Long telephone converstion with Musical Friend this morning, initiated by me because I owe her some money. Some of our friends started a book club this month, and I asked her how it had gone. I was at a bereavement support group instead. Turns out she didn't go either. "No one wants to read the books I'm reading," she said.
At the moment she's reading The Year of Magical Thinking, and I urged her to suggest it to the group. "Maybe it will help them understand, " I said.
We talked about how hard it is to endure conversations in which the most ordinary fragments feel like the twisting of a knife. She has a father-daughter event ahead of her; her son will escort her daughter, and her husband's absence will be all the more painful as she watches the other men and their pride in the young ladies. I reflected on holiday conversations with friends concerned about children driving home. Children who are alive. And of course, we agreed, you can hardly expect people not to live their lives.
I have the weather channel on as I type, and a photo of the White House just appeared, along with commentary on how cold Inauguration Day will be. My heart sank. It was so difficult to watch the Election Night celebration in Grant Park, a place we had been several times with Chicago Son. It has been hard to see photos of the Obama family in Hyde Park. I had managed to block out the Inauguration, and now I see how challenging those images will be, all of them reminding me of a Presidents' Day week-end family trip to DC many years ago when a blizzard was followed by temperatures topping out in the teens. I see Chicago Son bundled up against the cold outside the White House, in line at the Washington Monument, posing for pictures before the Lincoln Memorial.
I hope that I can find a way to enjoy some of the week ahead. But mostly I just want it over.