From my journal dated December 14, 2002:
I went to Debra’s* Christmas luncheon today. She had called a few days ago to invite me. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go. I didn’t want to be a wet blanket on a joyous occasion. Doing “Christmas stuff” has been so hard for me this year; it just makes me so sad. When I voiced my concerns, Debra told me that so many others attending were going through some really hard times. She kept emphasizing that to me – the “really hard times” that everyone was having. It seemed as if she was trying to make sure I knew that other people are in the same boat, that “it’s tough all over,” or something like that.
I couldn’t help but wonder whether any of those “really hard times” included the death of a child. Lord, help me, but I wanted to shout at her: “Have any of them had a child die?? No??!! Then don’t talk to me about really hard times!!” I know that just sounds so selfish. I know other people have things going on in their lives, too.
I decided to shape up my attitude and go. Mostly, I just sat in the corner…not much to say. I just felt like I was on the outside, looking in. Observing. My heart just wasn’t in it. No one was really very comfortable around me, and it was kind of awkward. Oh, well. I’ve never really been much of a small-talker. Now it’s next to impossible for me to sit and chit-chat. The conversation mostly just went around me, anyway.
Everyone talked about their kids. Debra’s daughter is dating a great guy; Margo’s son just got married and daughter is engaged; Kathy’s son is bringing home his girlfriend for Christmas, and they’re so excited to meet her; this great event; that great event. What am I supposed to talk about? Eric, who is really struggling right now, very stressed out [by many difficult issues], weight down below 120 pounds (for a guy almost 6 feet tall)? Jenna, who I’m so worried about, who is dealing with so much stuff, who is so lonely and really struggling? Joe and me? Well, it’s not been a very good year.
Joe and I had arranged for him to call me about 3:00 as an out, if I wanted or needed one. I did feel like a wet blanket. It seemed like people were relieved when I left. I should have stayed home. I really tried, but I’m having a hard time feeling the Christmas spirit this year.