’t fully explain, but it’s here, and i do feel it. i do.

i’m back in my cozy little house with my animals in my lap. i’m thinking about mortality. i’m thinking about the real nuts and bolts of it. i’m thinking about freedom and independence and loving people for who they are right now, today, and how today is different from yesterday or tomorrow. i’m learning about coaxing, and firmness, and when to do what. and how to do things and make decisions i hoped i’d never need to make. i don’t know how to navigate any of it until i’m there & there isn’t a map. there is asking for help, and there’s help when i ask, thank goodness. but still, these are uncharted waters and i can’t help but feel a little lost at sea. my dad, though, he was an exceptional sailor, and i am his daughter. so.

don’t worry, i’m not all dour and dreary-cakes over here. only like, about halfway dreary. nothing the fairy dust of time won’t cure. i still think life is so, so beautiful… all of it. and, i do have some super cool stories to share about my trip, as well as a very exciting upcoming interview here on the blog! my first interview! with someone who might be my favorite person i’ve never actually met. she’s an artist, and she’s awesome, and that’ll be happening soon, my loves! i can’t wait. you can’t wait either, you just don’t know it yet. i will say, though, a present for someone might be involved. maybe.

i hope you’ve all held up well this last week. if you’re feeling tired, or fragile, or a bit unsettled from the holidaze, you’re not alone. not for a second. and neither am i, i’m sure of it. sending you all so much love and goodness as we ease ourselves toward january second.



10 thoughts on “holiday hangover.

  1. Such a beautiful assessment of what it means to love someone through dementia. My grandmother passed when I was 12, after years of fading, and I wish I’d been old enough to see it more clearly, and to have dealt with it with less fear and more appreciation for what she became – what was saved, I suppose. So I admire and honour your courage. And honesty! Hear, hear.

  2. Emily, that was breathtaking, heartbreaking, and honest. It doesn’t have to be “pretty” to be beautiful.

    And the last picture floored me… I have a set of 6 remarkably similar chairs that were made for my grandmother when she & my grandfather married in 1936, in Georgia. The best thing I can say about them is that you WILL sit up straight at the table when you sit down.

    • you’re so right that beauty and pretty aren’t the same. cecile, i took that last picture at the shaker village in enfield center, with bethany standing guard, as photos are not permitted. (shaker rebellion, ha!)

  3. Your post touched me – a lot. I totally agree with you about wanting my blog a happy place, I do try the same. But once in a while, the not-so-nice realities of everyday life need to be adressed, too. And you did in a very honest, beautiful way. My mom had dementia, too … so I do know how helpless you might have felt sometimes while being with your dad. Take good care of you, because you are beautiful, and it shines soooo through in your posts!

    • thanks, frauke… i’m sorry to hear that you went through this with your mom. it really helps to know that others have gone through the same things and can relate to all of the complicated emotions that crop up. so, so hard! i’m doing my best on the self-care route. you take care, too! thanks for saying hello. xo

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