We returned to Charlottesville last week. I stayed with friends and my daughter returned to my mom’s, where she is better set up and equipped to do virtual schooling. A dear friend of ours got married, which offered a welcome break from some of the stressors of life. I got to do maid-of-honor-ish sorts of things, which felt productive and life-giving. We set up a small, backyard wedding (the BIG event has been moved to next year), and it was amazing! I realized int the midst of it how few moments of celebration have been had this past year. Like… none. I was dizzy with euphoria at witnessing a friend experience good life things… love and partnership and big steps forward.
It reminded me to be gracious with myself. This has been an incalculably hard year; whatever feelings accompany are certainly merited. But also, it is time to once again do the work of creating joy. Not just for myself but for those around me. This year has been so consumed by the inward work of survival and grief that I have given so little to anything else. That is a death of its own sort, and I am ready to balance it with the other bits and pieces of life.
I feel much more grounded and energized than I did two months ago. I am so grateful to have had the time and space to wrestle through some of those demons. Several of you have asked how the writing went while on the island. It went exceedingly well. I haven’t checked the total word count yet, but my goal was 2,000 words per day. I averaged that for most of the time. I believe I have the solid skeleton of a book, with a lot more to be filled in over the coming weeks.
We are with family this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. It feels so good to be with them again, especially as this holiday was the last time I saw my brother alive. We take for granted the holidays. Often, they even feel like work. But I imagine that in times past, when life was an ongoing series of relentless hardships, the necessity of celebrating something… anything… would have been crucial, life-saving even. I feel that now.
I wish all of you joy and gratitude as you head toward Thanksgiving (or, if you are out of the country, a restful approach to the December holidays). 2020 is almost over, and that alone seems like a lot to celebrate!