They don’t happen often, really. The breakdowns. I suppose it’s because I’ve gotten used to the cyclical disappointment. I know what to expect and when to expect it… every single month. Clockwork. But Christmas Eve provoked an unforeseen glitch in my defenses.
When I realized what was happening, I tried to fight it. I shoved the heartache down with as much normality as I could muster — a few chuckles at the family dinner and a couple of bathroom breaks to discourage those pesky tears from taking shape. And it worked up until the moment Christmas Eve found us at home… alone… again.
Everything was still. The Christmas tree clung to its corner of the living room illuminating the emptiness inside. There were no cookies on the counter, no excited giggles from the other room, no whispered plots of catching the big guy in action. Because after the family antics were over and the priest had given the final Christmas Eve blessing, it was a Thursday night in the Calavitta household. It was a Thursday night like every other Thursday night. And that’s what did me in.
I held it together as I tiptoed down the hallway toward that quiet living room. I was determined to bury the sorrow down deep in the silence of my own thoughts. But the silence began to beat against whatever fragile defenses I attempted to harbor, each step increasing the weight of the tears that were rebelliously pooling in the corner of my eyes.
One-by-one, the sorrow advanced in a flurry of tears.
I tumbled into my husband’s arms that night. No. I collapsed into them. I collapsed into them in heavy heaves fraught with exhaustion. And I told him. I told him that I felt like we were being passed up. I told him that I felt forsaken. And then I remembered. I remembered all of the chances my body had to get it right. I remembered all of the gluten and dairy I have so studiously passed up in an attempt to help fix the broken inside. I remembered the surgery. I remembered the costs. I remembered the vitamins and the cautious hope and the waiting. And I let it all out. Right there in my husband’s arms. I let it all out.
. . . to be continued.