I don’t remember last Christmas, not the presents, the food, not the people round the table, none of it. I had to be reminded it was at our place. I pretty much wiped last Christmas through to New Years from my memory, because without Libby I didn’t want anything to do with it. I think most of our family felt like that.
I’ve spent most of the last eighteen months trying so damn hard to hold onto to something I can’t have. Libby is gone. I’m not the best at letting go. I’m sentimental and obstinate and I hold on fierce and angry and sad to things I’m not meant to have.
How do you let go of someone you have lost and yet hold onto what you love about them? Laughing turns to tears, smiles turn to frowns. Memories, her hair, her eyes, her hands, how they felt small in mine and my hands aren’t the biggest, I want one last minute. To think of her makes a pain so beautiful.
But life has to go on, right?
And Christmas isn’t for me, it’s for the people I love.
This year instead of trying to pretend it wasn’t happening, I embraced Christmas. I didn’t do all that Christmas stuff by rote, because you have to do, I did it mindfully. I was there for it and I saw it and felt it. It makes for a much better time when you’re involved.
On Christmas day this year, after the table was cleared, the dishwasher loaded and re-loaded, the last car that wasn’t ours left the driveway, my brother and me went to Platypus Rock. We didn’t have the Rock last year.
When we got there a bloke was there with his little boy, they were fishing off the rock. Sometimes I forgot that me and Libby and anyone who loved her don’t own that ancient piece of land. The daddy and the son were wearing yellow t-shirts and they had a rod each, the kid was sitting on the rock looking out the river, he was quiet. We exchanged our Merry Christmasses and then we kept walking.
I haven’t been visiting as frequently as I was a few months ago. I haven’t been up to it, too tired, but also, the river has washed her ashes away so quickly it makes me sad. It’s a little depressing, even though it’s meant.
So we continued down the path, got to the end, and walked back, back past the spider web that got Anthony in the face, past the Healthy Waterways sign with non-native Scotch Thistle standing tall and proud behind it, ready to sting, and back past the daddy and his boy.
And that’s the way of it. Life and death and life. Libby is disappearing from the river, she is being let go, but there’s a kid fishing from her rock, a kid with his dad. Who knows? Maybe that kid will bring his kid to Platypus Rock one day.
see that speck of white?