If you got here from the Holidailies portal, welcome! For an introduction to “Thursday’s Child”, check out the “About” page. Happy Holidailies!

Another holiday season approaches and Holidailies has begun and I am feeling anything but ready for either. A true cold spell has hit the Pacific Northwest and we’re feeling it in San Francisco with sub-freezing temperatures overnight and in the early morning turning the ground to frost and breath to steam. The cold is seeping into my bones and making me lethargic, sending me into hibernation mode: hunting down the quilts to wrap myself in a cocoon on the couch in the evening while the kids chase each other happily around and around in circles on the carpet.

I am struggling with fresh grief from the loss of a co-worker and dear friend. She died suddenly of a heart attack caused by a blood clot in her leg that traveled to her heart on November 24th. My brain is still reeling to accept the reality that she’s gone and I swing wildly between disbelief and sadness every day.

Some of my struggle also comes from a sense of regret for lost time and prowling guilt: “I should have been a better friend. I should have gone over there that day when she called. I should have done more for her, after all that she helped me with.” It’s difficult to tell that internal voice to be quiet, it’s an insistent little beast focused on undermining me at every turn. I have to take it and slap it around and toss it out of my head frequently or I get mired in self-recrimination that doesn’t do me or anyone else any good and is not a fitting tribute to her memory.

I haven’t explained her death to Victor yet. Vic knew her well because she often picked us up from his school and drove us home to save us the walk. At first he was leery about her and not too thrilled about getting rides in her car, but eventually they became buddies too and he would jump up and down happily when I’d tell him she’d come to pick us up. He used to sit in the front seat of her car chattering away and checking out her SF Giants hat key-chain and she called him “Little Buddy”. He didn’t see her every day though and she’d taken time off for medical leave so it had been a while since he’d seen her. I don’t even know how to start that particular conversation. I suppose I’ll just have to jump in and see where the words lead me. This is the first time that Vic has lost anyone close to him.

Today, there’s a headache between my eyes, stress-related from work and from Vic making several large messes in the house yesterday after I came home from work early because Julien was sick. I am looking forward to the end of the day, going home and lying back for a little while in the tub and letting everything go.