Not a Cheerful Christmas Post

We’re in the home stretch. My husband worked from home Monday and Tuesday. I had contemplated sucking it up and staying home the entire time due to the kids being home on break, then realized I need to focus on keeping my mood stable as much as possible. So I spent Monday afternoon with M, which was a nice escape.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I kept myself busy – I washed my bedding and my laundry, scrubbed the toilet that makes me wonder what on earth is wrong with my husband’s digestive system, and generally tried to stay out of his way. When I did come out to work on cleaning the french press and making our coffee, he started talking at me – something inconsequential to which I had no response, and the fact that I didn’t turn it into a conversation and respond the way he wanted earned me another bout of passive-aggressive behavior from him, confirming my desire to limit our interaction. It has warmed up to the 50s in the Indy area this week and so I decided to go for a walk, something I have not been able to do in weeks.

I made it through the day and the night managing to mostly distract myself from the current of sadness running deep down inside. My husband and the kids stayed up late playing Magic (the card game) and then watched TV for a bit, and it was midnight when the last child headed to bed. I tried to relax enough to fall asleep but it wasn’t happening. Instead I was hovering over the abyss, dipping my toes in the hopeless thoughts of a future that’s simply marginally less unhappy than my present. Tears were starting to ooze down my face and this was not an acceptable situation with my husband still awake and on his phone on the other side of the room. I got up and added warm layers over my leggings and tank top, then headed outside for a walk. It was 1am.

I took the headphones with me and looped Peter Gabriel’s I Grieve. I felt unable to properly tap into, process and sit with whatever I was feeling. A part of me wanted to let out a literal scream and see if that proved cathartic but I am not yet out of fucks and did not want the attention that might bring. Instead I walked around my town taking pictures of whatever I found interesting or pretty. I stayed out almost an hour, and was still not calm and tired enough to have a hope of sleep. My hands and face and legs were cold and I didn’t want to stay outside but I also didn’t want to be inside my apartment, so instead I went home to retrieve my car keys and drove off into the night.

I headed northeast on I69 until Anderson, then made my way through Anderson so I’d be able to catch the road that runs by the White River and meanders over to Strawtown. Anderson proved to be a very smelly town. It seems to be arranged in such a way that most sections of the town are going to have to get used to the odors of one smelly industry or another. It smelled like a fart on arrival, and it smelled like a different fart on departure. The downtown was certainly dispirited and lackluster in their Christmas decorations, especially compared to Elwood’s exuberant display. I did not stop for any late night photos.

The drive along the White River was pleasant and relaxing, though. At a handful of points I drove through streamers of fog, which I loved for the feel of mystery they add to a night’s landscape. By the time I reached state road 37 it was 3am and I had the roads almost entirely to myself. During my time out I’d seen a few other drivers, one man walking to a convenience store/gas station that was open late, someone’s cat, a rabbit bounding to safety and what might have been a fox slipping away out of sight. I was feeling calmer but still had that knot of emotion I could not untangle and release in order to escape.

It was around 3:30 when I arrived home and went back to bed, but took longer still for me to finally sleep, and when I did it was not restful sleep.

We’ve never been super early risers for Christmas, so I did at least get enough sleep to function. The kids are generally calm and patient about their gifts and didn’t even seem to mind that their brother B was sleeping in later than everyone and holding up the process. When everyone was finally awake and they started opening their gifts I made sure to take pictures. My favorite is one that caught them in a candid moment, happy and relaxed and smiling as they interacted with each other across the dining room table.

That happiness hurts, though, as I know in just a few days I’m going to be sitting down with them to deliver devastating news.

I know I can’t stay in this marriage. It will break me back down, and much faster this time as I’m only in the fragile early stages of rebuilding.

I did not, and do not, want them to suffer and yet there is not a track forward without that.

I grieve.

There was another child that deserved a happier future than the one she was raised to see for herself, though – and she still deserves a happier future – at the very least, a future that does not cause her to forget what happiness even feels like.

Since I don’t want this post to be a total downer, I’m including some of the photos I took on my walks yesterday.

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