Somehow, "holidays" aren't quite what they used to be. July 4, 2002 my mother went to the emergency room with a headache that wouldn't quit. It turned out to be malignant brain cancer. While the surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy were successful for a while, ultimately the cancer returned.
In the meantime, my grandmother died while I was on a spritual retreat. (That would have been part of a summer vacation.)
Two years after that, when my partner and I were on a short summer beach vacation, my father called to inform me that my mother had passed out at home and had been rushed to the hospital. That, of course, was the beginning of the end.
I went to visit my parents for my mother's birthday that year, just before her second surgery. Each holiday after that--Labor Day, Columbus Day weekend, Thanksgiving, Christmas--I saw her decline steadily, until she passed between Christmas and New Year's Day. Her memorial service was over Martin Luther King Day weekend, just before classes resumed at the university. That was fun.
This year it was my partner's family's turn. His brother was diagnosed with tongue cancer in September. We saw him over the Thanksgiving weekend. He had a tracheotomy and couldn't speak. This Christmas my partner's mother fell while everyone else was playing cards or watching TV. She couldn't stand and had to be rushed to the ER by ambulance. My partner's sister and he and I went to the waiting room until she was admitted. She had surgery the next day and is now at a rehabilitation facility.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, my partner and I had the 25th anniversary of our first date. We're pretty low-key about celebrations, but we did spend a day in New Haven with some friends and that was kind of fun.
With holidays like these, no wonder I just want to hang out at home and be left alone.